Some years ago, Emma Butler, one of the directors of the Machynlleth Comedy Festival, had a splendid idea and suggested I run a drawing workshop as part of the festival programme – which I’ve been doing so ever since.
Modelled by comedians, the event began as a life drawing class – with Tom Parry sitting – though since 2014 has focused on portraiture and involved an array of other wonderful sitters, including Mark Olver, Josie Long, Joe Lycett, Henry Widdecombe, Alexis Dubus (as Marcel Lucont), Bec Hill and Holly Burn. This year Ed Aczel and Beth Vyse sat, which, as ever, resulted in some beautiful work.
The workshop is for people of all levels of experience, including complete beginners – which always creates a lovely dynamic in the class – and the sitters, who’ve often never sat for a portrait before, always approach it with enthusiasm. It’s a highpoint of the festival for me, and represents a few hours of calm in the midst of an otherwise very lively weekend. It also invariably teaches me something new about charcoal drawing and portraiture, or reminds me of something I need to pay more attention to in my own work.
Big thanks to Emma and the wider festival team, the Tabernacle Gallery (whose beautiful studio we use), and to everyone else who’s been involved over the years.
For further information about the Machynlleth Comedy Festival, please see here.