One of the things that I really enjoyed about St Ives last year was attending the evening life drawing class at the St Ives School of Painting. It is a really relaxed class with a mixture of artists, local people, holiday-makers, and those who have never attended a life drawing class before. A tutor is on hand to offer help and advice if required' although you can (as I selected) to simply get on with your own work uninterrupted.
At two hours for a £7 fee it is brilliant value and an opportunity to try out a different activity without a hefty financial commitment. I enjoyed it so much that I planned to go again as soon as I knew that I would be visiting St Ives again this year.
When I visited last year I completed a series of sketches that inspired me to attend a full-day life drawing workshop upon my return from holiday. Both of these marked my return to life drawing after an eight year hiatus. Sadly my plan to regularly attend life drawing workshops slipped through the net after both of these sessions as the daily grind of work took over.
At the life drawing session this year I took a different approach to that taken at the sessions I attended last year. Instead of using large sheets of paper to work on in charcoal, pastels and pencil, I opted to instead use my sketchbook and pencils only for the full session.
This decision was partly based on my realisation that I would struggle to accommodate and organise yet more sheets of paper in my portfolios. I also thought that it would be interesting to see how I would cope sketching the model within the constraints of an A4 sketchbook only.
The results of the session were:
Using the smaller format meant that I had to focus in on particular areas as, without really realising it before, I tend to sketch on quite a large scale. Some of the sketches were more successful than others. You most definitely go through stages of slipping in and out of concentration during a life drawing session. As the poses were all 5-15 minutes there was not time to over-think anything ; just observe and draw! As a result some sketches are more successful than others.
I think that these sketches have a different quality to those completed during the session at St Ives last year. I really must try and attend life drawing activities again regularly as they are great way of developing your observational skills.