I'm sorry to have finished my City Lit drawing course at the National Gallery, I learnt such a lot in 5 weeks. For this last session there was no tour beforehand and a different tutor with a more abstract approach which was refreshing. I got there early to have a look round to choose my
victim painting to draw from. I whittled down my short list - some were much smaller in real life, others had poor light or lacked a good position to draw from. It was very busy with events going on so that also had an impact as did rooms that were very busy ( I don't mind sketching in public but there are limits.....)
Continuing my cloth theme I chose ' Mary Magdalene' by Giovanni Girolamo Savoldo.
The time went so quickly tho' I did go for a coffee break and my ideas about working in a more abstract, simplified way went out of the window as I concentrated on analysing and trying to capture accurately the folds in the fabric. We met in Central Hall to look at each others work rather earlier than in previous weeks - at 8.30 instead of 8.45. This had pro's and con's. On the plus side it was great to have more time to appreciate the varied styles and to see the journey for all of us from our first works. In previous weeks we've been asked to comment only on our own work and experience with a summing up by the tutor ( competing with insistent remarks from the stewards that the gallery was now closed!) This week we were asked to comment on other peoples which we weren't used to - I found positive things to say but not everyone did - one person was unnecessarily harsh, she'd earlier made unwelcome suggestions about how I could 'improve' my drawing.
In general though it was a nice group of people. Being spread through the gallery, concentrating on our own drawings, there wasn't the same interaction as in other classes but I enjoyed chatting with Catherine who was like minded in needing a coffee before each session started and also in admiring the work of Gerhardt Richter.
So what were the 'learning outcomes ' for me?
- a new appreciation of 'traditional' figurative paintings
- increased skills in observation
- a better understanding of composition
- improvement in drawing techniques
- confidence to draw in museums and galleries
- finding time for art, the realisation that I could fit in classes after work, not just at weekends.
- that sustained drawing is sustaining!!
Most of all I've fallen back in love with pencil! For the last 30+ years my drawing has been rather cursory as I want to get to colour as quickly as possible. Now I want to explore drawing further for it's own sake. I'm investigating life classes for the New Year but in the mean time bought a wooden hand at the National Gallery Shop ( even if it does look like 'Thing' from the Addams Family). The hands were what I noticed most in many paintings and I have ideas to incorporate drawings with the prints I produced in the British Museum lino printing course into my Sketchbook 2013 Project.