Very much enjoyed teaching a series of life drawing classes with sixth formers from Stanwell and Llantwit Major schools. The course, part of Arts Active’s Criw Celf programme, ran over six evenings during October and November at Turner House, Penarth, and involved a dozen students with particular interests in drawing from the nude.
Most participants set out with little or no experience, though all approached the challenge with enthusiasm, exploring a number of principles and techniques I was able to pass on, critically assessing their work, and producing some great pictures. Students had a very open and mutually-supportive approach to learning, allowing for a lot of experimentation and willingness to try new things, which was ideal for a course of this kind.
On top of the satisfaction of seeing students grow in confidence and ability as their experience develops, one of the things I value most about teaching is that it can give me new insights into my own practice. Describing creative processes and discussing ideas which are usually internalised or unthinking, can help me view my own work from a fresh perspective – as can seeing others sometimes take very different approaches, or make decisions that I wouldn’t have considered myself. This can be very interesting, and often gives me a lot to think about when I get back in the studio.
Many thanks to all the models and students involved – a very thoughtful, lively bunch of people, who were great to work with – and good luck to all as they continue their studies.