Oh Brighton, you spoil us.
Last night at Sussex County Arts Club, the team from Artists, models, ink staged ‘Midnight Drawing’, an experimental late-night (10pm-1am) life-drawing event that involved six models – Kate, Emma, Frankie, Johanna, Anna & Lucy – arranged in a single tableau for the full three hours, with occasional break-outs by individual models for sequences of short poses. These short sequences were accompanied by music, while the only sound during the periods between was an ominous ticking clock motif. Very atmospheric if initially slightly unsettling.
At the end of the evening it was fascinating to look at what everyone had produced and the wide range of styles and interpretations thrown up by this unusual artistic challenge. Everything from oil paintings to iPad sketches – great variety. If the overwhelmingly positive response was any guide, we can maybe look forward to more events like this in future.
I decided to go large and draw at an easel for a change. It’s probably the first time I’ve worked at A1 size since art college and still it was almost not big enough. I started by making some very rough guidelines that were intended to map out the overall composition but once I started working into it the whole arrangement mysteriously shifted over to the left, leaving no room for the reclining form of Emma, who now appears slightly detached and to the right of the main group. Apart from this aberration and the short-pose, somewhat distorted standing figure of Johanna on the left, the arrangement is reasonably accurate. Mark Harrison, who was working in oils to my immediate left, commented that the scene resembled ‘Electric Ladyland‘, a cultural reference that definitely dates us. If I’d thought of it first it would definitely have been the title of this blog post!
A further layer of novelty was added to the occasion by the presence of my daughter Chloë who is now home for the summer from Uni where, as a sideline to her English studies, she’s been developing an occasional life-drawing habit of her own. She produced a really nice acrylic painting and seemed to enjoy the evening as much as everyone else.