A panel of artists will discuss the figure in art Monday, May 24 amid Waterfall Arts’ current exhibition of figure work by members of the Belfast life drawing group. The panel discussion will begin 7 p.m. in the Clifford Gallery of Waterfall Arts, 256 High St.

David Estey, who has run the life drawing group in Belfast for six years, said the evening will offer a rare opportunity to participate in a discussion with a panel of accomplished artists about and within the confines of the current figure exhibition.

“Members of the panel have over 150 years of professional experience in drawing, painting, printmaking and sculpture and have formal educations in the history of fine art and the disciplines required to do it well,” he said.

Panel members include artists Estey, Nancy Morgan Barnes, Kris Engman and Richard Mann. Estey, who lives in Belfast, has a bachelor of fine arts degree from the Rhode Island School of Design. He has taught and exhibited in Maryland, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Maine. Barnes resides in Searsport and has been painting for more than 30 years. A graduate of Indiana University, she exhibits her paintings in Italy and throughout the United States, including many solo shows. She taught art at the university level for 19 years before moving to Maine in 2000.

Engman, who lives in Liberty, has a BFA from  the Maine College of Art and a master of fine arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania. She teaches in the art department of the University of Maine, where her subjects include two-dimensional design and painting and drawing at all levels. For 25 years, she was a figurative sculptor; now she focuses on painting, working with patterns of light and color found in the surrounding landscape.

Mann lives in Belfast, was born in Portland and studied drawing at Connecticut College before moving west. At the University of Hawaii, he studied intaglio and lithographic printmaking, papermaking and sculpture, earning a bachelor of arts in art. Mann started the Belfast life drawing group with artist Dudley Zopp in 2000 and shows his work at Åarhus Gallery.

The panel will encourage dialogue with the audience to explore the importance of the figure to artists throughout history, commenting on pieces in the exhibit and other examples. Anticipated topics include what makes a good drawing, why drawing matters, how painting and sculpture differ from drawing, why artists have always studied the human body and thinking like an artist. Other questions may be how drawing feeds into other disciplines and whether drawing is considered the “lesser” art form compared to painting or sculpting. The members of the panel and audience also may discuss their personal processes of making artwork.

Admission to the evening’s panel discussion is free, but donations to Waterfall Arts are welcome. Two life drawing groups meet each week at Waterfall Arts, on Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings. For more information, visit waterfallarts.org or call 338-2222.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to dernest@villagesoup.com.