Rebecca Skelton - Figure Drawing

Figure Drawing in Tampa Bay

Drawing Artists Together

By Rebecca Skelton

The Tampa Bay area has become a magnet for artists in the past few years. We will never be a NYC or even a San Francisco, but artists have been relocating to our neighborhood in increasing numbers lately. A number of reasons come to mind: Cost of living compared to the major art markets, artist friendly policies in several of our cities, the number of art-oriented museums, and the explosion in mural projects.

While these and other reasons are likely, there is another artist attractor: We are drawn together to draw. We have a large number of places to practice life drawing. While drawing from a model has been de-emphasized as a discipline since the rise of abstraction followed more recently by conceptual & installation art, it never left our neighborhood. Maybe the interest in graphic novels/animation and illustration is fueling the growth, or more people desire to improve their skills for their own purposes, but this year we have had new people almost every week at the places I draw regularly.

Many of us at these sessions are professional artists while others draw just for fun. We range from teachers to beginners. Our groups include potters, jewelers, and glass artists as well as the usual and expected painting/drawing/sculpture crowd. We come from all walks of life — from doctors, lawyers, and engineers to the marginally-employed, from retirees to high school students. We all have our own approaches and goals, techniques and materials. The common themes seem to be the sheer pleasure of drawing, the challenge of the human form and the camaraderie of drawing together.

The Morean Arts Center in downtown St. Petersburg has been hosting drawing sessions on Saturdays for at least 35 years, certainly longer than any of our current group can remember. Eckerd College also has been offering their evening drawing sessions for at least that long also, but again, it goes back father that any of us can say. Firehouse Cultural Center is a welcome addition, and there are some seasonal groups as wel. Some groups draw clothed or costumed models as at Treasure Island while most of them usually work from nudes.

I am offering this small article in the hope that anyone who wishes to draw from a model will be able to find a place and time that works for them. Please come join us!