Last week Rachel Howard wrote, “Gesture Writing,” a thought provoking article in the New York Times about how her experience being a nude art model helped her writing. She found the process of gesture drawing transferred to her work.
“‘Find the gesture!’ the instructor would shout, as the would-be artists sketched. ‘What is the essence of that pose? How does that pose feel to the model? The whole pose–quick, quick! No, not the arm or the leg. The line of the energy. What is that pose about? Step back and see it–really see it–whole.’ And then, my timer beeped, I moved to a new pose and the students furiously flipped to a clean page.” (article cited above)
“The line of the energy,” part intrigues me. It makes sense. When I watch people interacting I can see and feel energy between them.
So I went to a local coffee bar and watched a table of three bikers chowing down on bacon, eggs and hashbrowns. I tried not to be obvious about watching them. Noted the HA insignia on one of their shirts. Guessed they wouldn’t like that much. Through my too-long bangs I watched as they ate.
Medium built men with muscles. Smooth body movements. Nothing sudden or sharp. One would tilt his head, then another, then the third. Not bobble heading it, but like it was an ante they were willing to pay for the conversation. Their shoulders remained relaxed. They leaned in. Smiled and nodded.Bushy eyebrows on one. Not close enough to smell them. I’d guess–manly. Could have been a ladies book club though. Just had to add whiskers, bandannas and leather. Yup, they were three friends having a Saturday breakfast together feasting on the camaraderie as much as the food.
Did the idea of gesture drawing help me? Not yet. It still seems a bit academic to me, like an extra sweater I don’t necessarily need. But appealing. I like the idea of trying to get the whole picture first in a couple of lines and then going in for the details. I like the idea of focusing on “the essence” and the lines of energy.
And I love people watching.
Thanks to S for passing Rachel Howard’s article along to me.
Do you have a favorite place to people watch?