slemslempike: (nemi: argh)
[personal profile] slemslempike
I had a DELIGHTFUL night last night with [ profile] tiniago. We met up years ago when I used to come down to London regularly to museums and theatre, and since I moved back have been playing an excellent game of "leave several weeks between responses so that the plans originally mooted are out of date", which I think we shall call a draw as we were both very committed to it before cracking and making yer actual arrangement.

We went to a life drawing class at a gallery in Haggerston. It was run by "The Naked Truth" who, it turned out, are doing it as a feministish body positive workshop thing. I just thought it would be fun to draw. The session was going to be lots of short poses, then a brief break, then a long pose of about an hour, then a discussion about how we felt about it all. Now, I am ALL FOR long talks about feelings, but earlier in the day [ profile] tiniago had mentioned that we could eat steak. That, coupled with my inability to draw more than a sketch, meant that we made a pact very early on to leave at the break in search of food.

The atmosphere was nicely thrownback feminism - women sitting on the floor around wooden boxes (to rest our paper on), joss sticks scenting the room with a vaguely 70s feel. I think there were about 25-30 women drawing, and maybe 60% of those were white, but almost all under thirty, I'd guess. Everyone got paper, and there was a choice of pencils and crayons. The table next to us had tiger colouring pencils, and we had these really nice crayony things that almost certainly have a proper name if you're an artist.

The organiser made quite a big deal about it being real women who they used, not professional models - and then the model (who was clearly nervous and I don't want to undermine that it was a big thing for her to do, and she did it really well) was beautiful by almost any standard commonly used today. So no fat, no rolls on the stomach even when she sat down, no gawky bits, no "too" skinny bones. It's tricky because I know that almost everyone has issues about their body, and just being typically attractive doesn't end that - but it felt like a rather limited message if it's about being body positive. Since we missed out the talking session at the end maybe that was covered, but as [ profile] tiniago said afterwards, we might just be at a different stage in our own relationships with our bodies.

drawing 6drawing 5drawing 3drawing 2drawing 4drawing 1

The pencil ones are the poses we started out with, very quick. I tended to start with the body (well, with boobs or bum to be honest) and then run out of room for the head, but since I can't draw faces this was no real hardship). Towards the end of this the person sitting next to me showed me how to do shading with smudging your finger and that was revolutionary for someone who can't draw an accurate outline (shades of Jennings putting two lines on a picture that changed it out of all recognition at Kingscote). THEN I got brave enough to use the crayons and I am so so pleased with the last one I did. Colouring covers a multitude of sins. The "queen of the galaxy" one in the middle was me trying to get a bit creative and coourful and just draw shapes. That did not work well but it was at least fun. I did find that I drew the model's breasts larger than they were. I also worried about her looking at the pictures and being self-conscious if I'd drawn them lopsided, or made her fatter than she was.

Perhaps the large amount of time I spend doodling has paid off, as my drawings were much better than I thought they would be. I would go to another class, but only if it were lots of little poses and nothing longer than 10 or 15 minutes at a time, as in the 45 minute session I just drew the same thing over and over, with decreasing returns.

After our escape at the break we boarded a bus to ToCoRo and went to Flatiron, where I had AMAZING steak. [ profile] tiniago urged me to get the chips, saying they were great, but I wasn't feeling that hungry. Then she offered me one of hers, and it was clear I had made a dreadful mistake, as they were DELICIOUS and I ate the vast majority of what was in her serving, which is terrible manners about sharing food (that wasn't even supposed to be shared) but there was no helping it. Here is a picture of my steak with the brilliant knife we got to use.


The man next to us had a large bone on his plate, so I don't know if there was a special offer for him, or if he had that particular cut, but the main menu is, in its entirety "steak, £10". Then there are sides you can add on, a single dessert, and what looked like some nice drinks. I plan to queue there to eat at every conceivable opportunity for the rest of my life.
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