Sunday, March 9, 2008

North Berwick Drawing Group










Back in the 80's when I lived in Southern Maine, I drew from the figure on Wednesday nights at the home of Pat and DeWitt Hardy, with a crew of artists known as The North Berwick Drawing Group. The group started meeting in the 60's, and when I joined them, their members included (besides Pat and DeWitt) Lincoln Perry, Sigmund Abeles, George Burk, Sharon Townshend, Richard Wilson, and Janet Manyan - all accomplished figurative artists.
I felt very intimidated! I had worked from the nude figure a bit at RIJC and URI when I was in my early twenties, but hadn't done much drawing since having my five babies. I learned about the group when I was put in charge of the annual community art exhibit at the Sanford Unitarian Church where I was a member. When the woman who had organized the exhibit in years past became ill, she asked me if I would take over, and gave me a list of phone numbers of local artists who loaned their art for the show every year. I got on the horn and called them all, then drove around to collect their drawings and paintings. I still remember driving out to North Berwick to the Hardy farm house for the first time to pick up Pat and DeWitt's artwork. Pat and DeWitt were raising their three teenage sons at the time and hosting the weekly drawing group in DeWitt's studio above the barn in the summer, and in their living room, close to the wood stove, in the winter. I can still picture DeWitt, who met me out in front of the barn: he looked like a teenager himself, with his long hair, youthful smiling face, and sneakers! He invited me to come draw with the group, and I did. We worked for three hours from one pose, from 8 - 11pm. Patty would always pop a huge bowl of corn afterwards, and we'd all sit and visit for awhile. The Hardy home was filled with gorgeous paintings, prints and drawings. It was wonderful. I learned alot by osmosis during those Wednesday night sessions.

Posted here are several figure studies from those years. I really need to get back to working from the figure. I teach figure drawing at MECA and sometimes do a few quick demos during class, but I want to sink my teeth into some longer poses. I began drawing from the figure when I was in grade school at RISD on Saturday mornings, always chosing Life Drawing from the roster of classes offered. The models were not nude - they wore leotards - because we were just kids. This was the early 60's and the teachers all looked like beatniks - the women with their black leotards, and the men with their black turtlenecks and goatees!

Jan and DeWitt, 1987
pastel and charcoal, 15" x 22"
private collection

Franz Reclining, 1984
pastel, oil and charcoal, 22" x 30"
lost in studio fire

Another Summer's End, 1987
pastel, oil and charcoal, 22" x 30"
lost in studio fire

John, 1988
pastel, oil and charcoal, 22" x 30"
lost in studio fire

Jan, 1987
monoprint
private collection

Harris in the Red Room, 1985
pastel, oil and charcoal, 22" x 30"
private collection

Wendy, 1987
pastel, oil and charcoal, 15" x 22"
private collection

Harris with Tulips, 1984
pastel,oil, and charcoal, 22" x 30"
private collection

From out of the Studio, 1988
pastel, oil and charcoal on paper, 22" x 30"
private collection

2 comments:

Susan Beauchemin said...

I don't remember getting to choose the class at RISD? I must have just tagged along----Sue

Martha Miller said...

Yes, there was a course list. I remember Dad showing it to us each year and asking what we wanted to take. I was torn between Figure Drawing and Fashion Drawing...
glad I stuck with the figure! I don't think you tagged along, I think that you chose it, too!