Life drawing

When this is published I’ll be in London attending a life drawing course. I’ve written before about the tuition in drawing I’ve received, and about the courses offered by Rachel Clark. This will be the first of her courses I’ve attended since around 2008, so it’s been a long break. It’s not so much that the courses themselves are expensive, but once you’ve added in the cost of travelling there, and staying in London, it all becomes rather costly. However, I decided that it was high time that I did another of Rachel’s courses and I’ve been very much looking forward to it. I booked and paid for it several months ago and I’ve been worried that the experience would be spoiled by my on-going problem of jaw pain. However, although that hasn’t gone, it has diminished and on quite a lot of days the pain is at a relatively low level. So I think I should be able to enjoy the experience fully.

The course runs over Saturday and Sunday, then on Monday morning I’m going to the John Singer Sargent exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery – I wrote about this a few posts ago. I’ll report back via a blog post sometime during next week.

More on learning to draw

Last month I wrote about learning to draw using Betty Edwards’ book on the subject. This post is about what I’ve done since I worked my way through that book.

It’s a bit lonely working away on your own, and my next move was to try to find a class. Blackburn College, not far from here, had at the time a good range of part-time courses (these days there’s not so much available). I started on a life-drawing course; three hours every Thursday evening of drawing and sometimes painting from a real live model. It was fabulous. I did the same course two or three times, interspersed with something called ‘Open College of the North West’ which is a kind of A Level equivalent, but for adults, and then moved on to City & Guilds Level 2 painting. The formal titles of the courses didn’t matter too much to me; I went for the experience and the outstanding tuition. Blackburn College is an old-fashioned place, and I mean this in a very good way, in that it never abandoned life drawing, even when almost every other college ditched it. So they have a long tradition of teaching drawing. The tutors are excellent: take a bow, Mark Edmundson and Richard Cross. I learned lots from them both. The painting below is one of Richard’s.Richard Cross - Two Mirrors

My other main experience of going on courses has been taking life-drawing classes in London with Rachel Clark. She is another brilliant teacher: critical, encouraging, rigorous and dedicated. She has been running courses for many long years, and I went to several. I’ve not been for a while, although Rachel assiduously keeps me up to date with the details. The courses are relatively expensive (although definitely worth it) but the problem if you live outside London is that you have to add in the cost of staying in London for up to four days, plus the cost of travel, in my case from the North-West of England to London. (Note to readers outside the UK who haven’t visited: the inter-city train fares here are larcenous). So it all adds up.

The other thing I’ve done that everyone should do, if they want to draw and improve their drawing, is to, well, just draw. But I know that I haven’t done enough of it. Life and, especially, work just keep getting in the way. A daily commitment to drawing would be the way forward, if I could just bump it up my list of priorities. Ah, well, tomorrow is another day.