I got out of class at 3:30pm on Friday, April 11th to find crowds of people scattered about North Lawn enjoying the afternoon warmth. It was that time of day where all of my responsibilities managed to slip off of the priority list, because after all, it’s Friday. As the shadows stretched further across the grass it was time to make my way to Heimbold for the meeting of the Figure Drawing Club.
I tossed my cigarette and entered the building. Walking up the stairs, the sound of Moderat lured me into room 300. There, I found Lilly Rosner’14, founder of the club, setting up easels and adjusting the lighting over a stage. The studio was filled with scraps of drawings and stubs of charcoal smashed into the floor. Every wall seemed to be covered with some idea-in-progress. Aside from a painting class I took last semester, I had little experience with the Heimbold studio spaces; more importantly, I was at a loss for materials to sketch with.
More students slowly trickled in, followed by Jake Rickman ‘16, the first model, sporting nothing but orange boxer-briefs. Lilly showed me to the communal materials—luckily, there are always ample charcoal and newsprint for the session—and we began. We made it through several five-minute poses, a few for ten, and one for twenty as we made it through an eclectic musical playlist. Rickman had never modeled before, but seemed to be in that classic Sarah Lawrence springtime mood when you want to try something new just because. At 6:00 PM, the first modeling shift was up, making it time for another cigarette before Dahlia Stone ‘16 would arrive to model for the second half of the session.
Stone entered the drawing studio excited, asking, “So… do I get naked now?” Everyone laughed, telling her, “We only like comfortable vaginas, so you decide.” She grinned, and said, “I think I will be most comfortable in the shoes,” stripping down to her lacey black thong and four inch black zip-up heels. We went through the same exercises as we did with Rickman, who was drawing this time. Stone chatted with us as she posed, mentioning how she felt empowered to be able to pose half-nude for us so nonchalantly, while technically sitting in a classroom. The minutes of the second hour flew by. By the end, the floor of the studio was nearly carpeted with drawings. Stone slipped her clothes back on, while I sifted through the ten or so sketches that I had made. Some of them weren’t even half bad!
I put my materials away, packed up my drawings, and headed outside where it was still warm and light. Although the afternoon was over, the night was young. Before heading home, I asked Rosner for a few details about the Figure Drawing Club, since this was only the second time I had ever attended.
“When I was a freshman, I was a theater third so I couldn’t take a painting class,” Rosner told me. “It got me thinking about how great it would be if I had the opportunity to do something artistic, to have a way to practice drawing or art or whatever. No rules, totally informal, just practicing and having fun with the basics.”
Though the club has been going strong all year, its future is uncertain. “I don’t really know, I don’t know what’s going to happen to it,” Rosner admitted when I asked her who was going to be taking over as leader following her graduation this June. “I hope that figure drawing club continues next semester, and will be handed down to somebody who is committed to our mission,” she said, “which is to make art more accessible on this campus, and to contribute to fostering a larger artistic community for artists and non-artists alike at Sarah Lawrence.”
It is student-run clubs such as this that give Sarah Lawrence character and community. It would be a shame to see figure drawing disappear with the class of 2014; I know that I would definitely miss it. Any models, artists, non-models and non-artists––be sure to check out figure drawing club on Fridays from 5-7 PM in Heimbold 300.
by Zoe Kosieradzki '16