Friday, 26 July 2013

Life Drawing Workshop@Coliseum by English National Ballet

English National Ballet was offering a unique life drawing workshop, where we were allowed to sit in the auditorium and draw dancers while they are warming up and taking class on stage.  Being a fan of both drawing and ballet, it was an opportunity not to be missed.

Costume for Petrushka, ENB
Costume for Petrushka, ENB  
First we were led up to the balcony level refreshment area where some pretty costumes and point shoes were displayed.  The workshop manager had explained various techniques and strategies to draw constantly moving figures.  Dancers were not going to stop and pose for us, so it's up to us how to capture them while they are working. 

White and Gold Tutu
After the induction, we were led down to the auditorium and split into two groups.  One group was led to the circle seats to have front view of the dancers on stage, other half was lead to box seats to have side view of the stage, and about half way we swapped over the seats.

Life Drawing Workshop@ENB

Oh, my my, it was a privilege to watch dancers at the bar AND draw them!!   Witnessing dancers at a class is like peeking into the sketchbook studies of accomplished painters.  I could just sit and watch them forever.  Before the class starts, dancers were limbering up, chatting and stretching, so the pace of motion was somewhat slower and I could draw "human-like" figures - just!

Life Drawing Workshop@ENB

Life Drawing Workshop@ENB

... But when the class started, the pace picked up and these are all I could manage.  I tried not to look a my hands, but just concentrate on looking at the dancers.   I enjoyed looking at other peoples' works afterwards, there were so much to learn from them.  When the subject is moving all the time, goodness you come up with all sorts of really interesting marks.  Some people's works were more abstract and full of energy and fluidity.

Coatume for Petrushka, ENB

Here's a quick watercolour sketch of one of the costumes I painted afterwards (water-based medium were not permitted on the site).  If there's going to be another workshop like this, I am certain I'll join again!

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