Why figure drawing?

I would always draw, but it never occurred to me to pursue art as a career given my background, only one generation from working class. In addition, the contemporary artists when I entered college did abstract works that I did not understand, in particular the color field painters of my hometown, Washington, DC.

In 1970 I took my first adult art class, and was introduced to figure drawing from a live model. The Natural Way to Draw was used in most classes then, and remains a source of art school practice today. Since then I have attended open drawing sessions regularly. The attractions of these groups is captured in the book Undressed Art: Why We Draw by Peter Steinhart. In addition to the mental benefits of doing any drawing, the human face and body drawn from life is a connection to something timeless and essential.