I took a beginning figure sculpture workshop this past weekend. I've wanted to try my hand at it since I was learning to draw the figure at the Florence Academy years ago: somehow, it seemed that if only I could reach out and manipulate my drawing as one would clay, it would have been easier. I don't know about easier, but it was satisfying in a way drawing is not (for me). In the four hour workshop I felt (naturally) that I'd only begun to touch on the basics of what is figure sculpture, but, perhaps more importantly, I reaffirmed my respect and compassion for beginners. I regularly teach beginning painters, and while I often see them confronting the fear of trying something completely new and unknown, it's been awhile since I was the one in room full of strangers admitting I had no idea how to do what was asked of me. There is a bravery in trying. A bravery in risking failure. And while I truly believe art skills and techniques can be learned by almost everyone, I think, too often, we fail to acknowledge the courage it takes to try. Part of me (possibly a vain and silly part) is embarrassed by my beginning sculpture--it is not perfect--but I'm sharing it anyway, knowing I have to start somewhere, and in solidarity with so many beginners.
Figure sculpture study (#1):
Figure drawing from all those years ago:
And in other news, I received this beautiful catalogue from Lotton gallery in the mail today: