Monday, 12 January 2009

I like naked ladies.

If you've been reading my blog you might have seen last week that I was wondering about going to a life drawing class. Well tonight I went, feeling absolutely terrified in case everyone spotted that I was an imposter and hadn't been to art school and had never even drawn a person before, and barely knew which was the pointy end of my pencil, and told me to get out of the room or they would beat me with their easels.

I could not have been more wrong.

There were about twentyish people in the class, which took place in a huge brightly lit room (which was WARM enough for me, which makes a change and is a huge bonus) with a circle of chairs with drawing boards and easels around the outside. Inside the circle was a pile of cushions and blankets and what looked like a futon, and this is where the model did her stuff. The model herself was a lovely, slender girl of about twenty five, and she did some quick poses (a couple of minutes each), one twenty minute pose, one thirty or forty minute pose (I lost track of time), and a few somewhere in between. The teacher wandered around making suggestions, giving a critique here and there and generally being nice and useful.

I wasn't prepared for how much I would love this class. When I used to do a lot of running (pre-arthritis) it was the only thing that made me completely zone out and forget all about life and work and the pile of laundry at home, and when I'd finished my run I was always on a high - the famous runner's high you hear tell of. It's not a myth. Life drawing is (for me at least) the same. Sitting for two and a half hours, not counting the tea and biscuits break, thinking about nothing except the shape of the model in front of you and the light and dark bits and your pencil (I did find the pointy end after all) is apparently very good for your mental health. I will definitely be back, and hopefully very soon.

Here are some of the drawings I did. Please bear in mind that these are my first people drawings ever!







11 comments:

Graham McArthur said...

Congratulations on taking that first step into life drawing. I hope it becomes a life long passion. Keep going!

Owen said...

Wonderful. Very happy for you. I am an avid cyclist and I would agree that life drawing causes one to enter another space, a space apart just like running or cycling, zen-like I suppose.

I am trying to find sessions in this area. I haven't done this on a regular basis since I was in my twenties taking classical animation.

Cecelia said...

Great start, and congratulations on going forth with the class. I'm sure that you will love it as you continue to grow. This brought back so many memories of my various adventures with life drawing classes! You are much braver than I was. I spent my whole first semester of life drawing, taping and retaping my paper to my drawing board, too embarrassed to look at the model! Of course, they seated me on the front row, too. It took me a few years to try it again, and, I guess I grew up some, and really enjoyed my classes. You're right. You do go into a different place. I could go into class, dead tired from work and with a headache and, after the 3 hour class, I was feeling good and full of energy.

Peachtreeart said...

I have to admit I felt a little self conscious because I often scrutinized the models too closely I guess. I'd all of a sudden look up and meet her/his gaze and realize I'd been starring at a living person. I was being checked by the security guard at the airport the other day and realized she was one of our regular models. I almost said hey you have your cloths on and you have a regular life and job. Caught myself in time. I'm glad you are enjoying your class!

Rachel H said...

I really enjoyed reading about this as I had hoped you would go! I've not been to a life class for a few years now (the latest model was this really oddly shaped guy covered in tattoos - everyone stopped going so they cancelled it!!!) but I remember the warmth and the buzz of the fan heaters all too well, plus the quiet concentration and the frustration as you realise you're running out of time!

These are great - especially that last one, you've made such a good job on the foreshortening. Well done you - look forward to seeing more!

Physhy said...

"I lost track of time." How wonderful is that zone?! Your excitement radiates, and your sketches show it (the last one is especially unselfconscious) - if you can achieve this in your first, it is going to be very exciting to follow your progress. Congratulations, and happy journey.

Sarah Ketelaars said...

What lovely drawings - well done you. I like naked ladies too, and am enjoying an experimental life class that has literally changed my life. So keep it up - this could be the start of something.

Paloma Chaffinch said...

Brilliant. I can't believe these are your first attempts at figure drawing - I think they're fabulous. I especially like the lying down pose

Knitting Painter Woman said...

I completely understand the enthusiasm, the zoning out, and the trepidation of charting somebody's body-- not to mention sharing the results of same. There is a life drawing group at flickr(dot)com that is pretty inspiring too... And it is nice to work in a space that is warm enough to keep the model from turning blue!
My class usually has only 4 or 5 drawers, and I often find that the models watch us just as much as we look at her.

Owen said...

Just had to return to say (drum roll please) I went life drawing last night! Woo hoo. See the blog if interested.

David said...

These are very good for your first attempt. I really like the one of her laying down. You deserve much credit for going without knowing what to expect. Keep drawing!!!

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