Friday, January 31, 2020

Views about the Nude and Life Drawing Live - on BBC next week

Two upcoming programmes about drawing and painting naked flesh next week - in a very artistic way! 
  • a comment about life drawing programmes on television
  • some of the places where you can attend life drawing classes in London - and my recommendation as to what sort of place to go to.

Mary Beard's Shock of the Nude

Mary Beard’s Shock of the Nude is made by Lion Television, the company who made the Arts and Crafts House and fronted by Professor Mary Beard. Or to give her full credentials an outing by the English scholar and classicist Dame Winifred Mary Beard, DBE, FSA, FBA who is.....
  • Professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge, 
  • a fellow of Newnham College, and 
  • Royal Academy of Arts Professor of Ancient Literature. 
and who The New Yorker characterises as "learned but accessible". 

The programme is on BBC2 starting next Monday and has two episodes
With distinctive wit and flair, Mary Beard takes a personal view of the nude in Western art and its troubling power to provoke ideas about gender, sex and moral transgression.
Mary Beard looks at how artists have rejected 'the body beautiful’, challenging viewers to question what it is to be human.
It's got quite a lot of the broadsheets quite excited - primarily it would seem because Professor Beard is going to get her kit off and be drawn from life!
I can't help but think she meant "cannibalised"!!

Life Drawing Live! 

The human form is one of the most challenging subjects, with life drawing at the heart of art history
This year Life Drawing Live! is on BBC Four, Tuesday 4 February. It starts at 8pm and runs until  10pm - so two hours of life drawing. Almost like a real life drawing class. With no intervals?
To coincide with the broadcast of Mary Beard’s Shock Of The Nude on BBC Two, Life Drawing Live! will bring a group of artists together for a 120-minute art class with live models, guided by experts, whilst the audience watches in real-time as they create their work.

The format for the programme is as follows:
  • it follows a life class of six amateur artists, including some famous faces, who aim to capture a series of poses.
  • several life models will move between poses throughout the class
  • the class will consist of: 
    • a number of warm-up routines (what are almost universally known as "quickies") and 
    • opportunities to practice technique
    • a longer pose
    • i.e. very like a life class in reality
  • Daphne Todd OBE and Lachlan Goudie are on hand to guide the participants throughout the class, provide direction to those taking part at home and to deliver tips and advice. 
  • The artists in the room will have their work evaluated 

The purpose of the programme is to encourage the audience at home to
  • draw along and experience a real-life drawing lesson alongside the artists in the room.
  • embrace various styles and materials for their artwork.
  • send in their work during the show.
So basically, it's VERY like the Channel 4 format last year - but a lot longer.

“I’m delighted to be part of Life Drawing Live as it will give me an opportunity to impart skills which are not always taught in art schools any longer. Drawing gives great joy and anybody can do it. Each person’s view is different and they create something which is important to them.”Daphne Todd OBE
“The act of drawing the naked human form is as old as art itself. Every great painter from Michelangelo to Lucien Freud has tested themselves against this challenge, struggling to master how to depict the most familiar and extraordinary of all subjects - your own body. Without being able to interpret and understand the shapes and proportions of the human form, you can never really paint the world around you successfully. Life drawing is, in my opinion, the most important principle in the history of art and in the training of any visual artist, so it’s wonderful to have the opportunity to highlight this on Life Drawing Live.”Lachlan Goudie, says: 
The programme was jointly commissioned by BBC4 and BBC Arts and is made by Avanti production for BBC Four.

A history of live drawing live on television

Life Drawing at the Royal Academy

Not so much "on tv" as "on my screen".

Last year the RA hosted a live life drawing session in February 2019 - and we all joined in! (see Challenge #2: Life Drawing Live - from the Royal Academy). I drew using my iPad - but realised I should have practiced in advance!

Life Class on Channel 4 in 2009

The live streaming of a life class happened once before on Channel 4 when we had a whole series of Live Life Classes in 2009 and LOTS of people joined in.

Below is what happened.....

My life drawing from the truly AWFUL Gary Hume class on Wednesday.
This is how I summarised it at the time
On Monday I started following Life Class on Channel 4 - and a number of other people. These are the daily posts I did last week. The series was generally 'voted' a success by all those who participated in it.
  • Thursday - Back on track with the Life Class - if you're going to choose one to view I highly recommend this episode by the only artist - Judy Purbeck - who was a very experienced tutor in life drawing (in Hornsey Library)
Plus you can see the drawings done by other people and posted in the Flickr Group Pooland read various comments
  • The BBC couldn't resist finding an untypical life model for an item about what life is like as a life model in Stock Still and stark naked
Section 1.18 of Ofcom's Broadcasting Code says: "Nudity before the watershed must be justified by the context."
You can also see some of the drawings that were produced in Life Class: Today's Nude on Flickr.

At the end of the week I wrote another blog post about Another way of drawing people - which is another way you can limber up for live streaming at the end of the month! Believe me drawing people live who have clothes on and don't realise they are your life model makes life drawing in a class easy peasy!

Other forms of Life Drawing

Life Drawing Classes in London

There are lots of places where you can do life drawing - but I recommend you go somewhere where it's an educational organisation or art museum and where the tutor is qualified and skilled.

I've done life drawing classes at various places in London
  • the Open Life Drawing Class at Central St Martins (when they had a building near Holborn) - which was always packed out but had good models. I've got a stack of A4 and A3 wirebound sketchbooks filled to the brim with life drawings. 
The Open Life Drawing Class has been designed for the use of students at all levels from beginners to advanced, and addresses all the fundamental issues involved in drawing the figure:- 1) methods of making visual judgements, 2) ways of creating the illusion of three-dimensional form on a flat surface and 3) the development of design awareness. Materials are kept to a minimum, pencils, charcoal and erasers being the only requirements for most of the course with the use of colour being optional in the latter stages.

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