Life Drawing at Shoe Tree Cafe

As much as I hate drawing, I always jump at the chance to do a life-drawing class. Life-drawing is different to any other type of drawing because it is liberating, as after approximately ten seconds you realise that it won’t be perfect, which necessitates the glorious (and on my part well practised) mentality of fuck-it.  […]

Helena Buchanan
14th March 2019

As much as I hate drawing, I always jump at the chance to do a life-drawing class. Life-drawing is different to any other type of drawing because it is liberating, as after approximately ten seconds you realise that it won’t be perfect, which necessitates the glorious (and on my part well practised) mentality of fuck-it.  I admit this attitude is not universally shared—I made the mistake of looking at what the guy sitting next to me was doing which was a gorgeously and neatly rendered figure which looked, dare I say, like an actual human rather than the highly-coloured blobs that I was producing. But, again, I say fuck it. We, like the bodies before us, are all different.

[A] friend asked whether I’ve seen more naked folk in art classes or bedrooms and I said art classes

Shoe Tree Café provided a great setting for the class, with friendly staff, good music and comfy chairs, it was a relaxed place to draw and I would go back for the coffee. Having gone in a bit of a rush I was depending entirely on their materials, and fortunately they had an array of chalks, charcoal and wax, and all were well provided for. The model was also great. I, and a few of my friends, have frequently considered doing a bit of modelling as though the entire purpose is to experience the fear and liberation of stripping in front of a few strangers. This attitude is a bit short sighted though, as it suggests that getting naked is all that is required and, I mean, you can do that at home. Modelling requires more than that. It demands a surprising amount of physical strength, and creativity in the way that you use your body. I would also argue that it requires you to have been to a life-drawing class before, which teaches you how to flex and contort your body in a way which is interesting and challenging.

it was a relaxed place to draw and I would go back for the coffee

Before I went along to the class, a friend asked ‘penis or titties’ I said I didn’t care, and she thought that was weird. Basically, it doesn’t matter, nor does it particularly matter what the model looks like as bodies are infinitely interesting. I think if there was a super-fit model that would be weird and possibly distracting. Another friend asked whether I’ve seen more naked folk in art classes or bedrooms and I said art classes, which I can happily admit is weird, but for the moment at least I prefer it this way.

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