Section: Arts

Community drawing focuses on the art of the human form

When you look at your upper arm, what do you see? Do you see your freckles? The definition of your muscles? Have you ever looked at your arm and thought of a sphere? How about a rectangle?

Seeking out such details is the goal for Meg Gardella ’16 and the other dedicated student artists who participate in Kenyon’s community figure­­­­­-drawing sessions. This group of students, which ranges from 10 to 15 attendees each week, has created a community centered around the art of form and the beauty of human anatomy.

“I’ve been obsessed with drawing the figure since I’ve started,” Gardella said during this week’s drawing session. “It’s just such a transient form that is constantly interesting to people.” That interest is apparent when considering that many students who attend the weekly sessions are regulars. Gardella said the sessions are meant as a resource for students looking to enhance their skill at drawing the human body. “[The sessions are] mostly for artistic purposes,” she said. “[They are] for students who are interested in drawing form.”

Every session focuses on a student model and his or her relationship with the student artists in the room. Each model holds multiple poses for varying lengths of time — some last as briefly as 10 minutes, others as long as 30 minutes. Every pose is discussed by both the model and the session’s student proctor to ensure the model’s comfort. For Tim Jurney ’15, modeling for the community sessions presents not only an opportunity to further his artistic experience, but also a personal challenge. “I struggled with body image a lot in high school,” Jurney said. “[The session] is an opportunity to force myself to the next level. … It was like a challenge; if I can do this, then I’ve gotten as far as I’d like to have gotten.” Jurney, who has participated in the sessions as both a model and an artist, enjoys the dynamic between the two groups. After every pose, Jurney requests to see the students’ sketches. “I think you are the most critical person of yourself at any given point in time,” he said. “So when you see how people draw you, and you see how beautiful the drawing is, it doesn’t really matter what my body looks like — it’s still beautiful.”

For Gardella, interest in the human form comes from both its familiarity and complexity. “You think you know it, but you really don’t until you actually see it,” she said. “It turns into [something] other than this form that everyone thinks they know — into shapes and shading, spheres and rectangles.” The shapes and the shading are all present within the work of the student artists who attend the sessions each and every week. Their care of and dedication to the art of the human body is what makes the sessions such a rewarding experience for those involved.

The community figure-drawing sessions are open to students every Monday 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. in Horvitz Hall 316.


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