Christmas Life Drawing

I love a bit of life drawing, no , scrap that, life drawing is my first love. It was in the life drawing studio of my old college in Cape Town where I first discovered the phenomenon of the ‘zone’ : that extraordinary space where time and space stand still and you are one with art. Art is you and you are art. It’s that thing when you start to draw then lose all concept of trying to draw and just sort of wake up … and there it is. I remember drawing this piece, for example:IMAG5092_1well, I should say I remember starting this drawing and then 7 or so minutes later I finished it , but it seemed like no time at all and I was shaking; trembling with adrenaline and  excitement and oh it felt good! This is my high, I don’t need drink or drugs or any toxic substance. Just give me a naked body , a sheet of paper, drawing equipment and a time limit and I’m there! So yeah, I love drawing. I need life though, I need to feed off the energy of the model ( hopefully not in a parasitic way) to be able to respond with mark making. I just can’t get the same vibe from still life. It’s just all too…well , still. I also need the dynamism of the vertical. Give me foreshortening, give me a challenge , make me struggle and I’m as happy as Larry ( whoever he was).

So , recently I went to a lovely intimate life drawing session held by the Exotique Drawing Salon.

I’d been drawn ( no pun intended) to this event because my wonderful friend and inspirational artist , Amy Kingsmill  was going to be modelling in a very special festive theme of the Madonna. Amy is a very extraordinary performance artist , exploring fetish themes in her work. I came across this video of one of her performances at the Spill Festival of Performance and it moved me deeply.

For the life drawing session , Amy wore one a costume of her own creation, an interpretation of the pregnant Madonna. It was rather thrilling to draw.

AmyHere are my efforts:

It was quite a struggle for me to draw so small as I prefer to use my arm and wrist rather than fingers to make marks but the space demanded I compromised, so I tried to work within my limitations.

After a little break, we had a long pose, which was a reclining pose, so I headed for the foot end for dramatic foreshortening as I cannot draw on a horizontal plane, I just lose my way. This was the result after 45 minutes. It was fun to splash in a bit of bright colour to liven the pen drawing up.

AMy long pose

I’m not much of a fan of Christmas ( it’s just a big consumerist panic  buy for a day of boredom and gluttony) yes, I know , call me the Grinch… but I am a big fan of Christmas life drawing; especially having the opportunity to draw an artist  of the calibre of Amy.



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