I used to be top of the art class when I was younger in school, I remember my old school friends used to wind me up because the art teacher would always use my art work as examples for the class pupils to see. Oh no, Here we go again. “Look at Melita’s art work today” I still giggle at that now those were fun times in art class. I was and I am very good at pulling a smug face (I studied performing arts too) I would do the ‘yes, the teacher is talking about me face’ on purpose.
Today however, I can’t remember hardly anything I learnt in art class, I am useless at art although I have a good eye for it. I use this saying that ‘everything is art’ if you think about Tracey Emin and her unmade bed for example considered art to some and not to others, most, if not everything we see is some form of art in my opinion. Well it’s up for debate.
Although I am rubbish at art now my bucket list is filled with arty things I want to do and one being life drawing. So the girlies and I made our way to St Martins Lane in London after work to go and draw. Draw a NAKED man!
This was our first time, I don’t normally make a habit of things like this but I felt it was something that had to be done, I can say “Yep, I did that” and off I go onto something else. I do get bored easily I like variety. Those that know me well know I can’t do one thing for too long I might break out into song or do a dance, very badly I might add.
So, we met in a pub opposite the venue. I had a glass of red which my lovely friend Beth had got for me already on the table for when I arrived and I think she may have bought me a large glass due to the fact I forgot I had a headache, I was oblivious my voice went up a few gears and I also forgot what were about to do and that would mean trying extra hard to hold back the laughs. I only had a burger at lunchtime so I had not eaten for a good 7 hours before hand.
We were five minutes late. So there was everyone seated in a circle and that also meant the man had already taken his clothes off. Everyone was in silence drawing so we had to hold back our laughter which was REALLY REALLY REALLY hard when you just want to burst out laughing. He was showing his, you know his thing whilst we were trying not to look and laugh out loud.
Beth is very similar to me she can turn on and off her facial expressions very easily in certain situations (we have great poker faces) but in this scenario her facial expressions made it so difficult for me to hold my laughter in. I filled my cheeks with air to try and hold back any sound and squeezed my lips together as tight as I could. I knew she would make me laugh but I just couldn’t stop looking at her, her eyes drawn to his thing and practically popping out of her head. We have seen this all before but somehow it was hilarious to us at that moment. It was the whole atmosphere, knowing you couldn’t make a sound, knowing that this is a very serious thing to others. It was like being at school. I was waiting for us to be sent out of the class room.
We each were given A3 sheets of white paper, a clip board and we choose our medium (Now that’s something I remember, medium) I think we all had charcoal and HB pencils, first time I have seen one of those since school too.
There were approximately 15 people in a circle seated on plastic black chairs, the naked man – the model in the middle of the room with cushions on the floor and a chair with some other props of some description. I have no idea.
I looked around the room once I managed to compose myself. Attendees of the event already well into the first drawing and the model into his first pose so I started to draw. Not realising each pose is timed. Each pose the time increases by 5 minutes. This was the 5 minute pose so I think we had two minutes to draw before he moved into his 1O minute pose.
I managed to draw his willy (I will say willy because this post has a rather immature theme) before the time run out.
We were all seated in different places around the circle so for example if the model faced me and my friend Anna (we were sat together) then Beth and Elaine (sat together) would get the model’s rear and back and vice versa so in the 10 minute pose the model was lent over a chair on his back with his head on the floor and a leg balanced on his other leg. Sounds complicated, he looked incredibly uncomfortable but managed to stay in the pose for that length of time. Legend. Beth and Elaine in this particular pose had his legs and bum facing them and me and Anna had the view of his side so we all managed to see different angles.
I drew rather quickly. I was still at this point contemplating whether to draw a banana. Again, very immature of me but I was finding it all really classroom ish. The next pose we had full front. Again, I drew this really quickly and this pose was 15 minutes long so, I ended up looking around the room actually at the other attendees. People do this on a weekly basis attend these events here. I found myself looking at individuals thinking I wonder what you do for a living? What will you do after this session? What will you have for dinner tonight? Why I thought these things I don’t know and not that it matters either.
I spent a good 7-8 minutes looking at people draw the model that was stood right in front of me. One women was using her pencil as a guide and squinting her eye, thats a really arty thing to do. My eyes then went back to my sketch and because I had some extra time on my hands I used the other half of my blank page to do a zoomed in drawing of the willy. I was having some fun and not taking it too serious but that’s ok, art is meant to be fun! Plus, my wine was going to my head. I glanced back at Beth, her head tilting from side to side really getting into it, then using her clipboard to cover her mouth when she realises where she is and what she’s doing. I smiled.
Tip: Don’t have a tipple before hand this is serious stuff guys.
The model had a good body to draw, defined muscles and props in hand, a long pole of some sort used like a walking stick, I honestly have no idea what it was but it was some kinda support for his long 20 minute pose.
All you could hear was the sound of people rubbing the charcoal on the paper with their finger tips and pencils dropping on the floor on occasion. I used the rubber quite a bit and flashed my clipboard round so the ladies could see. I drew circles for the man’s face as that wasn’t any fun drawing that I thought.
We stayed for an hour. This is plenty of time to experience a life drawing session. We were going to stay for two hours but we wanted to have another drink and giggle over our drawings.
We went into Mr Foggs Tavern which you may remember I wrote a review about a few months back, we ordered a Rumpy Pumpy cocktail. Delicious.
We each revealed our drawings to each other and complimented them which is always a lovely thing to do even though mine was rather S**T. We had a giggle about how generous each of us was when it came to the man’s willy although I thought mine was rather accurate. He was not cold at all in the room.
We also had people in the Tavern check out our masterpieces. Not sure what they made of it all if I’m honest.
We spoke about how the model when he was stood in a pose his whole body is still (maybe not all sometimes) He obviously enjoys what he does but its rather odd when you catch eyes with him and then your just staring at his bits. What must go through his head? What does a man think about in those situations? Was he also thinking what am I having for tea tonight? It’s quite peculiar at the eye contact moment, even though on one pose when he was facing us I clearly had finished but panicked and looked back at my drawing and drew some extra lines so it looked like I wasn’t just staring and doing nothing with the 10 minutes I had spare before time was up.
We laughed, had a general chit chat and put our masterpieces in our bags to do what with them I don’t know. I will digitise mine and then recycle the paper as I don’t think sticking those in the attic will be worth thousands in years to come.
I would recommend trying this if you are an art fan or not. Its an experience. Initially you giggle but then you really do find yourself getting into it and embracing the activity.
If you are not around London fear not, just google life drawing near you and I am sure you will find somewhere that will hold classes.
Give it a go and try it once at least.
Thanks to the lovely ladies Beth, Elaine and Anna for a real fun evening.
With Love Mel x