Tuesday's watercolour class saw us doing quick sketches of each other. While one class member sat on a chair on a plinth, the rest of us were given a strict time limit, varying from six to ten minutes, to draw and paint the model. It was the kind of exercise where I just had to jump in, there was no time to think or obsess about exactly where to put the first mark. With our teacher urging us on, it felt like we had only moments to draw before being told we should be painting by now. It called for confident and daring decisions, the ultimate in trusting that "it's only a piece of paper". My heart rate was high and my thinking quick; having arrived at class tired after a long day, I found myself excited and energized. I did the first couple in water-soluble pencil and I was moderately pleased with them. For the next two I used my fibre-tip pen. This is a high risk strategy: the pen is thick and dark and there is no way of hiding a badly placed stroke. As my tutor said, it is a fierce pen. But I love it. I love its definition and clarity, I love the boldness of its line. For the next one I tried charcoal which I found unpleasant to use, and for the last we were challenged to only use paint, no outline, no sketch. This makes it hard to create shape and light. Mine wasn't very successful but those who were demonstrated how beautiful this could be.
It was my two pen portraits which I was most proud of: There is much about them that could be improved, not least the proportions, but I love the overall effect. In my search for style, I think I could be one step closer. And my teacher even used the word "brilliant." I find it hard to hold on to compliments, but this one I heard and let myself enjoy.