I hold drawing classes, I still regard it as "Class" and that word is an interesting choice. A prima ballerina will go to daily "Class". This is a series of exercises, routines, stretches, and moves that she puts herself through on a daily basis in the same way as any member of the corp du ballet. For me life drawing class is a little bit like that. A prima ballerina will go through a series of exercises in order to rid herself of technique, to forget all that. She will seek to forget how to move, she will seek to become in absolute contact with the sense of her own body. All to be able to move with expression, unhindered, free. Drawing is that demanding, nobody goes into a drawing studio for a relaxing couple of hours. Yet it is possible in those two hours to achieve a state of mind that is profoundly calm and uplifting. Drawing the nude, for me one of those experiences that grounds me, helps define who I am. The shapes, the complexity, the balance, the potential for expression the sheer unrelenting difficulty of the task. All of this draws me back to the subject again and again and again. It is like visual nourishment. One needs to go back again to the well and drink, draw the water, drink, stop thinking, just drink and look. Stopping thinking, seems to be one of the key things to do. Remove from your head any of those thoughts that creep in and disrupt. Provided your thoughts are still visual it seems O K, is that too high, is that too long, is that mark too heavy, is that line unnecessary. The conversation with the page is relentless, marks accumulate relating to one another and relating to the person in front of you and your response to her. So much of life drawing is objectified, the model becomes an object just a difficult moving still life, rather than a living breathing human being. At some stage the drawing takes over, your response to the model has generated an image with a life of its own. Then your relationship with the image changes, then you have something that you could lose, could ruin it. Completing a drawing is one of the hardest tasks. How many marks are enough to express.... like climbing to the top of the pyramid. You seek to apply mark after mark after mark. One more and you reach the top of the pyramid, two more and you may as well be back down at the bottom again. However with all its stress, challenge and complexity, perhaps because of them, drawing has the profound effect of enabling one to become centred and confident. And like the ballet dancer for a little while one can become free. The objective is not producing the drawing not "the result", that is only a by-product, the objective is the experience of doing it, becoming free.