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Old 06-17-2009, 08:05 PM   #1
Michael Georges Michael Georges is offline
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Open Studio - Distance from Model




So in my last year of drawing in open studio sessions I have noted the following:

Most students are drawing the whole body, thereby, they set up between 7 and 10 feet from the model - sometimes more.

If you are drawing only the portrait of the subject's head, at 7+ feet, you will have a harder time distinguishing essential details of the face - especially if you are over 40 years of age...

My eyes really struggle with focal lengths and rapid changes necessary for drawing from life. It really helps me if I am within 7 feet of the subject.

Thought I would share that...as it took me nearly a year to figure out that I could indeed move closer to the model and did not have to follow the rest of the group in being setup farther away.
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Old 06-18-2009, 11:07 AM   #2
Laurel Alanna McBrine Laurel Alanna McBrine is offline
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So true!

I end up doing a lot of profiles or almost profiles, for the following reasons:

Usually, there are 4 or 5 people already set up at a distance from the model and I don't want to rudely plunk my stuff down in front of them, so I go to one side or the other where I can get as close as I wish. Usually my easel is touching the model stand and I have room to back up and observe my canvas and the model at the same time. I find the rim lighting on the dark side kind of fun.

On the rare occasion where I arrive early, I worry about people complaining about my position, asking me to move or setting up immediately behind me so I can't step back. I hate jostling over positions and don't like it when someone crowds me when there are lots of other positions available, so my solution is to pick the spot no one else wants.

Is there an etiquette rule about open studios in this regard? Is it okay to pick any spot if you are there first?
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Old 06-18-2009, 11:31 AM   #3
Debra Jones Debra Jones is offline
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I had a bit of evolution in that area. I have boxes of oversized heads from being in the very back row when I used to come from work, but I think I ended up doing mostly portraits because the rest of the body was so hard to see through the other painters! I dance too much for a horse, which most studios have in the front. I also have a bunch of big chinned people that come from being shortish anyway and when I get too close, I really tend to distort.

For some reason I think it is just better to be standing and walk up to look for the detail. Or better yet, fake it.

Another think I noticed, especially in portrait group where more novice posers are recruited, being TOO careful about details tends to make you chase the pose. The exercise of deciding what I want in the picture before I paint has helped me a lot in overcoming a model who sinks and straightens. By setting all my landmarks early and working hard to paint to the first pose, I often have to make up the details. There is just too much migration and working looser tends to make for better paintings.

You are making me feel even hungrier! I started trying to make a reasonably priced life class once a month or so, but the model tends to keep a pose for three or four weeks. I just can't afford even studio like I did. BUT it is so freeing and I really need it when I find myself glued to my photos. Lose the sense of breathing.
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Old 06-18-2009, 03:25 PM   #4
Michael Georges Michael Georges is offline
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I am well known in my group for doing mostly head portraits and so they will not have too great an issue with me nabbing space closer to the model.

It certainly makes a difference in my drawing!
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