Drawing – Day 1

I suppose I hadn’t really spent that much time imagining what being in a drawing class would be like, but my experiences on Day 1 of my week’s programme were not at all what I expected; it was fun, engaging and very focussed, but not what I’d anticipated at all.

I revealed my complete ignorance at the very beginning by being incapable of setting up my own easel.  I’ve never had my hands on an easel before, but I now know how it works, but I hadn’t expected to be standing in front of one for the whole morning.  But there I was, staring at an artfully arranged still life of fruit, plate and spiky plant, drawing with my new 6B pencil, what would best be described as a first attempt.

But in Fabia’s class there is no such thing as a poor drawing.  Everyone had to turn their easels around to display their work to the rest of the class; no refusal was allowed.

‘Get over it,’ Fabia said before anyone could rebel, but she was remarkable in her cheerful insistence that even my cramped little scribble there were features worth praise.

‘What I like about your drawing is…..’ the start of a sentence I never thought I would hear.

It’s a very encouraging environment when only the positive things about a sketch are talked about.  It’s a useful lesson to think about in other areas of life, too.

We spent the morning drawing the still life, first with pencil in outline, then with charcoal, then with both.  My hands were quickly black, and so far as I’m aware, unless everyone was laughing at me behind my back, I managed not to get it all over my face too, although others were not so fortunate.

After lunch we were sent to draw outside.  Outside?  Where there are lots of people nosy enough to look over your shoulder at what you’re doing.  It’s hard to describe just how uncomfortable I felt.  I often write sitting in a public place and I wouldn’t like anyone to read my first rough draft.  And I’m far more confident in my writing than in my drawing.

I found a spot where I could sit on a wall in the churchyard of Southwark Cathedral and  look up at the tower as well as see the Shard over the top of the trees.

It was quite a challenge I’d set myself: sketch the church and do it without anyone else seeing, especially not the small Spanish children who used me as a useful thing to run around in their game of ‘It’.  Eventually, as you will have guessed, I had to give up hiding the page every time I sensed someone beside me.

After another round of encouragement from Fabia, and because it was raining, I picked a spot on the Thames side path sheltered by No1 London Bridge and had a go at the skyline opposite.  Something about my demeanour there seemed to indicate that I knew a great deal about the geography of London, and I provided directions to variously, The London Eye, Tate Modern, Tower Bridge and Westminster.

And then I was asked for my autograph.

I have no idea who they thought I was.

I gave it anyway.

Already looking forward to whatever tomorrow will bring.

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1 Comment

  1. margaret nickels

     /  July 19, 2011

    Someone else has written a blog about the ‘famous ‘ artist who just sits in a bus stop and gives directions. The start of a novel ?? You must have a doppleganger. It made me laugh outloud ….. that is very good !


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