I’ve been looking through some drawings done as demonstrations for drawing exercises in my Life Drawing classes. The new term of Life Drawing courses at Margate Adult Education Centre starts this week.
This drawing is from a drawing exercise about relooking and moving on to the next moment. In this exercise the model holds a pose for a short amount of time and then moves to a second position and then back to the first and then back again to the second, three times over. In this drawing the model probably held the poses for about 15 seconds each time but the students usually get a minute and then 30 seconds each time. What the drawer is drawing is different each time and even if it were humanly possible for the model to reoccupy the exact-same pose the drawer will have changed their mind about what they find interesting, what they see and what they think. We look and make a decision and then we must move on to the next moment and let the drawing be what it is. The ‘finished’ drawing will be the traces of the accumulated decisions and there are always choices to be made (are we thinking about the edges, proximity, tone, angles, the course of a line, the character of the line, the weight of the mark, the sharpness, the touch… etc?). The line is a good line if it is an honest line responding to the changes of mind. In drawing a line we change our minds.
This exercise makes us more aware of the way that drawing ‘The Figure’ is never about drawing something complete and settled. All is in time and our line traces those moments and says “for this moment this was the case and this is as close as I could get to it”. Drawing like this acknowledges the fact that there are always multiple version of the same thing and our drawn lines don’t need to agree on the matter in order to be correct.
I teach Life Drawing at Margate Adult Education Centre, The Sidney Cooper Gallery (Canterbury Christ Church University) and occasionally at other places too. We presently need a few more people to enrol on the Thursday morning Life Drawing for it to be allowed to run and so book a place asap please if you’re interested.
Here is a link to the courses I teach at the Kent Adult Education: https://www.kentadulteducation.co.uk/brands/mnid_123/Mr-Roy-James-Eastland.aspx
This drawing is an A4 pencil drawing (Moleskine sketch book and HB pencil if you like to know about that sort of stuff). It was drawn during one of Life Drawing classes that I teach. Here is a blog post from my ‘a-n’ blog (‘I Draw’; https://www.a-n.co.uk/blogs/i-draw).
It’s one of any number of sketchbook drawings that were never drawn to be finished Works of Art “…They are drawings done for drawing’s sake (drawing as a way of thinking about drawing). They are drawings of people who were still (or fairly still) for maybe ten or twenty minutes. They are drawings of people but drawings of people are never just hand-made pictures of people. Drawings trace moments in time.
Hand-drawn lines take time and the moment of their making is subtly replayed each time someone spends time to notice them. There are heavy lines, sharp lines, long lines, feathery lines… the variety is endless and each of them implies the presence of a thought. We change our minds as we draw and our lines capture those moments of change. We look and we notice something and we try to track the gist of it on the paper. The time taken to draw even the shortest line is there to see in its entirety all at once (like seeing a tiny life-span played out on the page).
We pay attention to the simple presence of things whenever we draw. The drawing is always wrong. We look again and we make another line. Each time it is wrong in a different way but sometimes the mark is good in spite of its wrongness. Sometimes the line feels true or it does something interesting (something we couldn’t have predicted but which is more interesting than anything we could have predicted). It’s enough that just a small part of a drawing is interesting for it to feel good. As we make our mark we are bringing into play all our momentary perceptions, all our skill and memories of all the other drawings we have ever seen.
Eventually the time is up and the pose ends and all that remains of the moment, and of the protagonists, is the drawing. One day the drawing will be the only thing left of that moment. Perhaps we make ghosts when we draw.
I don’t get to draw people as much as I’d like to. These drawings were done quickly in Life Drawing groups of at odd moments while teaching Life Drawing (in Margate and Canterbury). I have about a hundred and sixty filled-up sketchbooks to date (filled up with drawings like these ones) and the drawings will remain in those books and one day, if they survive longer than I do, they will be in the hands of someone else. I wonder what will become of them.”
Here are some pictures of Margate Adult Education Centre. The Margate Adult Education Centre is right in the town centre, on the corner of Hawley Square (a pretty Georgian-period Square with some lovely old trees on the green).
I teach Life Drawing here on Wednesday mornings and Thursday evenings. I also teach a few all-day sessions here and people come from as far away as London and Essex to come to them. I love it, and I love teaching in this building. It was built in 1929 and was opened, as ‘The Thanet School of Art’, in 1931. It became an Adult Education Centre (known then as ‘Hilderstone’) in the 1970s and has been used for Kent Adult Education classes ever since.
Life Drawing has been practiced in this very same ‘Life Room’ for more than 80 years!
Hardly anyone knows about the place.
I’ve posted some more pictures of the place on my facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Roy-Eastland/1495390357351370?ref=hl
Anyone interested in coming along should contact the centre (03000414018) or go to the Thanet section of the Kent Adult Education website (www.kentadulteducation.co.uk) and type my name into the search box.
I don’t get to draw people nearly as often as I would like to. Other people are the most interesting things in the world to draw. If I could spend all of my time drawing people it would be a life well spent. As it is, I get to draw at a few Life Drawing sessions and at odd moments during my teaching practice. It is never enough. These drawings are from sketchbooks and are 10-25 minute drawings.
I teach some Life Drawing and Portrait Drawing at the Margate Adult Education Centre, on Hawley Square, on Wednesdays, Thursdays and the occasional Saturday. If you scroll down the home page you’ll find pictures of the venue. If you’re interested you can book a place on these courses at any Kent Adult Education Centre or via the website (https://www.kentadulteducation.co.uk/brands/mnid_123/Mr-Roy-James-Eastland.aspx) or over the phone (00030414018). Note: please don’t be put off by terms such as ‘beginners’, ‘improvers’ and so on – these are just the standard Kent Adult Education course titles. The classes are always made up of people with a wide range of previous levels of experience and ambitions (ranging between ‘beginners’ to practicing artists with degrees and MAs).