Wild Woman Life Drawing Class.
“Huge and hairy and mute. . .he may be so large that his legs alone have the sizes of tress. His temper when aroused is terrible and his first impulse that of tearing trespasses to pieces. When moved to revenge, he nay make lakes disappear and towns sink to the ground. He devours human beings, preferring unbaptised children, and - according to a belief held in Italian Tyrol and in the Grisons in Switzerland- makes a practice of exchanging his own worthless progeny for human offspring”
Richard Bernheimer, ‘Wild Men in the Middle Ages.’
“We feed on wild fruit and roots, drink the clear water of springs and warm ourselves by the light of the sun. Our garment is the mossy foliage and grass which serve also as our bed and bedspreads . . .company and pleasure we find in the wild animals of the woods, for since we do them no harm, they let us live in peace. . .We exult in brotherly love and have never had any strife among us, for each does to the other as he would want him to do to himself”
‘The Lament of the Wild Man about the Unfaithful World.’
“She varies considerably in size and appearance, and as in the case of the wild man, the alpine version, called Faengge, is among the most formidable. Richard Berheimer reports that she is 'a colossal orge of great strength. Bristly all over, she has a mouth that reaches from ear to ear. Her black, untended hair is interspersed with lichen, and according to a report in Switzerland, she is prone to eat humans”
Daniel Farson, Vampires, Zombies and Monster Men.
For the last life drawing session of the module, we take an experimental approach, where observation and imagination combine, with the aid of written word, sound and instillation, to produce ?
Who knows what! Lets wait and see!
- To prepare; make an environment for Mel to move, roam and model in.
- String will hang across the four walls of the life drawing studio, please cut-out a forest/wild wood/ jungle canopy from a roll of bin liners, attach to string with masking tape or sello-tape.
- Tutor to play atmospheric sounds & music.
- Next read the pieces of writing, featuring historic descriptions of encounters with Wild women and Wild men. (Tutor may read out accounts whilst students draw).
- (Encounters have been recorded since Medieval times - such as the satyr or faun characters in classical mythology, and Silvanus; the Roman god of the woodlands - to the present day, the North American Bigfoot and the Yeti or Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas).
Take 30 mins to prepare room.
Warm up exercises.
With all exercises its important to include context, this will help to transform Mel, and begin to tell her story.
Building on the approaches from last week's movement class;
- Fill 2 A1 sheet of paper with a variety of small expressive drawings.
- Use black ink, and a pen brush, or simple brush to draw Wild woman Mel as she moves through the Wildwood, she will pause every now and then looking for food, or to listen to birds, try and capture her on paper before she moves again. Take approx. 20 mins to complete these warm up drawings.
Fill 3 A1 sheets of paper with a variety of expressive drawings Time limit to range from 5mins to 15mins. 45 min time limit on this.
- Developing the previous exercise, this time the students can use any drawing material they wish. Wild woman Mel, moves around the environment with a spear or other prop.
- Tutor to read a variety of different encounters or descriptions, monstrous to innocent - students respond accordingly.
- Tutor says stop every now and then, states time limit, students try and capture her again on paper,
- Students can use any drawing approach they've used during the drawing module, but they must draw her in the time limit.
- Tutor could introduce approaches if they feel its appropriate.
- Not worry to much about technical side of drawing, e.g. proportion, perspective etc.
Stop – How's it going? Class to review drawings; highlighting interesting, arresting drawings which mirror session's Wild woman theme, whether in narrative, character or expressive qualities (drawings might look like caveman paintings for instance).
- Students to identify 3-4 approaches, which are successful, or show promise - make a note in sketchbooks.
- They can be inspired by others work in the room, and interpret their peers approaches if they wish.
- They wish to consider whether to depict her as monstrous or an innocent – see quotes top of page.
30 min Tea/Coffee Break
Consider making paper props such as; paper birds, branches, basic tools for Mel to hold, or animals/birds to place around her, by feet etc.
Wild woman Mel, to pose for 3 x 30 minute poses.
- Students begin to develop one or all 4 of the successful or/and promising wild woman drawing approaches over the length of these 3 poses. These might involve drawing quickly, so students can draw many more than 3 drawings in that time if they wish or need to.
- Again it might be worth the students considering how they want to depict her, monstrous or an ideal innocent.