Life drawing- beginnings


Today I attended a life drawing class in Pranoto’s Gallery here in Ubud. I am still on Part 2 in the coursework, so this is peeking way ahead , but I though I might better try this out now while I have a chance, also I think human figure will be the most difficult part of the course. Pranoto is a well established artist here , who has been running these classes for years. I felt very intimidated as everyone looked very professional and sure of what they were doing. And as I spoke to a woman who has been coming regularly for 8 years I understood that indeed, most have actually been coming for a very long time.

It is a very bohemian atmosphere, with lots of cigarette smoking, strong coffee, old dishes piling up and numerous cats wandering around.

We started with 5 minute poses, which seemed very short. I never managed to finish even a rough sketch. Then 10 minute poses, and finally  20 minute poses.

This is my favorite drawing today- I think by luck I got the proportions right here. And I like the pose the model took too.


It was a great learning experience and I will sure go back, trying to feel less intimidated by all. I saw one woman sketching in bright pink pencil. I will try to sketch with color next time too, and work on sketching faster.


Today I went back to Pranoto’s Gallery for another life drawing session. I took some pictures of Pranoto’s art work here. I realized that all his paintings are started with sketches he does in the life drawing sessions, and then sometimes develops into paintings.

So if there are 3 or 5 models on the painting, it is in fact several consecutive poses by the same model combined in a composition. During the sessions Pranoto uses black charcoal sticks, or today one time blue pastel. The paintings are either oil or acrylic on canvas.

I had a really really hard time today. My two first 5 minute drawings were absolutely terrible and with that my self confidence plummeted even lower. I made a feeble attempt at sketching in a red colour pencil, but it was very uncomfortable, so I switched to black and red charcoal or pencil. None of the drawings are anything I would show really, but I am still happy I went. I am sure I learned a lot anyway, also by feeling at a loss here.


Meanwhile this is Pranoto’s sketch of the same model from another angle as my top left drawing….

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I admire his skill at drawing so flowingly easily with a few lines and shades. The body is quite idealized though, it is not the model I saw today.  I think these charcoal sketches is his greatest strength. The paintings are quite heavy and clumsy with thick paint in all colors.

And here I heard about an interesting exhibition in town that I will visit, “Contrast” by Edi Markas, so it is interesting to get a little involved in the local artists scene.

I am back home and decided to return to the life drawing classes at Pranoto’s gallery. I am working with Still life now, but as I am not sure where I will be at the right moment of the course, I will use the opportunity to attend as many life drawing classes as I can while I am here anyway.

It felt good today, for the first time, although the end results are still far from “perfect”. I think having seen works of artists that work more freely and less “traditionally perfect”, like Ginny Grayson and Yann Kebbli, let me just scribble along more freely in my own way, making mistakes, and not be so dazed by how good everyone else is 🙂

This is my favorite of today. It is also not perfectly proportional, but I believe it caught the expression and pose of the model well:


Another life drawing session at Pranoto’s today. Here he is himself dreaming while looking out on the ricefields.


This is an artist’s still life 🙂 and a view of the gallery. The model is taking a break, but she will be seated on the cushion in the middle.

Today’s model was a Balinese woman modeling for the first time and she looked extremely uncomfortable and awkward. After a few poses Pranoto asked her to expose her breasts which increased the discomfort even more and she was clearly showing her dislike all through the session, which is quite unusual for a Balinese in fact. I believe no one really knew how to react other than drawing just that stiff discomfort, and I am not sure it would have been any better to interrupt it.

I tried some different charcoals, a version in pencil and one in Uniball pink.

This is the drawing I like best because it really describes the mood and expression of the session, in pale purple pastel:



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