I approached the classroom last night feeling wholly prepared, if a little nervous, for whatever might lie ahead.
The first thing I noticed as I breezed into the room was a large woman sitting on a platform up at the looking entirely un-student like in the shameless way she had her dress hiked up around her thighs. Next I noticed that most of the people already there were past students of the class and were busy setting up easels with big pads of newsprint and charcoal. It slowly registered that I was completely unprepared for the class and I began to panic. Besides myself there were only two other ladies who were new to the class and they, like me, had come equipped with a sketchbook and pencils. Well, at least I wasn’t the only one who thought we’d be talking about perspective or some other boring topic and drawing still lifes on the first night. One very generous man clearly still had a fresh memory of himself in the same situation as he had bought a pad of newsprint and willow specifically to split it up amongst us new kids.
I was pretty irritated with the teacher for not calling or emailing us with the specialized list of materials then seeming totally gobsmacked that we showed up without them but before I had the time to completely freak out and leave, that woman had her dress off and I was furiously trying to get down a likeness before the two minute pose was over and she changed position. A nude model for the first class. You have got to be fucking kidding me.
At the break I ran to the art store to get the right supplies. I walked slowly through the hallways of the school on the way back in order to look at all the new pieces created by the day students since my acrylics class last spring. There I bumped into my instructor who asked me if the class was what I expected. I assured him I was having a good time despite my initial shock over the model and showing up with the wrong stuff. He wanted to know how much drawing I had done before because my little sketches were "pretty good" for the first class. I decided he was probably too sweet to be mad at anymore.
The weird thing about the model was I immediately recognized her once she took her clothes off. I’ve seen countless paintings of her around the school ever since I started taking classes there. We talked briefly her before getting back to work.
"She’s so fun to draw," he exclaimed. "Because of the shapes! Much easier than … other shapes."