A Weekend at Ross Creek Centre for the Arts

Yesterday I got back from a weekend long figure drawing workshop. I am thoroughly warn out!

The weekend started with attendees arriving on Friday evening. We got to stay in an old farmhouse on the 178 acre property. I had my own small, albeit quaint, bedroom with a surprisingly comfortable bed. Friday evening we all met up by the campfire and got to work making the charcoal that we would use the next day from willow and vine twigs and branches.

Saturday morning started with a breakfast of bacon and blueberry pancakes before we went to the studio.  We worked until lunch at 1 pm. It was a full morning! We had a model who started with gesture and 5 second poses…yes 5 second. I quickest I have ever done a live pose before was 30 seconds so this was quite the challenge. We then moved on to 20 seconds and then longer. We did a very slow blind contour drawing and also tried being very accurate with plumb lines and measuring ( that wasn’t the most enjoyable part for me…I hate getting that nit-picky).

After lunch of chili and homemade bread we went outside to sketch. We still had our model for the afternoon so she dressed up in a couple of different costumes and placed herself in different places around the gardens. The weather was fantastic. We sketched in charcoal and added colour with soft pastels. I love pastels (and use them a great deal for my artwork), but I detested using them on newsprint. They don’t layer, the colours seem dull and chalky, and it felt like doing “art” at school. The write up for the workshop did include using egg tempera, which I have never used and was looking forward to trying it. Unfortunately in the end we only used pastels for colour. I think this was one of my biggest disappointments with the workshop.

Sunday we didn’t have a model, but Sarah set up a whole bunch of manikins dressed in costumes. I use the word “manikins” loosely here as they were made from easels, laundry baskets, stools, and buckets! It’s surprising how good they looked! We each choose just one “figure”the sketch the gesture.  After that we draw a grouping. I chose a group of 3 “women”.

The last thing we did before a late lunch was make a collage out of your sketches from the weekend. Unfortunately we ran out of time and I was the only one that really started this. I don’t normally work with collage…and to be honest I am not that keen on it usually, but I really enjoyed the little time I had working on it. It opens up a world of possibilities!

With lunch eaten the workshop was finished. Although I was tired I think I would have liked to have gone longer.