Bay Area Models’ Guild Drawing Marathon

I have a couple of goals in this post. I made a resolution last week that I would start documenting all of the images I produce, which might mean getting some amazon cloud storage for the site. Also I want to post about some of the different figure drawing opportunities in the Bay Area. There’s a fairly comprehensive list to get you started here. However, I’d like to offer a more qualitative description of the events I attend.


So the setting: a large art room at Merritt College in the Oakland hills; 10 am on a Sunday morning. There are easels and drawing horses scattered everywhere. There are 4 models stands that are about 3 feet tall (the models really tower over you) and the veterans are already set up in the triangle within the 1’s and 2’s stand, the 5’s and 10’s stand, and the 20’s stand. The 4th stand is the long pose (3 hours-ish) If you’ve never attended a figure drawing class or session before, I think it would all be too overwhelming. Where do you start? Do you move around or park in one spot for the whole day? And once you get used to one model for 20 minutes they all switch around and who knows who you’ll be drawing next. My work from a model marathon is usually scattered so I like to use it as an opportunity to experiment. Want to try a new medium? take it to a drawing marathon.


What to bring: $40 ($30 for students) for admittance and ~$10 of small bills for breakfast, lunch, and snacks sold by the guild. Bring all the materials you have ever wanted to play with. If you bring only one medium you’ll get sick of it. Bring adequate amounts of paper. If you just did 1’s and 2’s with a pose per page you would use 205 pages. I parked by the 20’s and I made 13 pieces (I flaked on the last 10min session). I have run out of paper before at this event so be warned. People cart in full granny grocery carts full of art supplies and there is adequate space for it. Water for painting and drinking is available, and the bathrooms have paper towels. Bring music to listen to, the music selection is sub par. The guild is extra strict about cellphones (ringing and taking photos with them) I keep mine on vibrate and tape the camera and keep it in my pocket and it doesn’t seem to be a problem to listen to music on it. Yet the guild has no problem with people painting on iPads and laptops.


Many of the figure drawing sessions in the bay area offer models from the Bay Area Models’ Guild. So if you go to one, you’ll probably see familiar faces. If you’re thinking of starting a figure drawing session of your own I would say attending a drawing marathon is a great way to meet a lot of models and see who you might want to request from the guild. If you just want to push yourself and practice working through the exhaustion this is definitely an opportunity for that. It’s also a good opportunity to work through a lot of paintings without being attached to making art. There are about 4 marathons each year. It’s a bit pricey, but it’s a fundraising event for the guild, so it’s understandable. The next one is May 4th.


Here are my results from yesterday:

I think the collages were a success. I met an artist in San Francisco back in 2007 who drew with an exacto knife and then put the paper in front of light sources. He never connected his lines so the paper stayed intact. Ever since I spotted rainbow neon paper at Target I’ve been wanting to try something similar. Admittedly they are a bit wonky proportionally, but I like how weird they are. I forgot to bring glue with me, so that was tricky. I glued them this morning and I think I put all the pieces in the correct places.


The watercolors were a bit brain fart-y. I think after dealing with rainbow neon all the colors seemed a bit drab to me. (Note to self: I need neon watercolor paint) I was also trying to use a large round for what I usually use a flat for, just to punish myself or learn something. The fluid paper wasn’t bad, I got it for christmas and it was nice change from the accordion of Fabriano I started on.


I like the orange-y figure at the bottom of the fluid paintings. I think the next thing I want to work on is more Fauvist use of color in my watercolor paintings.

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