Life drawing found me by accident in uni. It was a very selective class and by some supernatural grace, I won the lottery. I legit thought it was a class for drawing fruit baskets or something. Excited to receive some drawing tips, with my newly bought charcoal and pieces of gargantuan sketching papers, I stepped into class to find that I’d be sketching nudes every Friday afternoon for a semester.
Honestly, it took me a long while to travel from shock to enjoyment. As an idealist who feels everything in the air, the energy between a model posing, the twenty-or-so arty students, and one impossible-to-please professor in one cramped up room felt way too much for my soul who just started on this path.
I bawled my eyes out later that day for many tangled up reasons — inadequacy, confusion, feeling like I’ve been violated. I needed a perspective change. I sincerely prayed my heart would see these models through love, not awkwardness or wow-I-didn’t-know-you-could-shave-down-there.
The professor gave me half of a helpful hint and one absent-minded compliment the whole semester. I never wanted to share my drawings with anyone. My comparison game was (and still is) too strong. Somewhere in my memories, I was told my drawings weren’t any good.
A couple of weeks ago, I’ve renamed not-good-enough-s to excellence. Because excellence comes from love and honor, not shame and envy. When my standards scream, I just have to calm it with love.
“I love creativity. I love my quirks. I love those who I create for. I am loved.”
Art-ing is a process, a practice.
When I saw a post on an artist group on Facebook about a model hosting a life drawing session, something snapped. Drawing for a semester a few years ago probab(definite)ly got me hooked. With my recent catharsis, I felt more confident in my own bones: I’m learning where to care and when to not.
I contacted Deni without hesitation and found myself with a long-neglected sketchbook and a pencil in front of my laptop on a Sunday evening Zoom call.
Doodling in my comfy bedroom with a cup of chamomile tea felt free. No critics to glare over my shoulders; all the little thumbnails on screen were artists who were minding their own expressions. Quarantined apart, yet so close together. Sometimes I feel silly for feeling extremely grateful for this terrible and strange turn of our lives. But maybe this is when we flourish — the world coming together online to share passions big and small. Never have I thought I’d meet a life drawing model from Paris at Paris while I’m at Taipei.
Although a real live session doesn’t compare, I was mesmerized by the confidence Deni exuded through her poses. I’ve always felt awkward about my own body but something about her has rubbed off on me.
I’m stepping into a phase where I start to share a little more. It’s a little journey into ‘Who cares if someone hates it? because, I kinda love it.’
These few sessions have reminded me once again just to keep trying even if traumas try to hijack all my senses. To slowly recover and redefine love and fear.