Anticipating a New Drawing Project

ART PROF Teaching Assistant Casey Roonan and Prof Clara Lieu

Prof Clara Lieu and Teaching Assistant Casey Roonan

Now that our Kickstarter is over, we are entering a new phase here at Art Prof. While we prepare for our launch, we’ll keep releasing new Crit Quickies on our Instagram, new interactive video critiques and tutorials on our Youtube channel, and also blogging regularly here. For many years, this blog was written only by Clara Lieu. In this new phase, our 6 Teaching Assistants will start contributing blog posts.  We hope you enjoy getting to know all of us in the near future!

Rodin Sculpture

Rodin, The Helmet Maker’s Wife

by Clara Lieu

I’m just now starting to “recover” from running the Kickstarter campaign. I know that I have a monumental work ethic, but this campaign pushed the limits of that. This was definitely the most intense amount of work I have ever done since my freshman year at RISD-except that now I have a family to take care of and a full-time job.

So today I had my first day off in months, I went swimming for the first time this summer. You would think on a day off I wouldn’t want to think about work, but I did.  Not Art Prof, but my own studio practice, which has not been active for 2 years while I developed Art Prof. As I floated on my back in the water, I started anticipating a drawing project I first thought of back in June. The project is going to be drawings of elderly nudes.  When you consider art history, the elderly nude is rarely portrayed.  The only pieces from art history that come to mind are The Helmet Maker’s Wife by Rodin, (see above) and the Old Market Woman from Hellenistic Greece. You can read more about my inspiration for this project here.

I set up a time to work with an artist model next week, which got me really excited to start considering how these drawings might come together.  A huge part of my practice has always been a long, comprehensive search for the right materials to match the project.  I am sure this project will be no different.  My first thought was graphite, which struck me as odd because out of all the drawing materials out there, graphite is probably my least favorite drawing material. However, in order to show the textures and surfaces of an elderly figure, I’ll need a drawing material that can achieve a high amount of detail and refinement.

Actually, what takes much longer for me to determine is the drawing surface. I want the drawing surface to be slightly translucent and also quite thin and frail.  Perhaps tracing paper, tissue paper, or even a thin fabric like silk could be really interesting to draw on. In the past, all of my two-dimensional work has been the traditional rectangle shape, but I like the idea of torn edges or even fabric with frayed edges so that the drawing is an irregular shape. Just thinking about doing some small studies on these various drawing surfaces is wonderful, I can’t wait to get started.

Clara Lieu, Portrait of Pearl, pencil drawing

A pencil drawing of Pearl I did when I was a senior at RISD in 1998.  Pearl was an artist model when I was a student.  She was 85 years old at the time, and was incredible to draw. Pearl is one of reasons I want to make these drawings.

ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages to learn visual arts in a vibrant art community. Imagine all of the resources here on our blog, except exponentially bigger, in greater quantity, and in more detail. Our Kickstarter campaign hit its $30k goal on July 19!  Get info on our future launch by subscribing to our email list.

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