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Trip to London

I got back last night from my course and today am catching up with myself and all my jobs, one of which is writing here.

So did I learn much on my course??? Does it count if the most I learnt was about myself?? That’s not entirely fair as I picked up quite a few tips and ideas, although most things I had previously read about or come across before. However it was really nice to have 3 days focussed on heads, faces and expressions and then have a go myself. One very useful lesson was that getting the right expression is not easy! Extreme emotions or very cartoonish emotions are easier but capturing any nuance takes a lot of practice and tiny minor adjustments, using mirrors and your own acting skills as invaluable resources.

Interesting how getting downcast when a drawing goes wrong is so universal and we were all reminded that it doesn’t mean “ I’ve failed” or “I’m no good”. You just start again and learn useful things from mistakes, try layering more stuff on top because it’s doesn’t matter.

I worked mainly in graphite, coloured pencils, markers and ink. It was really good to reconnect with those materials and try different things.

Here is a selection from the life drawing section of the course.

And what about those personal lessons:


I observed it was huge in the new situations of the hotel, getting there and during day one but it did wear off / lessen and I managed to actually enjoy day 2 and 3.

My huge fear of not being good enough became apparent as ridiculous after day one but still active each day even though it lessened and settled more.

Being a draughtsperson:

The most bizarre thing? I went down to London with “ I am not a good draughtsperson” inscribed on my heart. What was I thinking for fucks sake! 10 years away from the life room and it was like I was on TOP BLOODY FORM !!

I had it in my head that I couldn’t get a good likeness, well I completely could!

There are parallels here with the piano again. I always want to work intuitively, which in the case of the piano often ends in a car crash as I don’t have the building blocks of hours of practice with rhythms, coordination, finger flexibility, etc, etc. However when it comes to artwork, I’ve put the hours in, hours in life classes, looking, interpreting visual spaces, trying mediums etc. So when I want to work intuitively I can. I still can crash the car, but a lot less often and there are plenty of moments when it all comes together.

Neurodiversity traits:

I’ve talked before about neuro diverse traits and on this occasion I observed the way I behave in the life room, which I don’t see going on in other students and I remember it from life classes in the past. Waiting to get drawing I started to jiggle my leg with a build up in energy and then I could hardly work fast enough once started, working with huge bursts of energy, mark making very fast and big across the page. I pace around the room, making drawings from multiple angles, I need to get in close to the model, I can’t stay behind the table where I’ve been put. I stand, crouch or sit cross legged like a child. My hands become covered in ink or graphite, I do multiple drawings to others single work. I don’t like the long poses as I can’t keep the energy going for twenty minutes, I burn out. Most people work slowly and carefully sat at their table whilst I am exploding with restless energy until I’m exhausted and have to stop. I used to talk about it as “getting in the zone” and I knew that was where my work really takes off.

I know I must be annoying but I can’t help myself, it’s part of my artistic process. I felt especially bad about spilling the ink everywhere!

Reminiscent of ADHD traits anyone?

Take home message:

I suppose the overall message from the course was that I am doing all the right things for my work, I just need to ignore my negativity and keep going. It’s 100 % normal not to get expressions right first time, I just need to experiment, try again, just like the piano.

And a reminder not to despair when a drawing goes wrong, push it to the point of destruction and learn from the random stuff that can happen.

This last image played to my strengths, drawing with black marker without lifting it from the page, it's actually my comfort zone for drawing.

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