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Tightening the loose elastic

I always think of drawing skills as a piece of elastic. It always there, but unless you do some regularly, then the elastic gets a bit, well,  saggy. It’s still there, it won’t break, or disappear, but it’s not as taut as it should be. Some artists say you should do some drawing every day, I don’t need to do that, infact it would very quickly mentally tire me out to do that, but certainly two or three times a week helps. And going to art workshops most months helps even more.

About ten years ago I started going to weekly life drawing classes, and loved them, but quickly found the poses stilted and boring, so made my own arrangements because then I could set my own poses, and found them far more inspiring and erotic! But I haven’t done much in the last couple of years with all the changes in my private life, and moving house too last year took priority over my art, obviously.

But, this week I was given an opportunity to tighten the elastic a bit.

My friend K, who I have drawn in the past, but not recently, informed me the other week that he knew of a woman who would pose with him.  OK, I was intrigued, and was happy to give it a go, not knowing anything about her, since he was so vague and unforthcoming (and I know that’s not a word) with any information.

So, I hadn’t got a clue who was going to walk through my door with him.  My mind considered various options, as you do, including worse case scenarios! (as you do!).

But, she turned out to be far more than I was expecting.

She was an artist, for one thing. I hadn’t expected that. A good one, for another. And has had experience of doing life drawing, enough to have the usual amusing anecdotes that tend to be associated with life-drawing! (like I have!). She was of an age where she was confident within her own skin.  And she was very interesting to talk to. And easy company. And she liked the same sort of music I did. And we laughed easily. And the reason she wanted to be drawn? Because she wanted to be on the other side of the easel, to be the model, instead of the artist. It was part of her “bucket list”.

Ok, so she wanted to be drawn. I wanted to draw. And what did K get out of it? Well, he  got to spend the day with two women, one of whom was naked. So, not a bad day then! 🙂

The first pose was a warm up one, just standing together facing me, his arm around her. The second one similar, but facing each other.  Then the poses were seated, their arms and legs entwined, gentle poses showing affection between two people rather than full on eroticism. One pose, followed by a second.

And it was then that I started to get the feeling, and felt  it grow bit by bit, and I smiled as I recognised it. Ooohhh, yes….. here it is, its been buried for far too long. My hand reached out, my eyes darted towards her, back to the paper, and back to her, to him, to the paper again. The beat of the rock music feeding the energies, and adding to the moment.

Because I’d unearthed something deep inside, something that I hadn’t felt stirring for a long time. The feeling of being able to pick up a pencil, and look at the subject infront of me, and capture it on paper, not just the easy lines of the form, not just the negative shapes between and around the people, it was knowing which lines were the important ones, which ones the lesser ones, which ones needed to be accentuated, which could be hazy. But, what added to all of it, was knowing that I had missed the enjoyment of drawing a woman. The rounded forms, the soft hair, the turn of neat ankle, and elegant hand, and this woman had all of that, but more, she had the bright eyes, and intelligent face, an attractiveness I felt I wanted to capture on paper, that pushed me on to want to paint her portrait.

The time ended all too soon, I was in the flow of it by then. I didn’t want to stop. And I certainly didn’t want to stop drawing her, this full woman infront of me. As she said goodbye, she said she had enjoyed the experience, and was happy to do it again. I hope so. I really do…….. The elastic is getting taut again, and I don’t want to let it get saggy, not again. And I’ll keep it taut, by drawing people who inspire me. Oh, and she does!