Julie Farstad, my seniour painting teacher at the Kansas City Art Institute, once asked me, "What do you want your figures to be doing?"
It's a question I've though about a great deal since graduating in 2008--and a question I still haven't answered.
I've been working on a figure drawing for a painting I've had in mind for a while now. The drawing has undergone a few permutations, and although I thought I liked the concept, I've never been pleased with any of my attempts to draw the pose.
The painting was going to be of a nude woman holding her arms outstretched, and wrapped around her fingers would be a spiderweb in a loose "Cat's Cradle" weave, with three or so spiders crawling through the webbing.
I realized (yes, only just) now that this is a truly silly idea.
Now, in my defense (if that's the right word...) I have seen numerous extremely well-done paintings of far worse concepts. Most fantasy and science fiction illustrations are sillier--and more sexist. I have nothing against nudity, or even overt eroticism, but, I have no real reason why this figure would be nude. My intention isn't to make spiders seem "sexy".
I've been working on the next of my "Invented Faces" (pictured as it looks, so far) and on an old painting I'm restoring. Once the restoration was done, I wanted to get to work on some new figure drawings.
Now, however, I think I need to answer the question, before I can really put in the serious time it'll take just to get two or three conceptually rigorous drawings done--not to mention the paintings themselves!