I know what you’re thinking! Today was the last day of Julia’s Drawing Class and there are no more in the brochure so we won’t have any more drawings from the class until autumn. Well, you’re wrong! Julia has arranged another 5-week class starting the week after next. And I’m on the course, which is more than Lynne Truss managed.
In yesterday’s Sunday Telegraph, Lynne Truss (famous for her book Eats, Shoots and Leaves) dedicated her weekly column to her attempts to enrol online for a drawing course. She had done four terms of drawing before missing out.
The first part was a poorly veiled plug for her latest novel, but then she continued:
“Back with the drawing class, I really miss it, but it’s not a vocation, or anything. It’s just nice to whisper hello to the right side of one’s brain occasionally – especially when it has so patiently sloshed about in the dark all one’s life, while the left side got all the action. It’s also wonderful to sit and focus on something (an object, a picture) so intently that you forget about everything else.
“Interestingly, all the men in my life have been artists of some sort; or at least, they all refused to apologise for consistently looking right past me when I was talking to them, which I’m assuming is the same thing. My first boyfriend was actually a) obsessed with positioning objects such as salt cellars into pleasing alignments, and b) didn’t see the point of looking up and saying “Hello” when I came home, on the interesting grounds that we both knew he must have heard me come in. Since OCD and Asperger’s weren’t known about in those days, I was obliged to put this behaviour down to his artistic leanings – and who knows, perhaps I was correct. The thing is, artists do get into the habit of seeing the world as just shapes, lines and tone, don’t they? This is why – as human beings – you generally don’t hear a single good word said about them.
“Will I get back to that drawing class? As a cliffhanger for this column, I accept it’s not a great one, especially as I will shortly be able to answer yes or no. (It’s no!) But you need to understand the sheer outrage and disbelief I felt when I didn’t get on it last time. It was just before Christmas, and I was happily fingering a piece of fine charcoal and arranging a crackled autumn leaf to create good shadows when the teacher said, “I hope everyone got on the course for January?” And I said, “Ooh, I’d better book that.” And when I was told the course was already full, I completely refused to accept it. How was it possible? Look, I was drawing a leaf, for heaven’s sake! Who were these other people – these worms – to deny me my rightful place? Well. How much more proof was needed that I was now an artist to my very roots?”
But as I said, I’ll be on Julia’s next course which will involve some plein air sketching round Doffcocker Lodge, which is next to where we meet.
Today we were looking at figures in seascapes. I had some photographs I had taken last Easter in Yalta when the Crimea was still part of Ukraine. I’d used them last year when painting with rollers. I’d originally intended combining several but then decided to base my drawing on just one.
I feintly sketched out general areas of colour, scraped the side of my pastels and rubbed them in to give a base colour. One of the problems was the white of the breaking waves and the clouds.
I then built up the seascape knowing that the figure would be a dark silhouette against the sea.
Finally I added the figure of the young woman. I was a bit rushed so I may add a bit more detail later.