Three hours

Just three minutes for this one

We are sometimes lucky enough to get beginners in the studio. If it happens to be a three hour session with a single pose, one of the things they learn is that three hours can seem quite a long time. We forget, those of us who have been doing it a while, that three hours of  intense looking can be completely exhausting. Just like going to the gym (I’m told) there’s no pain, no gain. If we feel knackered after a life drawing session that is a good thing: it tells us that we have been building new connections in our neural systems and makes a substantive argument for a restorative glass of Kits Coty Chardonnay

That said, if we are starting out, we may wish to get into the swing of things by attending a few life drawing sessions which don’t seem to go on for eons and where the model changes their pose before we run out of things to draw. For us that would be our short pose sessions on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, where we focus on dashing the figure down more than on protracted rendering. What we find is that when things go wrong they tend to go wrong at the beginning so having many poses means we get lots of opportunities to catch ourselves and learn to set up the figure well enough to complete it without distress.

Drawing can seem a tricky skill to master, not made any easier by being told glibly by your tutor that really, you are learning to ‘see’.
(“Harrumph”, you may say to yourself, “I can see fine thank you very much, I’m just not very good at drawing noses, show me how to draw noses!”)
But it isn’t tricky at all, it just takes time and sustained effort and the humility to let go of everything we ever thought was good about our drawing. On the plus side, with time, effort and humility there are no special skills required, draughtsmanship is an equal opportunities employer, we all get to do it well.

As we get better our ability to maintain our concentration grows, our perception sharpens, we become more grounded, more certain about who we are and where we are going. We may even have the stamina to stare at a naked person for three hours and still keep seeing more.