So 3 hours each day for five days spent on one drawing! I quite frankly thought it would not be possible. At City & Guilds art school in London where I did my foundation year we were encouraged to be FREE AND FLUID & produce experimental & peculiar things...the weirder & wackier the better. I'm a bit of a perfectionist but managed to let me hair down & got really into large scale works with lots of colour, lots of ink, lots of paint...lots of fun. I've always loved drawing from life - bit of a bum & a tum is just what I like - so frequently pop to life drawing classes to keep myself happy. Oh, wonderful nudity.
When I told my London arty type chums about going to Charles Cecil they said it wouldn't be for me - but Bella, it's far too structured! Far too disciplined! You'll go crazy! But I am already crazy, so that was of no concern to me. I was very keen to learn the highly disciplined sight-size technique - the way the old masters would go about their work (Rubens, Velasquez, John Singer Sarget. All big fans) & so felt happy to restrain my freedom for a while to see how I'd cope.
I'd say I coped pretty well because by the end I was tearing out my hair - 5 days on one drawing?? It's not enough! I need more time! I could work on this piece for ever! And so my perfectionist habits have been reborn.
Below are some of my quick sketches at a life class in London - free & fluid with a bit of colour.
Mmm colour. How I love colour.
Here are a few snaps of my Charles Cecil work - as the days progressed. As you will see, it's a far less interesting drawing, but the point of it was not to create something aesthetically pleasing but to create something which communicates the proportions, contours, lines & form of the figure in front of me. To create a drawing as accurate as possible. Showing you these drawing is showing you a process of learning. Sort of like showing you the working of a difficult maths equation. Each careful, calculated step. At each step you realise something new. Something else becomes apparent. Something changes, adjusts. Does that make sense?
The drawing begun with a line down the centre of the paper. I'd then use a 'plum line' (piece of string with a weight) to plot points along the line & start finding the figure on my page.
I had to stand at least 6ft away from the paper, only coming up to it briefly to make a mark then retreating back to look & study the form in relation to my paper once more.
A reborn perfectionist in the studio but kept up with my own bits & bobs in a little diary I carried everywhere to make sure my freedom with all the nudity didn't get too restrained by proportions & too much sight-size business.
Let's keep that hair down for now.
I could never loose colour for good, but what was lacking in my studio work was certainly made up in my nails...