Today’s life drawing session was tranquil and peaceful with the electric fans wafting a more comfortable and cooler temperature than of late. The conditions were favourable, the chance to stretch the mind and imagination made easier without the stress of oppressive heat upon my flagging stamina .Added to this we had Fiona our familiar and inspiring model who is relaxed and professional.
What more could I have asked for in order to produce that painting which is just at the furthest reach of my mind’s eye. I intended to connect to that meditative space and hope that like Alice I would just fall down the rabbit hole where things got curiouser and curiouser.
My choice of palette had been determined by chancing upon a piece of card with abstract marks of mauves and blues which I cannot remember even applying. I opted to cut the card into a long narrow format which I could interact with and which connected to my current abstract works. These preparatory ideas and elements did contribute towards the finished work and give it some merit yet there is another essential intangible factor which continued to elude me. I just could not happen upon the rabbit hole.
As the painting progressed I was sorely tempted to drag random paint over it and start again picking up remnants of the original underpainting. However before me was the image of something almost ’right’ and I lacked the courage of my convictions.
Did others silently experience the same inward struggles? Well the gallery shows some really well studied drawings from Anne’s practised use of charcoal with both bold and delicate mark making to Louise’s renaissance style reminiscent of Botticelli’s Venus.
Paula and Sue were very busy doing studies including a non dominant hand one from Paula which was really successful and a lovely soft watercolour from Sue.
David’s inimitable charcoal sketch is not here as he had to rush off to nurse his poorly cat. Chris’s work is also not shown but I know he did some concentrated work on sketches of feet making a nice composition in his sketchbook and composition is the key to Barry’s work, I like the way the blocks divide the picture and draw attention to various sections separately.
Teresa continues to beguile us with her enigmatic works beautifully and delicately drawn with whatever comes to hand, such a natural image maker.
Sue, Roger and Tony all chose to paint, Roger in carefully drawn pencil and delicate washes of watercolour, Sue and Tony in oils, as usual both successful paintings. Sue managed some lovely skin tones contrasted against a patriotic red, white and blue and Tony completed a small, pale and delicately detailed portrait against white
In spite of my mild dissatisfaction with my painting I still felt that the whole day of life drawing itself was indeed worthwhile, I am never let down by the experience – I think that goes for everyone there. We are all on the same journey, collecting and discovering, borrowing and learning, learning to cope with the highs and the lows. As usual there was that special space of the Red Brick Mill, the congregational deep concentration which is almost palpable, some serious drawing studies and evidence of clear advancement and progression in the work. At breaks there is the easy company of like minded souls who understand each other and the concepts we are dealing with and this allows us to enter in to that special world which exists only there, then return home to friends and family as if we have just been shopping.
by Sandra Cowper
Paintings and drawings by Anne, Barry, Gerry, Louise, Paula, Roger, Sandra, Sue D-Y, Sue I, Teresa and Tony.