Amazing artists, a naked woman (butt naked) and a rather red me!!! Challenge #no.37

I thought I had 2 hrs seems not lol - she doesn't look like that in real life!!

I thought I had 2 hrs seems not lol – she doesn’t look like that in real life!!

After not drawing anything other than an absent-minded doodles while bored hanging on for hours on the phone to electrical companies – we all know the feeling – since I left college (which I know I look young guys but was literally a lifetime ago), I finally faced my fears and did something I never dreamed I would be brave enough to do….I drew a stranger and let them see what I had drawn despite it looking hideously ugly!

Oh, and did I mention that this stranger was TOTALLY BUTT NAKED!!!

I mean the whole full frontal!! 

Ok I’m not exactly a “I can’t draw a stick man or a penguin in a snow storm” kind of girl, I got straight As in A level Art and Design and used to want to be a graphic designer or architect, before I totally fell in love with the news and vowed not to stop before I became a hardened newspaper reporter and drinking martinis in the middle of the working day in Fleet Street before filing copy half drunk for the next day’s national paper – but unfortunately the world of news has changed and hardcore drinking is no longer a requirement for reporting news! (I’m joking employers and future employers).

But, having not drawn anything serious that I would want to put on my wall or even stick to my parents’ fridge since I finished my A levels – where for most of the time I was drawing and scribbling for so many hours a day my hands would painfully freeze into the position of a pencil due to the early onset of arthritis more than 70 decades too early (another lovely gift from my lovely Crohns/Colitis), which left my Dad having to painfully prize my hands apart as I struggled to grip my knife and fork at dinner time or hold my mobile phone – I have to say I was honestly completely shitting myself at the prospect of drawing anything in public, let alone a naked person.

I used to love drawing so much. I could draw anything given time, creative vibe and an endless supply of snacks and black biros. What I could never do was draw on demand. A lot of the time people say “ooh you can draw…go on then…draw me a (insert object, person, animal here) DRAW IT NOW!” I always crumbled. If they asked for a dog it would look like a withered banana with ears; a car would become a slug and an average person.. eek don’t get me started – I suppose a cross between a bear and a Eskimo!! Random I know…

Also don’t forget I have never drawn a stranger. Scrap that I have never seen a stranger naked and felt the need to draw them. Yes I have admittedly (sorry mum) seen people naked, but I can’t say I have ever entered a room and watched anyone unwrap a white hotel robe and sit butt naked on a stool for hours while dozens of other people scrutinise every dimple, nook and cranny in order to portray their every fault on paper for ever.

That is until 2 nights ago!!!  And I will never look at art or drawing in the same way again!!

Picture this (if you want, I’m not forcing you to), I entered the life drawing class tucked away in an art shop in the historic Chester rows, literally scared to death – and I admit a little excited about the new challenge – clutching my massive new A3 sketchbook and bag stuffed with pencils, crayons, pens and pastels (I was well prepared and made sure I had several rubbers), with my art pants on and pink lippy for good luck with a sheepish look on my face – Yep you have the image. To the rest of the class, who were all experienced artists, I must have looked like a really fat chicken being forced to walk into a fox’s den with a shotgun pointed at the back of its plucky neck.

When I arrived I hastily plonked myself down on one of the many comfy seats and looked around. The other people in the room had easels and were poised ready and waiting for the peep-a-boo (I mean Art) show to begin. Then in the corner there was a woman stood in a fluffy white robe waiting for us all to be ready (meaning slow me who was rummaging around in a very noisy carrier bag for my brand new rubber) so she could unveil her naked body and allow us to stare intently at her breasts and other lady bits for the next two hours.

My first thoughts were THANK GOD IT’S A WOMAN!!! Not that a man would have been the end of the world, but I think I would have gone a horrible shade of beetroot red and giggled like a naughty schoolgirl at the sight of wrinkled dangly bits shoved right under my nose for a minute let alone 2 hours – and heaven help me if he had been a George Clooney or Brad Pitt look-a-like, i would probably have screamed hysterically and jumped out of the window.

My second was that everyone was so much better at art than me…I mean professional, Da Vinci better!! I was sat with my WH Smith pencils and free pension pen, and erm bottle of Ribena surrounded by bona-fide artists with real studios and commissioned art work  – I could pretty much feel their distaste burning into the back of my sketch book, the only thing I could have done worse was to pull out a fluffy pink pen Legally Blonde style.

When the lovely lady disrobed I must have blushed, but I didn’t giggle uncontrollably or race out of the room with my tail between my shaking legs. I did start scribbling madly and ended up having to rub and rub and rub with my rubber (see not an artist – the rest would call it a putty erasure) as the thin woman became a hunchback, obese madwoman and basically nothing resembling the thin, curly-haired muse posing in front of me.

She had my worst fear, apart from the nudity (which goes without saying) and potential testicles – layers of perfect ringlets. Which is not as difficult to draw as a tree but (any amature artist will know) extremely hard to make anything look like the real thing.

I quickly went into my own little artistic world, sketching painstakingly slowly in an attempt not to make any mistakes, until to my horror and surprise the woman leading the class yelled “Your halfway through” just like they do in Masterchef and I am always worried a panicked wannabe will chop off their finger rushing to slice carrots. I dunno why but I had decided in my tiny little mind that I would have 2 whole hours to draw the naked subject in one pose, enough time to draw every wrinkle, freckle and shadow on her body – a feat which would have made her more statue than human. When she yelled “halfway” it had only been 15 minutes, and I had just a few lines and the slight shape of a hairy head on my paper! Which left me with 15 mins to create a masterpiece. In which time the model got cramp and had to move and re-covered a weird tattoo that I was trying to draw, leaving me unable to remember what it looked like and creating a slug like birth mark on her shoulder.

Well it’s up to you to decide but I focused, as everyone must in these classes, on the face (yeh likely story) and boobs. And it was unfinished, which if I was a chef would have meant most of the most expensive ingredients would have been left out 😦 I wasn’t happy with it, but the tutor said it was ok! Don’t think she meant it 🙂

After a few minutes of making myself feel a lot like Winnie my Poo Bag (basically filled with poo) walking around the room and witnessing the future Michael Angelo at work ( I don’t know how they did it in just 30 minutes it was like Rolf Harris with “Can you tell what it is yet?”) we sat back down, turned to a fresh sheet and got back to work with the model taking on a different, even more challenging pose.

My 2nd attempt tried pastels - more ended up on me than the page - and my model transformed from anorexic to clinically obese

My 2nd attempt tried pastels – more ended up on me than the page – and my model transformed from anorexic to clinically obese

Well it was challenging for those who could see her front or even side. Where I was sat I just had a very naked bum stuck right in my face.  It was an interesting experience, uncomfortable, but I reminded myself this was ART so I shouldn’t be feeling weird that I was staring at her bum trying to figure out which shade of pastel would create the right level of depth to make it look realistic.

My venture into pastels had an undesired effect…I turned the once slim model into a terrifying giant rugby player of a woman. Within one page turn and a change of medium my muse turned from a perfect 10 with angelic curls into an obese crazed woman – in fact she gained around 500 lb in the space of half an hour with just the flip of a page.

And I probably failed to mention that the model, as well as all the other artists, got to see each of our pieces. Imagine my horror (and hers) when she looked at the portrait of her back/butt and was confronted with a massive hulk of a woman, reminiscent of the madwoman in the attic in Jayne Eyre. #ASHAMED FACE – Did I mention I was also covered in colourful dust head to toe, and tried to make a joke about being “green fingered” which fell as flat as a fart at a funeral!

So, with just half an hour of my class left I decided to give my final piece a really good go, and to do that I knew I would need to embrace the life drawing experience full on. So I positioned myself smack bang in front of the model. I got a real eye full…you could say the entire full frontal. (check out my drawing in pen).

The tutor said it was my best work and that I had much improved, and, I guess, I had, in a way!

What I had learnt was not to be embarrassed and that it is ok to stare unashamed at all the wrong places to create the right depth around a woman’s most shapely and intimate parts – but only in a life drawing class and only looking at the model please!!!

Anyway, after all that rambling, I have managed to complete my second challenge on my stoma list – #NO.37 Take a Life Drawing Class. It was terrifying, painstaking, embarrassing, hilarious and ultimately (and somewhat surprisingly) rewarding.

I did actually really enjoy myself in an unexpected way. I’m not saying I’m going rushing back every week or that I will be asking people to pose for me (which I promise I WILL NOT) – the people were nice, even if they were a lot more advanced than me, and it was genuinely fun and exciting.

She didn't have a stoma bag - almost drew one on - but here it is my last attempt, in this one (a study in pen) she lost her head (Ann Boleyn style)

She didn’t have a stoma bag – almost drew one on – but here it is my last attempt, in this one (a study in pen) she lost her head (Ann Boleyn style)

So I have posted my drawings here (they are unaltered and unfinished) for you all to see and scrutinise. Don’t worry if you are the model and stumble across this you won’t recognise yourself 🙂 – why not leave a comment…I think I will give this another go in a few weeks, after a bit of sketching practice of course…so any encouragement or discouragement is welcome 🙂

I will never be the next Tracy Emin or Damien Hurst (thank god no more animals in tanks) but I tried something new despite my fears and it was lesson learned…role on the next challenge!!!

2 thoughts on “Amazing artists, a naked woman (butt naked) and a rather red me!!! Challenge #no.37

  1. I actually really like the drawing of her from behind. While her measurements on paper may not measure up to her real life figure; it looks good. She’s like an earth goddess or something. Massive hips for birthing the world! 😀

    I don’t know – I just think its pretty good! Well done, lady!! 🙂


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