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New Year's Nude

Post #1272 • January 8, 2009, 12:20 PM • 45 Comments

New Year's Nude, 2009, brown ink on paper, 7 x 10 inches, ©FE

People who maintain a figure drawing practice know what happens when they stop for a while: they are treated to a festival of agony upon returning. My last session was in October. One abandoned drawing, much erasure, and a fair amount of head slapping finally produced the above, executed in ink using a brush. No amount of color correction would bring it close to the original, unfortunately - something about the color orange refuses to cooperate with the screen. The ink is chocolate in hue, the paper closer to sherbet than tangerine. Getting the ink right in the photo turned the paper to ecru; the converse turned the ink to crimson. At any rate, a larger image is available for your consideration.




January 8, 2009, 12:33 PM

beautiful!! Keep at it.



January 8, 2009, 12:38 PM

Here's a title:

Salome mulling over her plans

You have to have a narrative, you know.



January 8, 2009, 12:46 PM

Oh, and Franklin, what appears to be the top outline of her right knee should not be visible above her foot. It looks a bit funny.



January 8, 2009, 12:49 PM

The left calf and foot just hover there on the picture plane - instead they should blow open the whole upper quandrant and extend the perspective so successfully achieved by the rest of the drawing. Also, there is no sense of the weight of that limb resting on the right knee - at all! Nice profile - beautifully and sensitively drawn.


Chris Rywalt

January 8, 2009, 1:01 PM

Supergirl? Or is it rude to ask? Because it looks like her.

Jack and Gertrude are insane, by the way. Everything's fine on this. It's really good, probably one of the better figure studies I've seen from you. Maybe you should stay away more often.



January 8, 2009, 1:07 PM

Look at the enlarged image, Chris. Carefully.



January 8, 2009, 1:07 PM

Very nice drawing. Gertrude is right about the hovering foot, but, Jack, that is not a kneecap but the base of the tibia appearing over the ankle tendon, and seems to have been well observed.

The title needs to be "abuse victim acutely aware of male gaze".I mean, like, who's this Salome person?


Contemporary Art

January 8, 2009, 1:09 PM

Since you mention there is a slight resemblence to supergirl. Is the woman lying on the floor or on a table, the reason i ask is because her hair at the top appears to drop down a little bit.

David Price



January 8, 2009, 1:11 PM

Sorry, OP, but it reads like the top of the knee to me, even if that was not intended. Your alternate title, of course, is much more zeitgeist-appropriate. I have historical issues.



January 8, 2009, 1:20 PM

On second thought, OP, I think my title is the way to go here. Resorting to Biblical or mythological allusions is a time-honored, utterly respectable way to dress up this sort of thing. I'm still waiting for Franklin to tackle Leda and the Swan. Or Europa and the Bull. If it was good enough for Titian, it should be good enough for him.



January 8, 2009, 1:24 PM

I agree with Gertrude about the seeming lack of contact between the left foot and the supporting knee, and that is having an unfortunate effect on the perspective. Jack is seeing a calligraphic flourish (yes, base of tibia over one of the peroneal tendons, well done, Opie) which I think would work by itself, but it's too bad that it lined up over the axis of the right thigh and it would have still worked in a toned-down version.

David, my model stand is a set of flat files, which I've placed on a set of casters and topped with a cushion. Her curls are indeed cascading off of it. Chris, As in the case of all my models, she shall remain nameless.

Thanks to all for the comments and compliments - I haven't gotten this kind of studio feedback in ages.

I have for years wanted to paint a Leda. I'm not kidding.


Chris Rywalt

January 8, 2009, 1:30 PM

I've never understood the nameless model thing. I mean, I guess I kind of understand it in a way, but ultimately, I don't know, the model's name is important, more important than passing concerns of propriety or privacy. I consider, in a very real way, the model as co-author of the drawings. I always give them at least one drawing after the session is over because I feel the drawings are theirs, also.

Which is not to say that, if a model specifically requested I not attach her name to something, I wouldn't abide by that. But I'd argue against it a bit.

My thinking is, my drawings and paintings aren't for me, or for now -- they're for the future. And five hundred years from now, I feel like viewers should at least know who they're looking at.

I guess it doesn't really mean anything.



January 8, 2009, 1:33 PM

Franklin, why not just do sanguine on ivory paper? I love sanguine.



January 8, 2009, 1:44 PM

Go here:

It's actually an etching, but close enough.

Her name (for Chris) is Ninette.



January 8, 2009, 1:46 PM

I love sanguine too, and used it extensively in grad school. I like how ink forces you to make clear decisions about what's in front of you. With sanguine, one can always retreat into that lovely terracotta haze. I'll tell you what, though - the next time I get a model in the studio, sanguine on ivory paper it will be.


Chris Rywalt

January 8, 2009, 2:48 PM

Sanguine on ivory paper always looks great, but for some reason never works that well for me. I always feel like I have the wrong shade of ivory or something.



January 8, 2009, 2:55 PM

Hey, Franklin, don't forget Judith and Holofernes. But you you have to leave her clothes on, though...however, there's always Joseph and Potiphar's Wife, or Susannah and the Elders...Diana and Actaeon...the Three Graces...the Judgment of Paris...and of course, The Rape of the Sabines, where you could have naked women strewn all over the place...



January 8, 2009, 3:35 PM

Time-honored, indeed, Jack. But you know, we just don't do time-honored any more. That is SO 19th Century!


Chris Rywalt

January 8, 2009, 3:50 PM

Hannah Corbett (by way of Charlie Finch by way of Eva Lake) has a very nice painting entitled "The Graces". Scroll to the right on her site.



January 8, 2009, 3:55 PM

It's also 18th, 17th, 16th, and 15th centuries, OP, but who's counting. I mean, really, the Renaissance people shouldn't have bothered with all that dusty classical antique junk lying around Italy. They should have just gone conceptual and been done with it. We'd all be much richer for it, obviously. Just think of how much richer we now are because of people like Beuys (not to mention, of course, Yoko Ono).



January 8, 2009, 4:00 PM

Chris, I'm sorry, you have serious male-gaze issues. Please stop looking at Tom Wesselmann's stuff.


Chris Rywalt

January 8, 2009, 4:09 PM

I wish I didn't have a male gaze. Where can I trade it in for the right kind?



January 8, 2009, 4:55 PM

everything is fine except the left leg from the knee down. something not quite right.



January 8, 2009, 6:33 PM

OK, Chris, try this: when you feel male-gaze coming on, just visualize Nancy Pelosi naked and without make-up. I hear Harry Reid swears by it.



January 8, 2009, 6:41 PM

Of course, Chris, if Nancy's too political, you can always substitute Cloris Leachman.



January 8, 2009, 6:44 PM

I'll take your male gaze, Chris. Mine is just about worn out.

Jack, your above suggestion has ruined my evening. I hope you're happy.



January 8, 2009, 6:55 PM

Sorry, OP. I was just trying to ensure Chris was on the same irreproachable moral plane as the rest of us. I mean, we can't be "out of it" and male-gazers, now can we? One can only flout the prevailing norms so far.



January 8, 2009, 7:10 PM

Of course, come to think of it, there is another way out for Chris. He could move to Canada. I'm sure there's no male-gaze proscription there. I mean, they're practically savages.


Chris Rywalt

January 9, 2009, 1:40 PM

I watched the Bob Saget Roast on Comedy Central a couple of months ago. Cloris Leachman was on the stage so all the comedians made a lot of jokes at her expense. I think it was Gilbert Gottfried who said, "Cloris Leachman is so old, one of her breasts is labeled 'Colored' and the other one 'Whites Only.' Cloris Leachman's breasts were a shameful time in our nation's history."

Personally I've been trying to train my male gaze upward into older women. Right now I can find a woman attractive anywhere between the ages of 16 (age of consent in New Jersey!) and 55 or so. But I realize that one day my wife is going to be older than 55 and I'm going to have to find her attractive still, so I'm trying to work my way up.

As far as Nancy Pelosi, a powerful Italian-American woman? How could she not be hot? I'm all turned on now. See? I really do need to get rid of my male gaze.

In Canada there's no male gaze proscription because there's no male gaze. No real men in Canada.


Chris Rywalt

January 9, 2009, 1:42 PM

And 1: You're wrong. The left leg's fine. That's just how legs look. It's darn near perfect, actually.

If you want to pick on something, pick on the toes. Everything else is carefully observed but it looks like Franklin gave up a bit on the toes. Toes are my favorite part! How could you do this to them, Franklin?



January 9, 2009, 2:31 PM

Chris, you're welcome to Nancy, but I wouldn't go public with such feelings if I were you. I mean, your taste in general is brought into very serious question...



January 9, 2009, 2:36 PM

A couple of examples of how legs look:

Courtesy of Monsieur Boucher.


Chris Rywalt

January 9, 2009, 2:44 PM

So Boucher liked fat chicks. I agree. Note well that Franklin's nameless model is not fat.



January 9, 2009, 3:06 PM

Fat? I hate to tell you, Chris, but you've been staring at Nancy too hard. It's ruined your eyesight. Serves you right, too.


Chris Rywalt

January 9, 2009, 4:31 PM

Come on. Our culture embraces girls like this. God, there are WHOLE SITES LIKE THIS. Okay, I must stop now.

Anyway, yes. Boucher liked fat chicks. Those are fat chicks. Not, you know, enormous giants or anything, but fat.

Fat chicks rule.

The important point here, though, people -- how did I end up cruising skinny girl porn? -- is that Franklin's drawing is fine. Good. Accurate. Nice. Not screwed up or disproportionate or weird. Well-observed.



January 9, 2009, 6:03 PM

Chris, either you're pulling my leg, or you're living in Planet Anorexia, or possibly Prepubescent Land. I mean, that picture you linked to was painful, not to say freakish. You need to hang out more with women whose hormones have kicked in, and who actually eat once in a while.

Besides, even if our culture embraced such unfortunate specimens, which it does not (see mainstream porn), are you even insinuating that I'm supposed to be swayed by that? Like the song says, if you don't know me by now...


Chris Rywalt

January 9, 2009, 7:48 PM

All I'm saying is, in the current American dictionary, Boucher's women would be defined as fat.

That photo I linked to isn't freakish at all. It's what mainstream America is given as the "right" size and shape. She's a little small in the bust, maybe, but otherwise, she's exactly right. I remember reading about how Mexican actresses tend to be thicker in the leg than American actresses since Mexican men apparently don't mind it as much. Which explains why I love Mexican actresses.

I have this friend who tends to date only strippers. His definition of "overweight" is so insane it's not even funny. He really thinks women should be like that photo. Only with larger, fake boobs. I keep telling him it's not how a woman looks, it's how she feels. But he won't listen.

In his defense, though, he will not -- even with prodding -- admit that my wife is fat, even though, by his standards, she's the largest land mammal on Earth. He'll talk about how this person or that person is really fat and I'll say, "Hey! My wife's that fat!" and he'll wave his hands and shake his head, like, I'm blind and don't see how small my wife really is. Yeah.

Anyway, my point is, his standards are more common than you think. Look at those magazines near the supermarket checkout some time. Sure, every so often they'll pick on an actress for being too thin, if she looks like she just got out of Auschwitz, maybe. But usually they're picking on how fat and cellulite-ridden everyone is.

Now, Jack, if you and I want to decide, between us, that we like chubby chicks and that America has gone insane, we can do that. I'm with you, man. Boucher's women seem properly sized to me. And, better yet, the curves are in all the right places. But we should keep that between us or everyone else will think we're crazy.



January 9, 2009, 9:39 PM

Chris, my condolences on your choice of friends, but perhaps the one you describe has some redeeming qualities. He definitely has a body image disorder, not to mention exceedingly dubious taste in women and a glaring lack of honesty. It appears his influence on your perspective has been rather distorting, not to say unhealthy.

As for the sort of magazines that infest supermarket checkout lines, I'm afraid taking them at all seriously is quite out of the question. Same goes for their patrons. Yes, they are evidence of social pathology, certainly, but so is much of our culture. However, we have not yet made the freakish porn person you linked the female ideal, your unfortunate friend notwithstanding.

If you persist in calling Boucher's women fat, I suppose I can't stop you, just as I can't stop a rich idiot from paying a fortune for a Koons balloon animal, but that hardly makes either of you right, let alone convincing. So please, don't try to draft me into your club on this issue. You're on your own here.


Chris Rywalt

January 11, 2009, 12:03 PM

I have a Koons in my attic, too, did I mention?

Okay, I'm lying.

That friend does have redeeming qualities, one of which is that I can always say I'm glad I'm not him.

An interesting question, though, is at what point does a social pathology become so widespread that anyone without it becomes the pathology? I recommend Richard Matheson's I Am Legend (not the dreadful Will Smith movie).



January 11, 2009, 2:34 PM

"An interesting question, though, is at what point does a social pathology become so widespread that anyone without it becomes the pathology?"

Good grief, Chris. Welcome to the club. It is not a "point", it is an ongoing phenomenon. Maybe start with Socrates?


Chris Rywalt

January 11, 2009, 6:10 PM

I just wonder these things. If everyone starts doing something rude, is it no longer rude? I mean, rudeness is defined by social consensus, isn't it? Japanese people don't touch their noses at the dinner table. Arabs don't wear shoes indoors. Americans don't cut in line. More than once I've heard Americans decrying these "stupid" Chinese people who walked past a line of people like it wasn't even there. These Americans don't realize that queuing isn't "normal" human behavior, it's a cultural thing. And they don't queue in China.

So if everyone in America decides that the ideal woman should be anorexic, then aren't the minority who still dig fat chicks pathological?

Or do we think there's some kind of objective truth here too? Too-skinny women are WRONG in some way?

I wonder these things. I also wonder why the lower front bumper of so many cars, a piece which so often gets caught on curbs and parking chocks, is made of plastic attached to plastic by plastic rivets. Why not just make it of Jell-O or water-filled balloons if you don't care how long it lasts?



January 11, 2009, 10:10 PM

There is such a thing as social pathology, Chris. Volumes have been written about it.


Chris Rywalt

January 11, 2009, 10:24 PM

Ah, but social pathology, as usually defined, does not mean "pathology shared by the majority of the society". It means (I just looked it up) pathologies that affect society or the smooth running thereof. They're still afflictions of a small number of individuals. For example, drug addiction is a social pathology. Spousal abuse is a social pathology. While they may seem like widespread behaviors, they're still contained in a small percentage of people.

I'm thinking more along the lines of hazier things anyway, like rudeness. I mean, an entire society might be okay with human sacrifice. I still think it's probably wrong. (That may just be my own socialization peeking through, though.) But what about nosepicking in public? It's no fun to consider whether the death penalty is a good idea or not, but it is fun to wonder what America would look like if everyone accepted nosepicking, or farting.


Chris Rywalt

January 11, 2009, 10:25 PM

Incidentally, yes, I know I'm being stupid.


Chris Rywalt

January 12, 2009, 1:02 PM

Here we go, the latest from Mattel.



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