I did my first 'thing' this evening. You know, my first 'I don't know anyone, I need to join something thing'. I don't really like joining stuff, as a general rule. I find it worrying and tedious. But I really wanted to learn to draw properly and I thought I'd give it a bash.
I didn't even have to talk myself into going that much. I just decided I would. I mean, I'm so far out of my comfort zone these days that I've kind of forgotten what it was. So, walking into a class full of people I don't know should be a breeze. And it was, kind of.
Obviously I was slightly intimidated when I got there. Everyone did that thing they do in American Werewolf in London and turned around and stared at me. Actually, maybe they didn't. But it felt like that. And I didn't know how to work the easel. And I clocked pretty early on that everyone in there was a proper artist to some level. Even the kid who arrived late and had to phone his mum to tell her he was there OK said he was a beginner, but it turned out he had dropped out of A-level art. So, not a beginner in the true sense of the word. In the sense that they have no idea what they're doing.
The teacher guy is some kind of art gallery owner and artist himself, as far as I can tell. His gallery is called According to McGee and looks pretty cool http://www.accordingtomcgee.com/ He's very much my kind of person. He says 'fuck' and 'shit' so I think we'll get on. Although I found myself doing my reticent, stand offish thing that I do when I'm with a load of people I don't know.
I think I'm conscious of being new in town and not knowing anyone and I don't want that to come across, so I go a bit 'yeah, whatever'. I don't know why. It didn't suit me when I was 16 and it sure as hell doesn't suit me now I'm 36. (Fucking HELL, I am never going to get used to that. Technically, I'm not 36 for another five days but I'm trying to break myself in).
We started with graphite, which made me whimper a bit. If it isn't pencil shaped I get frightened. After he saw my first attempt Mr McGee politely suggested that maybe I should start with a pencil "just to get the outlines". Too right. I have no idea what I was drawing but it bore absolutely no resemblance to the naked German lady on the floor.
A couple of attempts later and I was let loose with the graphite and chalk to learn shading. I say learn. I think a monkey could have done a better job. But I really enjoyed it. Like, I REALLY enjoyed it. I was getting right into it and then it was time up.
And then, gulp, we had to turn our easels round and show the class. I mean, where's the need, really? Easily the most intimidating bit. And the drawing I'd thought was alright five minutes before was thrown into stark relief in among all the actual artist's drawings. It was shit. Especially as I'd unwittingly placed myself next to a guy who apparently already sells his for a living. But, what the fuck. I did it. I liked it. And I'm going to do it again.