ASHLAND Never say you can’t draw to Brandy Jefferys. She might consider you a challenge.
The drawing instructor at Huntington Museum of Art said it’s a skill that can be learned.
“Some people may be predisposed to learning those skills more easily or quickly. But when it comes down to it, it’s something that you have to dedicate hours to if you want to improve and grow,” she said.
The 37-year-old Huntington resident uses various approaches to teaching, from encouraging students to “draw what they see” to making use of more mathematical techniques, such has drawing grids to put pictures on paper.
“I break down the technique into simple steps over four sessions. And then in the final session, I have a still life set up that we all draw from the full session,” she said. “If the student has a phone camera, we take pictures of the setup. And the goal is to have you walk out the last day with the skill and confidence to finish the drawing on your own time.
“I do discuss using grids, both for photos and real life,” she continued. “If a tool was good enough for the first great draftsman in Western Art History, Albrecht Duerer, it’s good enough for everyone.”
Jefferys, who has a bachelor of fine arts in studio art, drawing, from Shawnee State University, leads figure drawing at the museum, which she said is her favorite medium.
“Drawing the figure from life is one of the best things that you can do to sharpen your skills as an artist, physically with your drawing and mentally with your mindset,” she said. “It requires you to be fully in the moment, observing and recording. It can be quite meditative when practiced regularly. I miss being able to regularly have sessions.”
She said teens are inspired by comics, video games and anime, and while she teaches how to draw realistically, those skills apply to most art forms.
Jefferys said people want to learn to draw for various reasons, from a love of doodling to a fascination since childhood.
“I’ve had one student who was going to be traveling and wanted to keep a sketch diary of their travels. What a fabulous idea!” she said. “It’s such a great way to take in and fully absorb all your sights and surroundings, and you get this amazing souvenir that you made. There’s no better way to lock something away in your memory while also leaving yourself a key to readily access those feelings and memories again.”
The five-week drawing class met once before activities at HMA were canceled because of the coronavirus.
Meanwhile, Jefferys works on her own projects, mostly a wide range of subjects in oils.
“I’ve painted a series of Tudor’s Biscuit sandwiches and am currently working on a series of hot dog and pepperoni roll paintings, but I’ve also painted cocktails, pet portraits and a wide variety of other subjects,” she said, noting she takes commissions. Her most popular commissions are pet portraits and biscuit sandwiches.
“Pet portraits are always a joy to paint,” she said. “I’ve painted several commissioned biscuit paintings. Getting a couple’s two favorite Tudor’s biscuits as a painting has been a popular wedding gift.”
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