The Undressed Art: Why We Draw
I finished reading The Undressed Art about a week ago. It's taken awhile for what Mr Steinhart wrote to really sink in. The book is an easy read, at least for me because I do have an interest in the subject. I have been going to drop-in model sessions, off and on, for over twenty years. I've been coordinating them for the last several years. (Follow the tags for Barely Brunch and Drink and Draw at the end of this post)
Mr Steinhart concentrates on the function of life drawing in training an artist to see and examine. I think that Mr Stenhart wrote a very in-depth view of these model sessions from this viewpoint. While I have found this to be a primary function of attending drop-in sessions, I think that there are other motives for going to theses sessions.
I use these sessions to experiment with materials. While a small part of me hopes to hone my hand and eye skills in drawing from life, a larger part of me finds a greater satisfaction in examining the relationship with the model.
Another reason I go is for the companionship. It is the one place that artists meet in a work environment. There is a lot of give and take in theses sessions, where you can pick up the odd technique or information about the use of an unfamiliar material. I know from looking through this blog that it seems like working from live models consumes a lot of my artistic life, but it doesn't. I am willing to put the effort into these endeavors because I have learned so much from both the models and my peers.
Sometimes, if I am stuck on an issue with a current body of work, I go to extra drop-in sessions. The immediate reaction of hand to paper sometimes opens a level of my subconscious that resolves whatever difficulties I am experiencing.
For another take, read Serendipity's review.