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For the last few months, I have been going to look at someone naked every Thursday night. I sit in a room with about fifteen other people and stare at one naked person for about two hours. With a coffee break in the middle. One week it might be a tall, angular man that we look at, the next it might be a curvaceous ‘womanly’ woman. And I have to say that this activity has been a thoroughly delightful experience.
One that takes place in a Church Hall…
It is not what some of you might be thinking. I have been attending a Life Drawing class. Now I am not someone who would consider themselves an ‘artist’ in any shape or form. Most of the other members of the class are what I would describe as real artists; they can translate the human form so beautifully with one or two strokes of a humble stick of charcoal. Their work often puts me to shame. Yes, I would describe myself as a creative person, I have written songs and played music since I was about fifteen and in the last year or so I have discovered the hidden writer within me, which has been a joy.
So why, one might ask, do I attempt to create ‘art’ in another way? I have thought about this a lot over the last few months, and often failed to encapsulate the feeling. It has a number of levels to it but I think sometimes it is simply about ‘contentment’.
For those who have never been to a life drawing class it is amazing how there is very little embarrassment or awkwardness there is, both from the pupils and the models. Within ten seconds of the model de-robing and posing you forget that they are naked and are lost in studying their amazing form and shape. Attempting to recreate the curves and lines and angles of each part of the body. There is nothing remotely sexual about it, but it is a sensual experience. Realising what your eye really actually ‘sees’ can be a revelation. All are beautiful, no matter their size and shape.
In those short two hours I can lose myself, I am at one, in the moment. And most of all I feel content. All the worries and imagined problems of an ordinary life are lost. This is one of the reasons I create. I have the same feeling when I am writing, lost in the imaginary worlds I am weaving.
By the way, I have surprised myself there too – I am well into the second chapter of my second novel as I await replies from agents for the first one.
Some might think that ‘losing yourself’ in this way is some form of unreal escape from reality, and maybe it is. But I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing, we all need to escape from time to time. The bonus with this type of escape is that occasionally you have an end product, a picture or a song or a piece or writing that you can feel proud of. A sense of achievement can be found. One that isn’t measured through money, or possessions or jobs, one that you did for yourself.
Maybe that’s why I go and stare at a naked person every Thursday…
What do you think?
This is my art class: Norwich Life Drawing – see if you can spot me, lost in concentration. If you live nearby why not give it a try, or maybe consider a class like it wherever you are in the world…
© 2012 Simon Poore