Disclaimer – what you are about to read is a bit gushy. It also has images of images of nude men and women. If you find either of these things not to your taste, I suggest you look away. Now.
Poor guy – this pose looked like agony!
This post wasn’t what i had planned. I was part of the way through writing an entry about life drawing. You may have noticed that I post my drawings on Facebook, Twitter, here, in fact anywhere I can. Life drawing is like an addiction for me. I bang on about it to anyone who will listen and really enjoy showing my images to others, hoping for some feedback, hoping my enthusiasm is infectious. I am lucky to have found a lovely little group that couldn’t be more local, has fantastic models and with a great bunch of people who attend. Hell, there’s even tea and coffee.
What do life models think about all that time?
I have taken a huge amount of pleasure from it since I rediscovered it last Autumn after a long absence. It has a borderline spiritual quality for me; I can lose myself in this completely non verbal activity where suddenly the most important decision I have to make is which drawing implement to use. All of my attention and focus goes into my endeavour to perfectly represent the gracious curves and shadows in front of me on paper. I am not drawing for any other reason than for the pure sake of it – I don’t make my pictures with the intent of selling them, unlike some of the other things I make, where that it definitely the intention.
I stared ‘creepily’ at this guy for ages
When Tuesday comes around I am thinking all day about what I want to achieve at life drawing tonight. Throughout the week, I scour my work, analysing what I find successful, in an attempt to improve and learn. What I produce is veryrepresentational. I don’t go in much for expressiveness, as much as I admire this in others’ work. What I want to achieve is accuracy, purity of line, a sort of visual truth about what I have seen, and I strive for precision in my work. One of the lads in the group commented how I was staring so intently at the model’s face one evening, that it was ‘kind of creepy’. It is a lot like a puzzle for me – I want to work it out and find a solution for how to transfer this 3D thing into two dimensions effectively.
And in that way, the subject is almost irrelevant! For me the experience of drawing the human figure is almost the same as the observational drawings of brick walls or bowls of pasta I used to do at University. I did them to see if I could work out how the noodles all fit in to the bowl together, or how this brick differed minutely to all the others. When I was at Uni I spent most of every day (when I wasn’t doing something more typically studenty and unrepeatable) drawing or otherwise creatively engaged.
Looking back on it, I mostly drew for the sake of it, with the misplaced sense that I was somehow getting further towards my creative goal just by the amount of sheets of paper I was covering, (look, look how hard I am working!) when I probably would have been better served to actually think a bit more and do a bit less. Pure self indulgence. It was easier for me than a lot of the other work I should have been getting on with. I just liked doing it. I didn’t really appreciate at the time what a massive luxury this was, but whilst I could definitely have worked harder, I know that what I did do was draw and draw prolifically – a loftful of sketchbooks being testament to that fact.
The night with the bandaged hand
When I emerged into the real world, life happened and just like that I didn’t really draw anymore. Returning to this almost forgotten part of myself has been incredibly rewarding. Now I have the children, the idea of having a couple of hours each week set aside to pursue something entirely selfish is indescribably wonderful.
I realise this all sounds quite intense, possibly quite pretentious. But I hope I have managed to communicate here just how I feel about my life drawing. I love doing it (have I mentioned that? 😀 ), but I also like to share it with others. I do this through a variety of social media channels, including more recently Instagram. What am I trying to say when I post a photo one of my drawings? I guess I am trying to share my passion for the act of creating this artwork with other people in the hope that they might find it interesting. I want to start a sort of dialogue with others. Maybe there’s an element of wanting to have my talent recognised? What I’m definitely not saying is ‘check out this girl’s amazing ass’.
So, when I found that I couldn’t log in to my Instagram account tonight it took me a good half an hour of reading the terms and conditions of use and some serious head scratching to work out why my account has been disabled. It is so far from my understanding of the world that anyone would consider my pictures ‘indecent’ that it really did not occur to me that sharing my work in this way would be anything other than acceptable.
I am truly sorry if I have caused any offence (and if you can’t find anything more distasteful on the internet then you are just not trying hard enough), but I have to say that anyone who finds an image of a nude drawing to be indecent is completely missing the point.
Thank you for reading and I welcome your comments.