Traditionally, figure drawing sessions are approximately three hours, broken into 20 minute segments. The model takes five minute breaks between segments. Artists usually spend the first 20 minutes warming up, that is, drawing 30 second, 1 minute and/or two minute poses. The purpose of this exercise is to “feel” the pose rather than to “think” about it, to “get loose.”
I have spent about six hours per week studying the human figure since 1987. Initially, I worked only in dry media, charcoal, pencil, crayon, etc. Only after a number of years did I feel I had enough knowledge of the figure to add the element of color to the gesture “experience”. For my gesture paintings, the model assumes a pose for four minutes. I paint these pictures in that span of time.
Each painting is a culmination of what I have learned from my constant observation of the figure and from my experience in visually expressing my sensations in response to a model’s four minute pose. When I paint gestures I am learning to focus on my perception, to experience and express my emotional and visceral reaction to that visual input. Painting a model doing gesture poses expands my consciousness in the realms of sight, sensation, and emotion. I do not reflect. I do not consider. I do not judge. I do not anticipate. I am in the moment. I respond—that’s all.