The nude is ubiquitous in Western Art. Frequently a ‘she’, she is found in paintings, sketches, sculptures, photography and mixed media work from the Renaissance to present day. The Artist has tended to be a man – and the main focus – but I think it’s always interesting to ask the question, ‘who was that sitter? Why were they chosen? And how did they feel?’ You might be surprised how it makes you think about and engage with the artwork.
I love teaching, but I love learning too.
I ask my students to step outside of their comfort zone on a weekly basis. I want them to stretch their artistic muscles and try new things. They might not like them, but they may just love them! Either way it helps to develop confidence with materials and techniques.
I felt that I needed to put myself in the same situation so I had empathy with their progress and think about what it’s like to try new things, be frustrated, be challenged and grow as an artist.
I’ve started to attend ‘Life Drawing’ sessions at Quay Arts. It’s been a long while since I’ve done life drawing, 20 years in fact, since I was at college. So knowing no-one, and armed with tiny paper and a stick of charcoal off I went.
I visit the ‘drop-in’ sessions on a Monday afternoon. The sessions are run by Nick Martin. He is everything I hoped for in a tutor. Engaging, enthusiastic, challenging and constructively critical. The models are fantastic too, holding a mixture of long and short poses. By week two Nick has already pushed me to draw volume rather than line, create reductive charcoal drawings and think about Eastern and Western principles in art.
I’ve also met some like-minded people who I didn’t know before. And my paper, along with my confidence has got a lot lot bigger.
Life-drawing may not be your thing, but learning a new skill is a brilliant way to challenge yourself, meet new people and enjoy the fruits of your labour. Why not try something different for Autumn?