It’s true, at least in one classroom at COC: Life Drawing. As you walk down the corridor of Mentry Hall, a variety of colorful and expressive figures adorn the walls. Something is going on, something vivid, something different but we see it everyday, the human figure.
It’s not difficult to spot a lively man with a cart full of art supplies in the hall, Mr. Jim Lorigan. As the Art Chair for College of the Canyons, Mr. Lorigan says he is more of a coach than an instructor.
“A coach opens doors,” said Lorigan, “I open doors for students to discover their own voice. I open doors for them to observe, which means to see with an analytical eye. That’s why I talk about anatomy. It’s a delicate balance of self-discovery, which is my goal for the students by the end of the semester.”
Mr. Lorigan may invite you to add the class held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:50 p.m. to 5:50 p.m. With budget cuts on the horizon, art majors may want to take him up on this opportunity now.
Here’s a snapshot without a lens:
Tuesday, about 24 students sat in a circle around a foot stage. Mr. Lorigan began to lecture. Today the lecture was on the bone and muscles in the shoulder. He maneuvers a skeletal model describing the bones in the arm and hand with ease, almost a friendly manner. Lecture lasted about half an hour with graphs and vocabulary for the human anatomy. There was silence except for the background music, Norah Jones today. The artists were preparing their eyes, their hands, and their minds for a focus without computers or any other technology.
Mr. Lorigan asked if the model was ready. Dramatically lit, the model enters and situates himself on the platform. A very muscular and tall male figure today. Rustle of newsprint, sketchpads, charcoal and graphite began to fill the room. No talking, just a focus, almost a reverence, of God’s greatest creation, the human figure.
I, along with the other art students, delved into our sketches as Mr. Lorigan made the rounds commenting briefly on the gesture drawings. At that time, “the reporter” and the artist communicated, without any words. The life studies in the corridor were not just pretty pictures, but a study of life. Life without computers, cell phones, or iPods, and where cameras are strictly prohibited.
Mr. Lorigan also exhibits throughout California and has a reception and opening at the “Box Gallery” in Costa Mesa on March 19th. He is currently preparing for a one-man exhibit in Long Beach which is set to open in May.