The Drawing & Painting Group Meetup was a very good experience with the best possible outcome: I regained some self-confidence. Sure, my proportions are a disaster and I suck at foreshortening and I didn't even begin to get the shadows right. But I felt like I could draw a line and begin to capture a curve, a pose, a gesture. It felt good, and it was very calming. Very Zen. Instead of focusing on breath, we had a circle of folks focusing on light and shadow playing on human skin. It was very positive energy in a together-but-separate way.
Maybe I'm thinking of positive energy because the model was one of those crystal-gazing, life-force-gathering people who talk in terms of being a spiritual compass for their questing friends. She seemed to be a harmless nitwit. My only real complaint about her is that she wandered around the room during breaks, admiring and critiquing various works, but never commented on mine at all. I am trying to convince myself this is because I was new and she didn't know me, not because my drawings were terrible.(Seriously, they weren't any more terrible than those of the man next to me or the charcoal guy.)
People were friendly but not fawning, which was nice. I had seen the RSVP list the day before, and it was all men. Men in general are kinder than women, so I lost a little of my fear of being judged. It turned out there was one woman there, my age or a little older, and she was the most outgoing and friendly of the bunch. But the guys helped me stash my bike* and gave me the few tips I needed - where to find the light switch for the rest room, who was collecting the $10 donation - and everyone was sort of passively welcoming and encouraging. Couldn't suit me better.
I understand Henryk usually leads the group, but he was at a Plein Aire session elsewhere so I didn't get to meet Henryk. When the model arrived, Alan - a slim, bearded gent of about 50 - kicked things off by announcing, briefly, "We'll start with eight twos and then four fives." As it turned out, this meant "eight two-minute poses" followed by "four five-minute poses." These didn't turn into anything I wanted to share. Surreptitious glances around me showed people using the short poses for quick studies: Marina was doing portraits, Joe was doing arm+hand sketches. Aha! They were kind of like warmups.
The drawings I'm showing here came from the 10- and 20-minute poses later in the evening. I stayed in my same seat throughout the three-hour session, but other people moved around to get a vantage point they liked, which seems reasonable but never occured to me.
BONUS: Alan was painting with oils. I love the aroma of oil paints and linseed oil.
This is a very active group, with 2-3 meetups every week. There's a Fantasy Art meetup next week, which is not my thing but it's nice to know they cater to specialties. And there's a wait list for another live-model event at a different location; from the way it's promoted, I guess the model is a particular favorite. I will probably go to more of these events (but not regularly, because it cut into my piano practice time).
*Rather than leaving my bike on the back of my car in a sketchy** neighborhood
** See what I did there?