I haven’t done life drawing for about twelve or thirteen years, as mentioned in the previous post the discovery of those thirteen year old life drawings stirred me to inspiration. My architecture student friend, Lizzie, suggested we go to the life drawing class at The Bees Mouth pub in Hove. It runs out of a small but suitably decorative back room of the pub at 7:30pm on Tuesday nights. Upon arrival you get the sense you are attending something very different to life drawing but that it will still definitely involve nudity. You pay your money at the bar and a red bee is stamped on your hand. You are then ushered down a dimly light corridor to a room at the back of the pub; the room has no door but instead a tattered black curtain hanging across it. Drawing back the curtain I half expected to see an Eyes Wide Shut situation unfolding, masked tuxedoed men watching naked masked girls. The room has the perfect ambiance for that sort of romp actually, all Chesterfield sofas, gas lamp style wall lanterns and ornately framed mirrors.
The room is small but it really didn’t matter as last night there were only five of us in it, myself, Lizzie, a Spanish girl, the class organiser and a naked man. I couldn’t have hoped for a model more suited to my drawing style actually, a tall, thin young man who seemed to be made up of sharp angles and knotted muscle, bearing a passing resemblance to David Bowie in his thin white duke days, in short great fun to draw.
I was a little nervous having not drawn from life in so long but really happy to be returning to it. In fact I might not have been nervous, just excited….I can’t really tell those feelings apart. Still I was fairly bold with it and went straight in with ink on paper, no backing out or changing things like you can with pencil. The poses were all very short over the two hours mostly five or ten minutes and I might have been more comfortable with a longer pose so I could be all careful and neat but to be honest it was great to be so free with it all. As an illustrator I have crafted a very careful and neat style that is therapeutic in its own way but is all about control.
It was great to be cavalier about drawing again…you may also notice I am cavalier about proportions! I have little interest in getting things exact while life drawing, I’m much more interested in the quality of the line. This used to vex and irritate many a teacher during my university days and I know foreshortening and all that is an important skill to learn. However once I had learnt it, I decided to disregard it as this gave me the freedom to just enjoy the quality of the line, to enjoy the freedom and enjoy drawing. Hang the plumb lines! Anyway here are last nights efforts.