What a Drawing Group Can Do for You

For the last 26 years, I’ve been meeting with a life drawing/painting group every other Tuesday. This group has saved me hundreds of thousands of dollars in therapy bills! (A few of us have stayed together through the birth of children, divorce of spouses, bouts of illness, etc., for these 26 years.)

I’ve been drawing from life since I was a student, and I recommend a drawing group like ours to keep skills sharp. I’ve done thousands of drawings and watercolor sketches during these sessions, and I keep all of them. When I look over them, I see that they’re personal, intimate and revealing in ways my studio paintings are not.

Because we’ve been painting for so long, I find that changing media occasionally keeps me enthusiastic. Over the years, I’ve worked with a variety of drawing materials. I’ve drawn left-handed, sketched in oils, and in recent years, have been doing small watercolor sketches, some of which are illustrated here.

The studies are quick and they convey the way the model appears to me. The heads are small because I want to finish them while the model’s still there, during the two and a half hour session. I use a ?-inch sheet taped to an easel. The paint doesn’t drip too much, and if it does, it doesn’t matter: I’m seeking expression and expressiveness. The model assumes a gesture pose for 20 minutes. Once I’m warmed up, I paint only the head—simply because I want to get a painting done in my two hour limit.

Paul W. McCormick received his art training at the DuCret School of the Arts in Plainfield, New Jersey. He’s currently an instructor at that school, as well as at two other New Jersey institutions, The New Jersey Center for Visual Arts (Summit) and Somerset Art Association (Far Hills). McCormick is a member of the Hudson Valley Art Association, the New Jersey Watercolor Society and Allied Artists of America. His paintings have garnered a number of awards in juried exhibitions. McCormick is represented by Portraits Inc. (New York City) and Swain Galleries (Plainfield, New Jersey).

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