Life drawing at 40 Winks

Last night I attended a life drawing evening at the beautiful 40 Winks with the fabulous ladies from Kink Ink. We were greeted at the door by Mr Carter in his top hat and, despite Rae‘s best efforts, were not put on the naughty list and so were allowed in. Just as well really, as I don’t think Beth and I would have been terribly impressed at missing out on the Hendrick’s cocktails! Once inside, we removed our shoes and padded around the place in slippers, marvelling at the beautiful decor and the pretty little touches, like door keys with gigantic tassels on them and necklaces hanging from the wall-lights in the bathroom. Once we had sipped some gin from pretty teacups and mingled a little, we were all given pencils and paper and told to head to one of three locations around the house to begin drawing. Beth, Rae and I started off in the music room.

I perched on a window seat and stared at the corseted and feather-draped Julie, perched on a stool looking elegant and regal. I stared at her and then stared at the blank page before me. How on earth did I do this years ago? After what felt like an age, I finally put my pencil on the paper and attempted to begin making marks. It was tricky, but something was emerging and it didn’t look a million miles away from what I could see. Not quite close enough for my liking though. Still, I think this was my first attempt at life drawing since 1997 so things were bound to get off to a slow start! After 25 minutes, we were moved into the garden where Maria was waiting with her roller skates and headphones. I stared in awe but, being one of the last outside, couldn’t find anywhere to sit so headed back indoors to perch on the stairs and gaze from afar. Drawing number two did not go terribly well, but Mr Carter kindly reminded me that getting a perfect likeness was not all that the evening was about.

For our final drawing of the evening, we headed upstairs again to find Cecilia draped across a sofa in the parlour wearing pretty little cat ears and holding a cane. I started to draw but, with no access to an eraser this time, I swiftly became frustrated with my inability to translate our wonderful cat woman’s curves onto the page and so decided to rethink my approach. For the remainder of the time I wrote the following over the top of my failed drawing:

I came along tonight hoping to get back into drawing in a fun way. I thought this would be a good way to get started again without feeling intimidated as it’s not a traditional setting. However, what I discovered was, not only do I need a lot more practice to get back the skills I once had and translate what I can see into something recognisable and pleasing on the page, but I also need to want to draw.

As I saw these women sitting, standing and laying for us, I realised I didn’t want to draw them… I wanted to photograph them… I wanted to write about them. I’ve moved on since university and my desire to express myself has now found new outlets. Instead of wishing I was good at something else, I should concentrate on the things that I am good at. Like writing. Well, maybe I’m not good at writing but I certainly enjoy it! I also love taking photographs. I’d like to organise a session like this where someone poses for a while so that I can capture all the little details. All the details I can see but can’t draw!

We can’t be good at everything and, when all else fails… there’s always gin :-)

Yesterday reminded me that the one thing I can’t live without is wonderful people, and that I should stop beating myself up over all the things I don’t have time to do. If my friends can do certain things better than me, I should leave them to it and stop being jealous of their talents. After all, I have talents of my own. They’re just not necessarily what I thought they were.