After a morning of life drawing, the roll of sketches I've made at the Friday class with London Drawing stays on the dining room table all weekend. I might take another look when I spray them with fixative, but then they've gone into the Drawer of Doom in my studio for too many months.
Ah, a repeat of the pile of unedited, unloved drawings under the bed, familiar to all who have taken a drawing class. Ghosts of art school drawing crits too, in my case. Best not to look through the pile and feel disheartened, but equally, best not to throw it out just yet, even if it doesn't exactly spark joy.
I'm done with not valuing my work these days though. I recently took an afternoon to go through drawings from the last two years and have a think about my progress, and to just enjoy that I've been making all this work.
When I started life drawing again a few years ago, I didn't keep my drawings at all. Instead, I wanted to think of the session as a meditation, and I'd chuck the results in the bin. Problem of a pesky pile of life drawings solved, for one thing.
It was also freeing to think of the sketches as nothing more than a ephemeral record of a moment of seeing and mark making. Nothing to lose, and no pressure to improve, judge or be good at it. It was also a way to say f*ckit to the inner critic who subtly taunts along the lines of 'Where are the masterpieces eh?', a quiet but powerful whisper that could result in my mysteriously losing all interest in life drawing.
I'm very grateful that I kept coming back. The sessions became a habit and I'm now loving having a regular life drawing practice, which, it turns out, has nothing at all to do with making Good Drawings. In time, I also found that I wanted to document and keep my work. I started to like what I was making and even occasionally, to love it.
I'm learning to accept my drawings, even the not so sparkling ones. I'm learning to value the effort of drawing for its own sake: I've turned up, I'm doing my best and that is good enough. It's been a way to become comfortable with making mistakes, a way to try new things and a way to learn to be patient with the days when I'm not really that focused. Learning to be satisfied regardless of the results.
And later on, when I take my drawings out and spread them all out in the lounge like this, I feel both satisfied at my progress, and madly frustrated that I have so much to learn and so many more rubbish drawings to get out of the way. All the more reason to get my bones to a class and start making some marks then.
Here are some more drawings.