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Once a month at the Cincinnati art museum

Once a month at the Cincinnati art museum

Story and artwork by Steve Smith, Drawing Academy student

Any of us who have the opportunity to visit an art museum are fortunate, and I have been very fortunate to have seen a great many museums in my lifetime. Near me, the Cincinnati art museum has every day free admission, and a lovely collection. Visiting this year, for the first time in a while, I became a member. It is unlikely that we would have such treasures as these museums without sponsors, and now that I am retired I have the time to visit more often, and some means to contribute my support.

I have done life drawing in the past, but have not tried to draw a sculpture as was suggested and demonstrated here on the Drawing Academy website, and it occurred to me that even though the public situation might be a bit intimidating, I would try. The museum offers materials for interested artists, once a month, the first Sunday of the month, and invites us all to visit and draw from the hours of 11 ~ 4.

I picked up my materials at the entrance, and found a seat in the center of a large gallery on the second floor, where on the previous visit we had found, Roudolph Rogers, ( 1825 – 1892 ), ” Nora “, { Marble } the sculpted head and torso of his daughter. The work is an exquisite masterpiece of craft and feeling. I cannot imagine the toil, but can see the love and dedication in the presentation. The simple expression is so innocent and peaceful.

I sat about fifteen feet from the statue, using a 6H pencil I approached the construction lines with gesture, and marked out the quadrants I thought I would study with hesitation. I have done a fair amount of painting, and am familiar with the task of sorting out light and dark, and modeling light. One constraint that I noticed right away was that I was unable to make out much detail, from that distance. For instance, after I had drawn for about three hours, I started to clean up some of the mess I had made shaving my pencil, and for the first time I stood to stretch and walked closer to the piece. ( I probably should have stretched much more often, and have a habit of getting into this type of deep concentration and loosing track of time ). When close enough to start to see detail, I was surprised that the eyes were open, and that lids were modeled, extending well out from her face. The shadows I had been trying to capture from the distance misled my now fuzzy eyesight.

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I plan to return and draw again, the same statue, but this time closer. I enjoy the expression on her face, and the delicate details are very much the near music that the statue invites from a distance. I was not sure if Museum educate would allow me a close viewpoint, and plan to move when others approach. I am not sure I can draw for any time at all standing, as well, but this I will find out when I try, and it can be nothing less than good practice, even though more difficult than sitting.

When I changed from a 6B to an HB, for darker values, I found that I had already saturated the paper with the harder 6B graphite, and so there are a few areas of this drawing that got a bit muddy, even though I lifted the pencil with each stroke, and used about the same path throughout the process, down at an angle from Right to Left. It was rewarding to have got this much done, despite the fact that the rendition is not the true image of the sculpture, it is a bit wide, the subject was at least a couple of years older than this suggests, and of course her eyes were open! I enjoyed mapping the areas of contrast and bringing them closer and closer to their true relationships with care.

I intend to make more than a couple of tries on this one subject, and if I do I know that it will be interesting to see the difference that time, and technique play on the outcome.

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Enroll in the Drawing Academy Course:
Three Monthly Installments
Pay for the course in 3 easy installments
  • Receive 15 new videos monthly (45 in total)
  • Incredible discount – $4,164
  • Bonuses - Fine Art eBooks and Videos
  • Drawing Academy Diploma of Excellence after course completion in 3 months
  • Personal coaching by Drawing Academy Tutors
  • Lifetime membership. Free after the 3rd month
Total cost: $291 (three $97 installments)

Add to Cart

Complete Course - BEST VALUE
Get all video lessons for a one-time payment
  • Immediate access to all 45 video lessons
  • Incredible discount – $4,198
  • Bonuses - Fine Art eBooks and Videos
  • Drawing Academy Diploma of Excellence after course completion in 3 months
  • Personal coaching by Drawing Academy Tutors
  • Lifetime membership. No more payments
Total cost - Only $257

Add to Cart

Categorized: Art Articles

This Post Has 1 Comment

  1. M.smith says:

    What a pleasure to share the experience of one student as he describes his opportunity to make use of the museum facilities and the outreach of its staff. It broadened my appreciation of the museum’s influence. I have watched the efforts of this student through many years and across many venues and now as he approaches his senior years.
    And yes I am his proud mama.

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