FIGURE DRAWING GROUP

I dropped by Drawing Group’s new space tonight on my way to al Kahol, and was kinda surprised at how small the space is. Back when it was the University Gallery, it was much larger, but has been partitioned. I know I shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth, because it’s probably really smelly in there cause it’s full of Trojans who have been cooped up in there for hours with no facilities. And I think we all remember what Homer said about the gastrointestinal system of your Trojan. No, it’s a fine space, with air conditioning and restrooms, and if it’s a little shallow, that just spurs us on either side to hone our foreshortening skills. I guess it’s academic to me, since I seem to end up drawing the drawers. This is probably heresy among my peers, but to me, the naked figure in the model’s limited repertoire of poses gets kind of repetitious after a while, while all the variously clothed forms of the drawers in all their natural attitudes are endlessly fascinating. And the opportunity to draw Doug’s hairy leg is worth it all.

LAST NIGHT'S MODEL

Someone had the brilliant idea of moving the main light to a more directly overhead position so that for us on the loser side of the room the model was no longer a dark silhouette looming before the perfectly-lit painters on the other side. Oops, that was an uncharitable beginning, wasn't it? Thank God I don't believe in He who is referenced at the front of this sentence, am I right? Can I get an amen? Is it okay to say that? I have a blogger friend on the, shall we say, less nuanced end of the political spectrum, who believes that it is wrong for us to use slang expressions that belong to other ethnic groups, for instance, someone of my persuasion saying "oy vey!" or "you go, girl!", and he would also probably object, as many of the rest of you might, to my habit of writing interminable sentences infested with clouds of randomly-dispersed commas, or perhaps he wouldn't, and perhaps you wouldn't, what do I know, you know? Okay, I think I have accumulated enough words for a legitimate blog post. I'm very grateful that studies show that it's not necessary to actually say anything meaningful when you're communicating digitally. Takes a lot of pressure off bloggers.

FIGURE DRAWING GROUP

Walking on eggshells here at Ridicule Central tonight. Well, who can I safely disparage? There's only one answer, really: Squat Dirty. Tonight's news is that Squat Dirty has a new lady friend, who is under the misapprehension that I am somehow responsible for his name, which I'm not, of course. Squat Dirty is one of those names that seem sui generis, the kind of name that when you hear it, you're compelled to shout, "OMG! That is so him!" Anyways, she requests that I change his name, as if I had that power, to "Suave Dirty", which is so wrong that it is somehow right. It's growing on me, at any rate, although I have to insist that such decisions are above my pay grade. Aaand, that's about all I've got tonight. As I was reminded in a metaphorically chest-poking way tonight, sometimes I'm just not funny, and this must be one of those times.

THIS IS NOT AS GOOD AS IT LOOKS

The thing is, it's not a good likeness. It doesn’t capture the essence of this model at all. If she was a criminal on the loose and this was the police artist’s rendering of her, she wouldn’t have a thing to worry about. She could walk the streets without a disguise of any kind. Well, except for clothes. Barenaked people tend to attract the attention of the authorities. But back to portraiture. Women are difficult for me. And they’re hard to draw too. For one thing, they generally have smoother features, lacking the hideous bumps and creases and knobs that make men easier to draw recognizably. I’m speaking in generalities, of course. I’m told that Crack Skull Bob is a favorite of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and I want to make sure I’m speaking their language. Anyways, even though the more remotely-located of you would never know what a botched likeness this was, a dislikeness as it were, an artist is nothing if not honest. Therefore an artist is nothing. Here endeth the lesson.

FIGURE DRAWING GROUP

No matter what kind of evening you have at figure drawing, and I had a stinker, one where I begin to suspect that another one of Jeff Goldblum's experiments has gone awry and the talent part of my brain has been switched with that of a fly, no matter, I say, the après-draw at Shuck's irons it all out, what with the bounty of oysters and seared tuna and martinis and shockingly expensive beer, all doled out by the queen of Hampton Roads servers. What an effective erasure! I'll wake up tomorrow not remembering what a no-talent hack I am, who couldn't draw his way out of a paper bag, as if anyone could.  And in case you think the above drawing isn't half bad, it was painstakingly cobbled together from several aborted attempts. So there.

FIGURE DRAWING GROUP

Look at that, folks! Or maybe it's presumptuous of me to use the term "folks". What's the singular of folks? I shouldn't assume that more than one person has failed to migrate to Facebook, where a post of mine is but one among several hundred confronting each Facebooker at whatever moment during the day they're able to sneak a look at their FB page instead of whatever they're supposed to be doing, and who's going to bother clicking on an entry which they can see perfectly well from the thumbnail will be of no interest to them, since it's clearly not a happy birthday message or a note telling them what coffee shop I just parked my fat ass in or an update on devon's romantic status or an announcement that I had managed to collect yet another beautiful clip-art picture of a freakin easter egg or, or, or ok restart

Look at that, person or persons! I'm using old-fashioned art-making utensils, in this case a #4 pencil. It was one of those nights when the digital world let me down. I had more undos than dos. Meaning, I guess, that I was so bad I even threw away a drawing from last time. Thank god for the humble #4 pencil. By the way, my little sister Lynne has an absolutely horrible story about the sex life of the bedbug. If you write to her at lchrap at yahoo dot com, I'm sure she'll be happy to share it with you.

FIGURE DRAWING GROUP

Tonight was Painting Night, which means we paint. We had tried other themes, such as Pantomime Night, Concealed Weapon Night, Filipino Leftover Night, Alkyd Shots Night, String Theory Night, Renaissance Music Karaoke Night, Casino Night, Spelling Bee Night, Cadmium Yellow Light Night, Random Violence Night, Macarena 'n Macaroni Night, Capon Plucking Night, Doing Everything Backwards Night, Justin Bieber Night, and Accepting Jesus Christ Into Your Heart Night. But then Bernard suggested Painting Night, and to placate hiim we said yes, because we wanted to keep him happy, since none of the rest of us want to clean up when we're done.

FIGURE DRAWING GROUP

I could mention Bernard's brush with fame (he waved at a life-size cut-out of Paul McCartney at an airport once), or Rafiel's U-turn or the re-emergence of porn star Squat Dirty, who apparently has a connection with a website called catbutt.com, which believe me you don't want to look up, but instead of dwelling on any of these toothsome topics, I'll go right to the figure drawing highlight of the year: Spicy Shrimp and hot sausage on a grits cake at A.W. Shucks. Even if you're not a figure drawer, you'll love it, I promise. Have I ever steered you wrong culinarily? Okay, the mushroom milkshake maybe. But aside from that?

CARPE THE FUCKING DIEM

This is not my motto. I am not a diem-carper. My response to a spanking new diem is to cower in a prone position, arms cradling my head, in preparation for the rain of fireballs that most diems send hurtling my way. If I'm lucky, I'll emerge from the diem with some singed clothing, a few minor dings and dents, and just enough energy to crawl into bed to gird myself for another damn diem barreling down the pike.

I realize this is not a healthy and progressive stance. I'd like to blame my doddering seniority, but the truth is I was like this in my twenties too. I cringed in the middle of the bike path as Jesse Scaccia types careened by me on their way to grabbing the diem and making it their bitch.

Do I have regrets? Of course I do, you twits! I'm fucking old! Sigh. When I was young, my role model was Gil Hodges, now it's J. Alfred Prufrock. "Prufrock--who?" I hear you young punks query. "Was he, like, in X-Men?" (That's one of the perks of seniority: I get to be crotchety. You kids get off my lawn!) Okay, gotta run. I see the heavens lighting up with fireballs already. It could just be angels farting, but I'm getting into the fetal position anyway.

MY FIRST FORAY INTO IPAD PAINTING LAND

The finger thing just wasn't working at all. It took the acquisition of a stylus and an app called Inspire Pro (thanks and a tip of the old nobbie to Chuckles) to spring me. The subject here is, of course, Mike Bell, or as he is affectionately referred to in figure drawing circles, Crazy Mike, for his frighteningly large depictions of human genitalia, sometimes in configurations that defy centuries of biological knowledge. Depicted here is a much more subdued painting--I think he had a cold.

FIGURE DRAWING GROUP

This is Amanda sleeping. We found her asleep in our studio, so we took her clothes off and drew her. Boy, is she going to be surprised when she wakes up. Or, maybe not. Afterwards, in a gesture of support for the claim that we've come out of the recession, we ate and drank too much. Doug lectured us on Mexican crime statistics, with a special emphasis on beheadings, but that didn't deter us from consuming large quantities of oysters and raw tuna. Devon entertained us with his adventures among the white people of Oklahoma, and Mark shared some more facts about salt. And after Devon presented Kimberly with a framed photo of some white people he met, it was all downhill from there.

RANDOM SKETCHES FROM FIGURE DRAWING GROUP

I'm glad I wasn't born in the Middle Ages, because I'm pretty sure I would have been a peasant, and I don't feel I'm cut out for peasantry. Oh sure, I dress sloppily and my personal hygiene is kind of hit-or-miss, but my work ethic sucks. I would have been a disgrace to the peasant class. And if you can't make it as a peasant, where do you go from there? Keep in mind, the Tea Party wasn't invented yet. Ah ha ha ha ha, a little political humor there, for you current-events types. Peasants weren't even thought of as sentient beings by the nobility. A duke would come home from the office, accept his cup of mead from the duchess, and say "What a day! I got a peasant stuck in my carriage wheel this morning. It was beastly inconvenient!" and then take a sniff of his perfumed hankie. So being a peasant would have been hard on my self-esteem. Plus there was the plague.