Life Drawing Classes

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					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.

				
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posted:1/19/2011
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