Reflections on Life Drawing

Reflections on why I love Life Drawing so much!

On Sunday The Art Room in collaboration with Art Catalyst Australia held our first Becoming the Model Workshop. The workshop was designed to give new models the opportunity to learn all about being a model. From the physical considerations through to the practicalities and business aspects of being a model.

I wasn’t really prepared for what a special day it would be. There were 14 nervous participants who came together from different backgrounds and through a shared curiosity and interest in becoming a model. What struck me was how what they shared most though was their vulnerability, empathy and their humanity.

This workshop has really made me reflect on what it is about life drawing that I truly love. Of course there is the pure joy and love of the actual drawing process. I love the challenges, the frustration, the failures, and the opportunity to get totally covered in charcoal! I love being totally absorbed in seeing, in challenging myself to communicate and translate what I see onto the page. To challenge myself not to be driven by ego but by the desire to make honest, sincere, connected drawings rather than ‘good’ drawings.

But above all I feel that what I really love is the connection that happens between model and drawer and in turn then between fellow drawers within a group. I really feel this exchange exemplifies empathy, our shared humanity and shared experiences. For an artist I really feel these connections and sensitivities are fundamental.

When I went through Art School life drawing was compulsory not just for Fine Art students but for the Architecture students we shared our space with. I think sadly art students often now see life drawing as a bit of a dated endeavour only relevant to those wishing to work in more ‘traditional’ mediums. I really believe that it is more relevant than ever! Whether you are a painter or work in a more non-traditional medium such as video or performance it is an incredible vehicle to explore our connections as human beings and to challenge our perceptions and understanding. The more life drawing I participate in as both drawer, teacher and group facilitator the more I want to do. It is a very special thing.

Erika
(Director of The Art Room)