Battersea Business Centre, 99-109 Lavender Hill
London SW11 5QL
The Importance of Working from the Figure Model: A true understanding of the fundamental principles of figurative art: proportion, volume, gesture, values, edges and colour, can only really be taught and learnt by working from life, and especially from the life model.
In the history of art education it was often considered the highest form of art and the foundation for all other aspects of drawing and painting. Students were expected to understand and draw the figure before they could move onto other subjects. This is not because it is the easiest but, conversely, because it is the most challenging discipline. Once a student has mastered the figure, all other subjects are relatively easy – portraiture, landscape, still life, composition, colour etc.
At London Fine Art Studios, students first work from the plaster cast as part of the Foundation Course. However, if signed up to more than 1 day a week, we compliment cast drawing with work from the life model. In this way you can balance what you are learning from with the plaster cast (Proportion, Gesture and Values) to the figure model. The difference is not subtle but, if balanced, is very clear. The model may move slightly, has flesh tones so that the value patterns are not as clear, the philosophy of the approach should remain the same; Proportion followed by Gesture followed by clear value patterns to Edges and modelling.
Students on the Figure Course begin by working in charcoal on packing paper, they move into massing-in and chiaroscuro on quality paper in week 3 & 4. By the end of their first term they may be working on toned paper with sanguine, chalk or pastels. Students can also move onto grisailles paintings and a limited palette in the second term.