While I consider myself primarily an abstract painter, I do, in fact devote much time to making figure drawings. This seems, at first glance, a contradiction, but I have found that the practice of life drawing serves to ground me. My paintings allow me flights of imagination while these studies demand I be totally present.
Sometimes I am asked why I choose the nude human form. Obviously, there is a long tradition reaching back to prehistory of the figure in art, but I have never been particularly driven by tradition. In exploring the figure as an artistic subject, it becomes a contemplation of the many dichotomies of the human condition: flesh/spirit, strength/frailty, grace/awkwardness and ultimately, life/death.
I connect to the gestural line and strive to keep that alive even in longer poses. This imbues a looseness and expressionistic style that I believe honestly conveys the “life” of life drawing. This collection of work from the past three years illustrates the assortment of media I enjoy. The poses ranged from roughly ten to thirty minutes.
Working from life is a fantastic, collaborative effort, and I wish to express gratitude to the men and women who perform the difficult job of the model.
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Artwork copyright © Joanne Holtje. No images may be reproduced in any form without written permission.