Monday, December 25, 2006

"Would you draw me?"

A long post, not enough editing skill to make it much shorter. Please get a cup of something to sip, and I hope you enjoy this as much as I enjoyed what unfolded.


It never happened before, but there's a first time for everything. The first time for this was Christmas Eve, yesterday.

I drove in from the suburbs to a lovely lunch at Madam Mam's with my friend Henry Friedman, talking about art and photography and all that good stuff. We went off to the Blanton in hopes of seeing the Luca Cambiaso exhibit (Lori's hope to do some master copy sketches, Henry's to see what the fuss was about) but the museum was closed.

So we drove to downtown Austin, to a store that sold lots of comfy shoes, Henry's shoes being not comfy and driving him to replacement. After carrying on in his mock-crotchety way at a store clerk who remembered him and gave him amusing grief back, Henry left, and I bought a lagniappe stocking-stuffer for my husband, Murry.

Since I'm acutely aware I need to sketch every day if I want to keep my promise about posting fresh sketches, I went to a fabulous local bookstore that was close to the comfy-shoe place, a bookstore where I knew I could get some coffee and sit and draw.

To that "daily sketch" end I've been thinking in a desultory way about taking a life-drawing class. I miss working large, miss having a steady pose to study, but didn't know any place that offered sessions with a model rather than a formal class.

After sketching who and what I could for a while, I began to run out of steam.

A man sitting nearby, who was drawing something himself, caught my eye, smiled and asked, "Would you draw me?"

Now, in all the time I've sketched people -- mostly times when I was an art student (500 drawings of people due in a sketchbook at the end of the course, among other "boot camp for artist" madness) but occasionally post-college -- no one's ever come up to me and asked me to draw them.

I tried to dissuade him, but he asked to see the other sketches I had at hand, and he thought they were good -- thought they looked like the people he saw around us.

He claimed to remember me -- said he'd cut hair at a place I went for a haircut years ago, and also recognized me from a movie I've been in.

And then he said, "You really should go to the life-drawing sessions they have at the Austin Visual Arts Association -- it's only $5, and their models are supposed to be very good."

Well, how could I not draw him after he gave an answer to my unspoken life-drawing question?

Here's what I sketched.

He was very taken with it, although the proportions are cattywampus.

When he mentioned to me that he liked figure drawing but usually didn't have the extra $5 for the session, I told him to email me next time he went and I'd go as well, cover the extra fiver for him.

He sort of blushed, and said he didn't have a computer. Hence my note on the sketch for where and when the life-drawing session meets.

When I told him I thought I could do a better drawing if I had a photo for visual reference, he let me take a picture of him. Here's the pic.

I'll post what I do with it in a follow-up soon.


frank-h said...

what a joy to read this full posting, Lori - go on with your sketches, they are great!
(I use to draw on math notebooks)

I need to visit here more frequently...

polona said...

what a lovely story!
looks like christmas magic at work :)

MB said...

Great story, Lori! Nothing like looking so that when the door opens you SEE it open!

Dana S. Whitney said...

I love when things work out this way. (and finding out you've been in a movie... and are recognizeable. Way cool!!. Keep drawing. I've let my daily journal, sketching and computer sketche3s languish (i.e. haven't done any of those things for months) and now that you mention it, I'm CRANKY. Hope the classes go well! (and that you keep posting photos, too.

PPS: I can't think of anyone else who could use lagniappe in a sentence. :-)

Dave said...

Hey, I've been to that bookstore! Awesome poetry collection. I picked up two hardback first editions of Charles Simic's 2nd and 3rd books with Braziller. I mean, they weren't pre-owned, they had just been sitting there on the shelf for 20 years, waiting for me to come along and buy them. For $5.00 each.

You were in Slackers? Whoa. I mean, I hated the movie, but that's pretty darn cool that you were in it.

Stewart Sternberg (half of L.P. Styles) said...

This is a great story. You know, no woman has ever come up to me and said: "Do you want to write about me?"

I imagine myself smiling, looking around, a little self-conscious.

"What? Here? Now?"

She smiles seductively and nods. I agree, pulling out a pen and grabbing a notebook. I begin: "She stood there, head turned slightly to the side, lips pursed."

See? Never gonna happen. Photographers and painters and sketch artists have it so much better than us who work exclusively with the written word.

Ernesto said...

I loved/hate Slacker when it came out. In general, I like Linklater's films. And 1991 was quite a year. It's cool you were there!

And the story, of course, is great. The sketch is pretty close to the photograph, indeed.

catnapping said...

this is one of my favorites. i think you've captured his presence perfectly.