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I’ve had these scans of Jon’s life drawings  for a little while so apologies for not posting them earlier.  I’ve been away in France running a painting holiday which was a lot of fun but still involved long hours sat at my computer screen putting together various handouts for the group.  So even though running classes has taken a back seat for the Summer I still feel as if I’ve been working quite hard and  getting through industrial sized quantities of Optrex.

 To be truthful I was a bit taken aback when I saw these life drawings as Jon, like a lot of people who come to the class works in an A4 sketchbook(I would be more the sort of type who turns up with a roll of paper under his arm and a carrier bag full of paint pots.) which is great if you’re coming straight from work but does mean that it’s less likely that people will see what it is you’re doing.  Perhaps that’s also an advantage. Anyway I was taken aback because I think Jon draws really well but you wouldn’t really know it from the mild-mannered unassuming prescence that he cuts in the class. He seems to be becoming much more confident about his work which I think is a good thing. Time to try some painting I think.

This is what he has to say:

“Through Uni i found life drawing a very frustrating experience with critical
tutors always telling me to stop trying to stylise my marks and draw what i
see.  Their presence hovering over my shoulder and the air of competition
between me and the other students always made stepping in to the room feel
very daunting.
A year or so after I left, I realised that I had completely missed the point
of life drawing – improving. I was always struggling in college to create a
fantastic piece of illutration which would stand out above everyone elses,
without ever really focusing on the process of observing and translating.
Since coming to the sessions at Bristol Grammar which provide a very open
field for doing your own thing, I have come to really love drawing.  Even
when I have a “bad one” I feel i have learned something, and my skills have
improved dramatically.”

Which is a good point.  If you are too anxious or worried about producing a masterpiece or not making a mess then you won’t be relaxed enough to acheive anything.  One of the reasons why I’ve avoided those “end of class group crits where everyone else gathers around to look at what everyone else has done” is that when you’ve just finished and you’re still trying to work out what you feel about your own work they can be a bit much. Obviously if you get stuck, then ask for help but I don’t think it’s always very useful to have help inflicted on you. I’m always prepared to offer advice but as far as I’m concerned, if you feel that you’ve had a good evening then that’s good enough for me. In my opinion it’s just as good to take a break, relax and look at your drawings the next day. Ask one or two friends what they think, it’s sometimes just as good.