Nearly two years ago I began attending some of the figure drawing sessions here in Portland with some regularity. I had attended figure drawing sessions in the past (in Eugene, Seattle, and NYC), but really only a handful of times and not with any consistency. But two Septembers ago I decided to put more focus on art and one of the first things I did was to attend these figure drawing sessions (at least a couple times a month, initially). There were many ups and downs over the first year, but I learned an incredible amount. Sometimes I felt like I was slipping backwards, and then suddenly I'd take a huge leap forwards. By the end of that first year, I was able to look back and see the progress I had made — which is an incredible feeling.
Last year I decided to put more focus on painting. I still tried to attend figure drawing now and then when I could, though many of the sessions that I was familiar with had slowed down or gone away. After attending the sessions in Springfield a few weeks ago, I've decided to try to add it back into my regular routine — even if that means attending just once a month.
For painting, I get inspiration from many things — sometimes using photo reference, sometimes my imagination, and often a combination of the two. I also sometimes go through my sketchbooks and turn some of the sketches into paintings — often using these as sources for warm-up exercises and experimentation.
The following is a painting I did a few weeks ago from an early pencil sketch of model, Jiling at Dead End Drawing Club. This was meant not as a finished painting, but as a chance to loosen up and experiment. It's painted on a 19.5 x 27.5" sheet of watercolor paper using acrylic paints. Even though it was meant as an exercise, I was happy with the results.