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March 5, 2021

Using the Body to Draw on Inspiration

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My dear friend, Philip Rubinstein 1934–2021

I first met Phil on a rain-soaked day outside my house in Brunswick Terrace, Mullum. It was an accidental encounter, but we soon got stuck into a conversation about the parlous state of Australian universities.

Turiya Bruce drew on a reclining Mandy Nolan for inspiration ahead of An Artists Affair.

Turiya Bruce is one of the artists leading two days of drawing and painting called An Artists Affair at Ewingsdale Hall. The Echo spoke with her about her passion for drawing.

Hi, Turiya. Can you tell me how you approach painting the human form; what is it you look for or that resonates with you?

The first thing that resonates is the unique beauty. I look for that, I look through the eyes of that. I aim to receive that transmission of loveliness and let it work its magic on and through me with some very contemporary techniques and art materials.

Why is the female body such a constant source of artistic inspiration?

To me the female form is beautiful because She is Life. And that is a pretty endless source of inspiration really. The human form can teach us so many things, from proportion and placement to seeing and trusting our own unique expressions. So many details and understandings can be practised when you sit and draw directly from the model. 

What can an artist learn from drawing life models?

Always when working in a group like An Artists Affair the atmosphere of concentration and inspiration is amplified by the presences of both model/s and artists; it can really hum as we all enter ‘the zone’. It is always exciting to see how others are using their art media and allow that to inform or change your working style so that you are flexible and never bored by your approach. I have learned a lot by watching others and working alongside of them through my 41 years of frequent periods of life drawing.

This is an experience of drawing in community. How does drawing with other artists change or influence the way you work?

I have noticed in my teaching of representational drawing that there is a big difference between what we think we see and what is truly there in front of us. Many of us stopped drawing and looking at an early age and so sometimes when we commence again we are right back there at age seven or whatever age we stopped. We can really be so hard on our juvenile abilities as they are not matching what our sophisticated style intelligence can see. I keep encouraging my students to practise, practise, practise looking and expressing and the results will begin to arrive! And in the meantime be kind to your unfurling inner artist!

What will you be creating on the weekend at Ewingsdale Hall?

The weekend event An Artists Affair – Burlesque and Bare on 28–29 April invites me to experiment some more with various types of approaches from the humble graphite to Pan Pastels to Gelli Plate Monotypes. Even a large painting could be born there. It promises to be a fun weekend and a deep immersion into my personal joy in drawing from life models, particularly when there will be so much playful beauty revealing itself for us all to transmute into art.

An Arists Affair | Ewingsdale Hall | Saturday 28, Sunday 29 April | www.followyourart.net.au.


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