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Monday, September 13, 2010

The Unfinished Nude

She's Mocking Me!

(Gary Taylor, Studio Drawing)

That nude young woman in the charcoal sketch on the easel is mocking me.

She thinks she's complete.

She thinks it's so easy to stop with those few strokes and lines and sweeps of charcoal.

I sketched her from life in one of my last sessions of figure drawing, taught by fellow gallery member Bruce Bowersock.

Her name is Melanie.

I think Melanie needs to be fleshed out -- well, not that way.

I mean, her flesh is pretty nearly perfect, as is, for a young woman.

Melanie's an active character. She's young enough to be my daughter.

She's demurely turned away from the viewer except for that knowing glance over her shoulder.

I'm looking for that. I want the viewer of my final artwork to understand that look. I want the viewer to see this whole, complete young woman.

She's not a naked girl. She's not a head-and-shoulders portrait.

She's a whole nude Melanie, kneeling, at ease, her face turned to look at something that interests her. She's not unaware of being looked at; she's simply at ease with it.

(She's America. She's life. She's seen from behind. She doesn't hide her face, exactly. She's naked, but no one knows her entirely.)

I've been drawing different versions of the original sketch for months now. I start by drawing her from memory, without consulting the original sketch.

Each time, I simplify or elaborate something about the original sketch. I work on the shadowed background. I work on the composition.

Then I compare my latest attempt from memory with the original sketch.

I've begun to think that I should paint her in ink wash or washes of acrylic paint.

I talk to her in her sketch on my easel. I ask her what she thinks.

She keeps giving me that Mona Lisa smile. That is, I think that's how La Gioconda would look, kneeling nude with her back to us, her head turned to her left, to the side of her heart, arms folded across her unseen breasts.

For now, I'll keep working.
~Gary Taylor, Artist


  1. Wonderful Article, Gary, and wonderful Drawings!

  2. Gary-This is your passion, your bliss. You have improved in your sketching and drawing skills 500% in the last 18 months or so and I would say you have found your niche.

    Beautiful work. Lil Bowersock