As I said last time, I've not done any life drawing for years, but started with a new group last night.
It took a while to find the place. We had free use of the back room in an architect's offices, which were housed in a converted old cutlers workshop, down a dark, largely derelict street, hidden round the back of the city centre. I rang the bell and a friendly voice buzzed me in. Phew!
We were right at the top, up steep stone stairs, heavily sculpted by many feet over many years. When everyone had arrived, we were about ten. We were all crammed into a small room, already struggling to accommodate a large table, a three-seater sofa, about six chairs and a bookcase, but somehow everyone found a spot.
We did an hour of ten minute poses first. The model was very good and kept really still. It was great fun, though hard work, especially with short poses, as you can't waste a second.
I worked in an A3 sketchbook on my lap. I was worried I might be embarrassingly rusty, as the rest of the group have been going regularly, but I think all the travel sketchbook work has helped to keep my eye in, as it went ok.
I got a bit frustrated with myself now and then, especially with the legs of these sitting poses, but when I got home and looked at the drawings later, I was pleasantly surprised that they were much better than I'd thought at the time.
We had a tea break half way through and I got to chat to people, then it was back again for a single 1 hour pose. People got out pastels, watercolours, all sorts. I used slightly larger paper and experimented with some fat watercolour pencils I'd found at the back of a cupboard. I put a little pot of water on the floor, and every so often, dipped my finger in, to 'paint' with the colour on the paper.
I liked the technique: the imprecision of fingers stops things getting too prissy. I was struggling a bit though, as I sat cross-legged on the floor for the whole hour, holding a heavy drawing board in front of me.
Isn't it interesting, how the longer poses are often not as good, less fresh and spontaneous? Even the draughtsmanship here is less true - possibly because with short ones, like with my train portraits, there's no time to think about what goes where, so you just rely on instinct.