Live models pose for life drawing sessions
A short, stout middle-aged man took a seat in a reclined chair propped up on a small platform in the center of the art studio. He positioned his body casually, hanging one leg over the chair arm, hands relaxed against his knees.
“Are you ready?” asked GC art professor Valerie Aranda.
The model locked his gaze on the wall across from him, still as a statue. Each artist studied his bearded face and bare feet as they began to sketch on their canvases.
These life drawing classes, started by Aranda in 2002, are non-instructional drawing sessions that focus on drawing the human body from a live model. The sessions are held throughout the year on the second floor of Ennis Hall and are open to all GC students, faculty and staff as well as Milledgeville community members.
The models are volunteers, and they differ with each session, coming from a variety of backgrounds.
“Sometimes they’re friends of students,” Aranda said. “They might be students, might be community members. This semester I had my practicum student look into finding models, so she looked on Bobcat Exchange to find them.”
The models are typically clothed, but they are allowed to pose nude if they are willing to do so. Including a diverse range of models and poses is important to Aranda as she strives to expose her students to different artistic opportunities.
“For my class, the model can be draped or undraped,” Aranda said. “It’s up to them. I do try to have a variety for my students throughout the semester. And also as far as diversity, body type gender identities and race, I try to have a variety of types.”
GC alumna Karen Snider regularly attends the sessions and said drawing from a live model is an important practice for artists.
“I love the opportunity to work with a model,” Snider said. “The more I do, the more I can appreciate what other people do, and when I look at their work, I can see the time and effort they put in.”
Drawing from a live model provides a unique experience because it allows a different form of engagement than more standard drawing practices, such as drawing based on a photo.
“I think having a model opens up the possibilities of seeing more that the camera doesn’t capture,” Aranda said. “A lot of times, it’s really hard to see shadows in photographs. That’s what I want students to look at when it comes to looking at something from real life, and of course with the body versus from still life objects, it just adds another complexity to the experience.”
Aranda always participates in the sessions with her students, drawing alongside them while offering encouragement and feedback.
“I think drawing from real life models is something every artist should do,” Aranda said.
The life drawing sessions will continue into next semester. Aranda said she hopes to see more participation and continue the community engagement with her students.