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Pieces of me 3...

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I hated figure drawing- my first figure drawing class was at the University of Southern Colorado when I moved home my sophomore year after deciding I didn't want to study architecture at the University of Colorado at Boulder. I remember being horrified by the strange old man who came in and planted himself squarely before me, bragging about his lack of body hair(ladies dig it he told my 19 year old self...), a skin condition he told me... I had never looked at a penis before and quite frankly didn't really want to... Outside of him the only other models we were usually able to get were strippers who would come in wearing stilettos and synthetic materials and stare cross eyed at the professor as he would say, "no props, just you." I hated this class. It was akward. The instructor sucked. I think I got a C...

somewhere along the way...

I learned to love figure drawing at the League. I first stumbled in to the Art Students League for a watercolor workshop that somehow or another I failed to realize was entitled, "The Figure in Watercolor". Destiny? This was the beginning of several years of study there, usually with some variation of figure study or portraiture in the mix... The models were more varied there sitting in the cold concrete studios on 57th street... Some that stand out in my memory, "Sampson" who would dress up as a pantless gladiator, "Aviva" a beautiful morbidly obese woman, the young man who kept a crew cut and had impeccable posture, the African American woman who would come in and sit with such poise and grace I worried that I couldn't possibly convey it...

eventually...

I felt I grew out of figure drawing... I had more than one conversation with a mentor insisting I was an abstract painter while they pushed back against me insisting that I shouldn't be so certain. I was young and this pissed me off, being told who I was... I got to a point where I would go to my figure drawing glass at 4 in the afternoon and then at 7 bring the sketches down to my abstract painting class to change them in to something else, completely...

finally I started to acknowledge my love of the figure...

I tried to adapt figure painting in some pretty crazy ways... Find your own voice as an artist right? I tried to incorporate figure drawing in to my work in numerous ways. The funny thing is my "voice" as a painter is often pattern intense and colorful and crazy. I played a lot with integrating all of these elements with the figure but rarely in a way that felt like me. Interesting maybe but, not saying what I wanted to say through the painting...

and so I quit. I stopped drawing or painting people... but now...

I am now cutting up old figure studies and redesigning them in to relevant work for me. Somehow leaving figure drawing and painting completely for years has allowed me to return with a new appreciation. With a freedom to deconstruct and reconstruct the very work I created at the league and elsewhere in to pieces that not are beginning to communicate exactly what I want and must say, even if I'm still figuring out the exact written words that go with them...