29 April 2014

New term, new courses

This term's City Lit courses were booked last summer, when April seemed forever away - the classes are "large sketchbook" and "american tap beginners". Both constituted personal challenges, to work large and to dance at all ... so it's surprising to find that "large" no longer has quite the terror it did (the portraiture course, with its larger-than-life drawings of heads, helped with that!). Which is not to say that the sketchbook course won't have its challenges along the way...

Sketchbooks were supplied and I wasn't the only one to find the size - A4 - disappointing, but it turned out that they were the wrong size, thanks to a mix-up. We had no choice but to do what we could with what we had  until an emergency airlift of larger books appeared, just before tea break, at which point we were able to razor the used pages out of the little book and paste them into the larger one. All is well, and everyone has an extra sketchbook.

The session started with charcoal drawing of an object placed in the middle of the table, and other objects were gradually added - to the table and to our drawings -

After the charcoal, layers of ink wash - at first very dilute to cover everything but the lightest areas, then gradually darker -
The books were left to dry during the tea break, leaving less than an hour (of a 3-hour class) for the cutting, gluing, drawing, ink-washing, and rejigging that was to come.

First the drawings were glued into the larger sketchbooks, leaving a few pages blank at the start -
Then we chose a section to cut out and glue to the page below. The original drawing looks the same, apart from a slight "edge" round the cutout section, but the effect when you turn the page can be surprising -
I also cut out from the other page, having drawn in the rest of the red teapot ... which led to a desire to fill in the other side of the drawing, which showed through the hole in the paper -
first spread in the big sketchbook
The original drawing, enlarged -
second spread in the big sketchbook
 The original cut-out, with the still-life redrawn from a slightly different perspective -
third spread in the big sketchbook
I really liked just following instructions, not knowing what is to come. Maybe the drawing wasn't as free as I would have liked ... something to keep in mind next time. Because you're working to instructions, you have other things to focus on than the usual things that niggle (and stop) you - and having to work fast to get to a satisfactory stopping point (or to get "as much done" as you want) before the end of class is also good for not fussing and for generating surprises.

After a break, much trepidation on going to the tap class. It turned out to be a workout for legs, and for my ailing, failing, flailing movement memory. And both my left feet thought it was quite fun.

Jolly hard work it was, though - without being able to write anything down, I have little idea of what happened - as soon as another new thing was presented, the previous one went out the window! It seems impossible that by the end of the course we'll be doing a routine something like this -
City Lit American tap, one of several videos of former classes
New vocabulary - time-step, ball change, shuffle, a few more step names I can't exactly remember... Fortunately there are lots of basic tap steps videos out there (of varying quality of course) for quiet, self-paced revision - and note-making.

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