Saturday, 29 September 2007

Tangent: Lesson #1

Arriving at an art course is daunting, as one is totally unaware of the levels of ability around you. It soon became so obvious which of us were 'first timers' as we stood around, looking 'spare' while the 'old timers' hugged and kissed each other jabbering ten to the dozen about their 'summers'.
The teacher, Keith, is a wiry, emaciated little man with an evident tremble in his hands, smelling stale and looking 15 years older than he is chronologically. Looks just like a weasel! He didn't inspire me with any confidence. He was brash and authoritative, ordering us to get our easels and put out pots, jars and bottles on the table, and to stop gawking! Ouch!
He then gave us grey graphite paper, charcoal and chalk; and demonstrated 'drawing' using his thumb stuck out in front of him, one eye closed, and hastily, shakily scribbled something on his own paper. The effect wasn't too bad I suppose, but by now I was beginning to feel decidedly uncomfortable and as anxious as hell !
I got started, and within 2o minutes had completed the first drawing (left hand one) before he'd even got round the class to criticise it. His eyes opened wide with (I'm not sure what) and he said 'Wow, you have a very bold style.....mmmmm...I quite like it'. I nearly fainted.
Having another 2 hours to go, he then suggested I took another piece of paper and tried to draw more slowly and get the shapes better rounded and more in perspective, which I then did, feeling a lot better and less tense. he also showed and explained to me what he had meant by the whole 'thumb in the air' thing.
At the end of the morning, when we all turned our easels inwards to reveal our work to each other, his comment was ' she started very quickly, then redrew some of it again, but in the end maybe the first one is slightly better, very bold, a lot of potential' jaw fell open....
There I stood surrounded by some amazing pieces, and although he criticised us all, there were some he was downright rude about, like 'it's obvious you can't draw'.....
Shit, was I glad he didn't say that to me!!!
The most important thing I got out of my first lesson was that it doesn't matter how talented the others are, as long as I am learning and enjoying myself, which I certainly did!