This week I started a new life drawing class in a great place around the corner from me, the BBI (Brunswick Business Incubator). The instructor Sabine is appropriately loopy, and two hours just melted past in a whiz of charcoal, butchers paper and red wine.
I’ve got to say she makes a big change from my last instructor Anselm. He liked to ponder the nude for at least 40 minutes with furrowed brow and beret askew, seize a calligraphy brush just before the timer went off, streak a big line down the page with a flourish, then lie on the floor gasping with creative release. No instruction, just ‘essence’.
Tuesday night I was greeted by a tiny, tanned woman with an outrrrrrageous Austrian accent straight out of Top Secret/Flying High/the Carry On franchise. She had a spangled green bolero with a giant butterfly on the chest. Swishy, frilly skirt cut dramatically high, with one poised lean leg poking out at the side. Straight yellow blonde hair and enthusiastic hand gestures like flags snapping in the breeze.
“I hope vee are all alco’olics here!” she cried, as she poured for me the biggest glass of red wine I’ve seen outside of our Year 11 Communication Project party. One chap had to decline due to health reasons, and got a stern stare.
After a long preamble about not taking bad drawings to heart, we got the talk on ‘the wibe’.
“If I see you are deeep deeep in the wibe, I will not interrrrrupt!” declared Sabine, with a toss of hair and kick of wiry leg. “Sometimes when you have the wibe, you will not want me poking around. So I will not give my adwwice! Not me!”
After a day of quietly stressing out about not properly picking up a pencil for 4 years, I have to say I was not too bad! In fact one of the best in the class. All those agonising years of animation must have paid off somehow – and I had forgotten that I taught this stuff for 2 years!! Sabine has pronounced me ‘quite adwwanced’, and invited me to be in an end of year exhibition!
Sometimes, she would snatch the charcoal from our hands, and eagerly scribble over a drawing. Other times, she would creep up and whisper: “would you like just a leetle splash more red wiiine?” All the drawings up on the walls had a signature, time spent, AND how many wines had been consumed.
I also got the strongest feeling that she just joyfully made it up as she went along. We got a long invective on “the neeeples”, and how not to draw them.
“See these ‘ere?” she stabbed at a hapless student’s labour. “Vee do not want zem to look like bullseyes!” She drew two targets on the page, then firmly crossed them out. “I do not want two neeples like eyes staring at me. They are scary. ‘Orrible!”
A full five minutes later, our neeple woes were sorted. I look forward to learning how to draw other parts of the body, with an Austrian accent, very soon!