I am lucky to have found a monthly life drawing class with an incredibly insightful and inspirational teacher.  I find that her advice really opens up connections in my mind and my perceptions shift quite radically about my own practice after a session with her.  The last session had a big impact on me, not so much because of the work I produced, but because of the ideas she shared with me.

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I feel I am now relatively competent at capturing the human form – but it struck me during this class that I have no personal voice when I approach my figure work. Yes, it all looks relatively similar but there is no choice in how I work, it is the habitual methods of working that I employ and I really need to be conscious about this and try to move forwards and in new directions.

I am more adept at capturing energy and tonal values using charcoal but I need to learn how to translate what I have learnt using it into my work with paint.

I decided to paint rather randomly for the first half hour piece below and it shows.  I need to leave behind my fears of producing something that looks terrible and embrace the possibilities that trying new methods offers.  It is probably my concern about showing myself up in front of others but I need to get over this if I am going to really move forward with my painting practice.

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This image is clumsy but I was focussed more about my mark making and colour combinations which I am pleased with.  I also like the introduction of drawing methods into the image where I have painted in the hand and again this is something I need to experiment with further.

My second hour long painting was rather more of a return to habit.  Again I have worked on my choice of colours but my methods of working are more familiar and not experimental enough.  I talked with my life drawing tutor about finding my personal voice and about the kind of layers and density that contemporary painting contains and this was the turning point for me – a moment that has then shifted my practice forward.  My blog https://paintingangel.wordpress.com/2016/10/17/abstract-expressionism-competition-oct-2016/ talks further of the impact of these conversations but it again highlights the all important need for me to be exposed to actual teaching – as the spontaneous exposure to new ideas can open up new paths and ideas that I may have missed otherwise.

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