The Game Changer

Willow charcoal on paper

Willow charcoal on paper

I thought I would write this post, as today was my penultimate life drawing class of term and found myself getting a wee bit upset to think next week would be my last one – or until I sign up for the summer term!

Life drawing has been a game changer for me. It’s challenging, engaging, fun and has strengthened my drawing skills. Ultimately, it’s a place to experiment, develop observational skills, mark making and take encouragement from fellow students (maybe, dare I say strike up a little competitiveness in me). I have been attending this particular class on and off for two years. There are still some of the same folk that started with me, which has been really lovely to see them progress and individual styles emerge. I also love this class because of the brilliance of the tutor, who is immensely gifted and gentle in guiding each student throughout the class.

I did however start taking life drawing classes much earlier in life – during sixth form. I was lucky to have an evening course on my doorstep – so to speak – at school. Did I utilise it? Not much. Ahh. The ignorance of youth.  And at uni, there was zero… which was really very disappointing. By the end of my degree, I enrolled on a 10 week evening class to build a portfolio. Shamefully I left a large gap before returning to (my now current) life drawing. Now, I wish I could do a class everyday! My boyfriend’s late Granddad attended the Slade before the Second World War, where he did life drawing everyday for at least a year. Needless to say, his work was both prolific and outstanding. On that note… I think I better go and book myself onto the summer term before they sell out!!

Acrylic on paper

Acrylic on paper

Willow charcoal, pastel and white emulsion on paper

Willow charcoal, pastel and white emulsion on paper

Under the Influence.

courtsey of Tate

“Brown Eyes” 1891 by Sir George Clausen
http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/clausen-brown-eyes-n04484

I have been thinking for sometime that I would like to write a series of posts about what inspires me. As this is my first entry or chapter if you will, I decided to choose a painting which I first saw when I was 16 or 17 – it completely bowled me over and its effortless beauty has never left me.

I first saw “Brown Eyes” on the first sixth-form art trip to the big galleries in London. The tone of the trip was completely different to any other, it felt freer as we were all genuinely excited to be on the excursion. Plus our art teacher was amazing – thank you Mr Rich – should he ever stumble by! If truth be told, I don’t remember all of the trip – it was a decade ago! But I do remember being completely allured by the fresh inviting colours and the softness created by the subtle evocative brush strokes. I was like a moth to a expensive woolly jumper. I stood in front of the canvas for several minutes. I remember deliberating how he (Sir George Clausen) managed to create such wondrous orbs, how did he capture the soul? I don’t think you can really get how striking this image is online or print, you need to see it in the flesh. On a gallery visit in 2011, I was heartbroken to find the painting was in storage. Before writing this piece, I was curious to see if the painting was still tucked away, but by the powers of the web – and the Tate’s savy site, I was delighted to discover it is rightfully back in full view.

What is great art? I think its personal to each and everyone of us. But for me, and “Brown Eyes” is a perfect example, the piece should move you and ultimately leave an impression with you for life.

 

 
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