I’ve been taking classes at the BHQU with the amazing Nicole Wittenberg.

Classes are 3 hours long for figure drawing.  The structure of the class is simple, live models perform poses for longer and longer sessions.  Music is playing, from St. Matthew Passion to saucy meringues, while projected stills from films including Fassbinder create a texture and backdrop.  The models wear a dramatic wrap, a fur coat, a bolero hat or a policeman’s cap.  Eyes and lips are constant, bodies held tight, shaking slightly as they hold with intensity and duration their poses. The light drapes their curves.

There is an energy in the room and the focus sharpens immediately.  The time sensitive nature of the pose, the group dynamic as everyone works to capture a line, gesture, or muscle heightens the experience.  Did I mention it is free?  The luxury is in the environment created for making and we are making.  Occasionally, Nicole will wander the room giving a precise comment here or there, a suggestion, “You could do that or you could not do that.”  An interesting question may be raised, “Can you scale a gesture?” and an easy intelligent conversation happens between complete strangers.

It is like the act of sketching is invoked as a social practice or event.  We are drawing new lines on our pages as we draw new connections with each other and then as deeply as we’ve gone into that pose it changes, it breaks and the moment is over.

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