A weekend ago I was finally back at William Stout's studio for a little "worshiping at the throne of feminine beauty." It's been a long time since I was there; one thing after another has taken my time away over the last year or so and driving to Pasadena on Sunday mornings just seemed to slip away from my agenda. But I have put it back on and hopefully I can get there every other week if not every week.
Having been away so long I was a little rusty to say the least, but I started out using my pastels for some quick 10-minute drawings. Our model for the day, Sandy, has an amazing back and she poses it to the best of results. She is one of those models that, as she strikes a pose, she can take your breath away.
Most of my early pieces were pretty bad, the result of months away from life drawing and me not being used to working fast in pastels. I love pastels, but I love to take my time with them as well. As we transitioned into the longer 25-minute poses I moved back into my life drawing comfort zone, which is black and white charcoal pencil on gray stock.
I find it much easier to be fast in this medium. Things don't always turn out exactly how I want them, and I have a bit of a rough hand with the charcoal now and then, but there is a certain comfort in working this way. If certainly feels familiar.
The things I like about Stout's is the closeness of the model and the dramatic lighting his dark studio affords (OK, I also love the fellowship of the other artists there, a great bunch of extremely talented people). Without proper lighting a model can just sit there and your artwork just sits there, but this is never a problem at Bill's.
I missed this weekend, but I will be back next weekend and hopefully for many weekends thereafter. There is nothing quite as invigorating as "worshiping" at Stout's.