The Full Figured Model

by Lisa

A while back I decided to take a figure drawing class at Moorpark College with the idea that I would have a model to work from all day long every Friday for 18 weeks. Great practice. The problem turned out to be that I had to stick with the teachers agenda which did not make me at all happy and I was not allowed to audit the class since there were SO MANY students in the class and a waiting list of kids who wanted in. So I bit the bullet and decided to play along. Couldn’t hurt.

The first day of class, I noticed that there was a large population of young men in the class. The teacher had us take turns to introduce ourselves and to tell why we were taking the class. Though no one would outright admit it, it was obvious that it appeared many considered it an easy elective. I put two and two together and figured that many of the young men were also there for the “figure” part of the class description and the fact that the figure would be slightly NAKED. I’m sure illusions of grandeur inhabited the crevices of their testosterone riddled brains

Imagine my amusement when, the next week, the first model arrived and was the following full figured woman of about 50 years old named Ludmilla.

Ludmilla is a very professional model who also models at the Art Institute for us. She has been at it for 25 years. After that long, you lose ALL inhibitions. Every young man in the class became adeptly aware of every crack and crevice she had to offer. The stage was surroundable and you never knew when she was going to strike a bent-over-pose with you as the lucky recipient from behind.  It was often quite an anatomy lesson and one found oneself channeling Georgia O’Keefe. I personally love drawing or painting Ludmilla more than just about any model. There are wonderful curves to work with. I don’t think my sentiments were shared by the young men.

The very next week, we had a new model to work with. This time it was a very buff male. I almost felt sorry for the boys. Ludmilla and Clay were the only two models we had the entire term. I think some of the boys in the class were scarred for life. I’m willing to bet they didn’t sign up for Figure Drawing II.

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This entry was posted in Art Instruction, Drawing, Humor, On Suffering. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to The Full Figured Model

  1. I’m guessing one doesn’t run across a life drawing career model often.

    One of my favorite models when I was at OU was a woman who was a little older than most (maybe in her thirties). She was not skinny but not fat. Because of her age and loss of muscle tone, when she reclined the effects of gravity revealed her bone structure. So there were muscles and flesh to study and also bones.

  2. gypsy-heart says:

    Oh I enjoyed this post Lisa! eh,eh

    It can work both ways though. In one of my classes a young man often modeled. He loved the attention..especially from the young girls in the class. “It” was obvious…let’s just say some areas on his body “changed” during the class. :O After that much to his chagrin…some of the girls would only draw him from the waste up.

    We had an older lady and gentleman that modeled when the regular woman (who was perfect for it) couldn’t make it. The woman fell asleep a lot! So you learned to either draw quickly or be flexible with your composition. I think the gentleman was an exhibitionist at heart. If allowed he would walk around WITHOUT his robe during breaks trying to talk to the females.

    I think one of the artists in our guild is going to offer figure drawing classes in his studio soon. I said I would be interested..how could I not? At times it gets a little boring painting still life’s and landscapes. :)

    Thanks for sharing this..Oh I almost forgot I very much like your drawing of Ludmilla!

    ~g-h

  3. gypsy-heart says:

    I meant from the “waist” up..ha,ha. I guess it was a waste for him when you think about it. Boy I am being very naughty today…sorry.

    Thanks again for a needed laugh today. I am in one of those down times with my art. that “why in the hell do I do this to myself”..I should have just stayed in the business world!

    Namaste’!

  4. Dianne Mize says:

    Wonderful drawing, Lisa. I sat here and giggled to myself while reading your post. I hope Ludmilla adequately mooned those guys whose intentions had been other than drawing the figure. Perhaps your teacher’s agenda is a work in progress.

  5. Nava says:

    Wonderful drawing with great attitude! I love that you’ve left the sweeping marks of angles and measurements.

    I find that perfect-bodied models, while they make the men in class happy, are not very inspiring, as it’s like drawing a Barbie. I love the ones who have experienced life, and their bodies tell a story. We had our own “Ludmilla”, only her name was Clara. A big woman with curves galore that were a joy to draw. She also liked to bend…

  6. THis is great Lisa! I totally agree with you. I would rather sketch an obese model any day. Somehow one feels less wedded to precise recording. With a beautiful young girl it’s hard to be more expressive/abstract.

  7. lbtowers says:

    Well now Susan, let’s not call Ludmilla obese. I wouldn’t want the rath of her barreling down on me, would you?

  8. Pingback: The Problem With Iguanas « On Painting

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