Maggie Le Conte was born in Natal, South Africa & came to Guernsey as a teenager.
From a very early age, she developed a great love of painting & drawing. Self-taught but mentored & encouraged her artist parents. In her final year at school, Margaret Waller FIAL taught her & over the years has been tutored by various talented professional artists on Painting trips & Workshops.
Her love of nature, history, dance, music, sci-fi & fantasy is reflected in her “eclectic” art. She likes to paint widely different genres using different mediums to suit the subject & mood.
Her latest body of work is to be shown at the Coach-house Gallery showcasing Life & Figure Drawing. Using pastels & charcoal the Life Drawings show varied styles from delicate to bold figures. Also showing are a set of detailed pen & watercolour paintings depicting stylised dancing figures.
It was Guernsey born Sci-fi artist, Chris Foss who introduced her to the Coach-house Gallery & has encouraged her to show her work.
© Maggie Le Conte. All Rights Reserved 2019
LIFE DRAWING AS AN ART FORM & HOW IT IS RELEVANT TODAY
In this age where the human body shown in the media is manipulated to look “perfect”, it is an unrealistic representation, especially to young people. This can result in poor Body Image, which can have devastating negative issues. Life Drawing, both as model and artist, gives the opportunity to see the human form in all shapes and sizes and to realise these “differences” are in fact the norm.
In Life Drawing Sessions and classes, I have found that the model is very much respected. It is also a two-way process. Far from it being “erotic”, as some may perceive, the model is viewed as a three-dimensional being that needs to be translated into a two-dimensional piece of Art. One endeavours to capture flowing lines, awkward perspectives, the play of light and shade on their skin, measure the form and taking note of the spaces in between never mind getting to grips with different mediums all within an allocated timeframe! Poses can be a short as two minutes, so these have to be quick gestural pictures. When the pose is longer one has time put in more detail, but even then, the time seems to fly by!
It takes a surprising lot of strength, patience and stamina to hold a pose, but we try to make sure the model is as comfortable as possible.
To allay fears that Life Drawing is somehow salacious and exploits the model, I would refer you to numerous articles and recent news items where it has been shown how empowering and liberating it can be. This has been corroborated by all the Life Models to whom I have spoken.
The history of depicting the nude human form goes back many hundreds of years. Life Drawing is invaluable to learn about the dynamics, structure and anatomy of the body, which is invaluable when using figures in other forms of Art. One has to focus intently on what it is before one, so much so, that it has been likened to Mindfulness akin to meditation. As one is so engrossed in the study and drawing any problems or anxieties that prey on one’s mind are suspended for a few hours which acts like a balm. For example, nearly two years, I had to have a double hip replacement, and it was the Life Drawing Sessions that helped me blot out the crippling pain for a while at least. It was the only thing that did. It can significantly improve Mental Wellbeing, and again this is being advocated by many medical practitioners and therapists.
For the past three years or so, I have been attending Life Drawing Sessions held by Adam Stephens, Head of Art at Elizabeth College here in Guernsey. In that time, I have met a wide variety of incredible artists and models, and there is always a warm and welcoming atmosphere and is a great way to meet like-minded people and make new friends. During the break, it is always interesting to view each other’s work, which considering one is depicting the same person, is always fascinatingly diverse.
There are several other small groups on the island that organise Life Drawing Sessions. In the U.K. and, for that matter, the rest of the world, there are hundreds and hundreds of similar groups as it is so very popular nowadays.
On Facebook, I am a member of two groups which have members throughout the world who post their work online.For me, personally, it has also been very useful as an aid with the Imaginative Figure Drawing and Painting. Whereas in Life Drawing the model is static in these my imagination can take flight. So in my “Dancer” series I wanted to paint stylised dryad or nymph figures with lots of graceful movement and celebrate moods of colour and a sense of joyful freedom. An interesting note is I have synaesthesia and always listen to music when I’m painting so that also, in turn, influences my work, albeit unconsciously.
Finally, in Aesthetics, the nude human form is an expression of Beauty, and I hope when viewing this form of Art, you will appreciate the innocent purity of it.
My sincere thanks to you for taking the time to read this piece and viewing this Exhibition.
Maggie le Conte