Sunday was the last day of the Degas exhibition at BMFA. Better late than never and peculiar logic (Super Bowl Sunday in Boston) led to the days itinerary. Arrived earlyish so we - I could spend as much time as I could there. Degas could draw. Even early work shows the soft care for the bend in a thigh, the structure of bones under the skin, and the nature of the models personality showing in her or his face. So many drawings proclaiming the round sweep of the curved back, then the towel - exploring the awkwardness of a figure drying ones back. How did the model do it? Long hours, soft light, translucent inner glow of life under the skin. Then the brothel minis - what a find! - never before seen little drawings and monoprints of the ladies plying their trade. So casual is their presence in these secret prints, one will always wonder how well the artist knew them. Degas first saw everything, then continued the rest of his life revealing and hiding simultaneously the bend of the waist over the towel and leg, get distracted by the life of the skin and move on to the flow of the hair.
I couldn't get home soon enough to my Monday night life sessions. 6 + hours in the car takes its toll. What I look forward to exploring myself is adding some mystery in the figure. Drawing is about seeing and drawing the figure is about seeing everything. I find with a new model there is a period of time of getting to know the nuances of that figure, the length of the chin, the curve of a shoulder, the tip of the head, the individual grace of hands, fingers, toes. Each series of sessions brings with it its own peculiar set of drawings, nights when the work flows out of the charcoal and times when the only solution has to be mulching the work.
I am inspired Degas' abundance of drawings. I know that no matter what other class I instigate or let fall by the way, drawing the figure will be my favorite.