Figure Drawing / Life Drawing / Nudes – Why?

Because the nude expresses the human experience and sharpens an artists skills. As I have said a number of times, I am not a gifted artist, I am a skilled artist, and it is maintaining those skills that drawing nudes in the studio helps support.  What a gift to beable to create anything.
The realistic human body is beautiful in its imperfection, bent and twisted, curved or straight, all battle weary and scared – but above all sacred. Nudity is not necessarily carnal, nor is it an invite – it is about the human experience, it can be sensual, which is not sexual. Bodies lent to us by Creator, bodies which she will take back some day.

Models: I have been fortunate to have a long term relationship and being able to work with a couple nude models, both eventually replicating humans within their bodies! The working relationship between models and artists is one of trust, respect and a collaboration to make various artistic statements.  Strong women they be.

 

Red Nude  Blue 1

Blue 3  Blue 2

Blue 4 2

5  6

8  7

  3

*Snake/Eve motif stuff is for a project and those are 'proposal' sketches.

9      1

4

We see nude art with the Greek and Roman idealization of the human form as gods, or ideal bodies. Then the non-nude darkness of the Middle Ages – other of course for the occasional Adam and Eve (with fig leaf!), then the Renaissance continued with the idealized near perfect depiction (see Michelangelo’s David).
Figure/Nude drawing as part of artistic expression has always existed to express the emotionally of the human experience, see Picasso, Gauguin, Degas (of note After the Bath, Woman drying herself) and such. The Expressionists turned a corner and painted how women actually look, even when distorted in art, women’s bodies growing a human in their lives for 9 months, and then share their lives with us, to nurture and grow. How can one not be awe struck and want to celebrate the female form. Again, nudity is not sexuality, nor is a nude body inevitably an enticement.
It is how we talk about nudity and sexuality that warps our perspective. We tell young people the human body, sensuality and sexuality is ‘beautiful’ – but when they ask or express in any fashion on the subject, we ask them why are they having ‘dirty thoughts’ -- that is a bit mixed messaging (more so in North America where sexual repression has the day and creates endless strife). Nudity, even an asymmetrical arrangement of the human form, speaks beyond trepidation, social class, fear and lost.
Drawing/sketching nudes also adds a string to the artistic bow (the ‘string’ on bows, as in bow and arrow, is not one string, but a lot of stings making the bow strong. To express honest art, one needs a skill set of many strings and those strings must be kept strong. Being nude is about being vulnerable, honest in being and unguarded, and unjudged.