Monday, 20 February 2012


It was a hot and tense start to the weekend, with no rain and no relief in sight. I felt tired and hot and resentful and not inclined to be a loving wife or mother. The exorbitant electricity bill courtesy of an ailing refrigerator and the necessity of replacement just fouled my mood further.

It was lucky then, that in a burst of forethought and perseverance I had booked a babysitter for Sunday so that after a workout at the gym, Bingley could run off and not think about children for a while.

We went to yum cha and then to my beloved GoMA to see Matisse. I adored the exhibition. I loved standing with my nose almost against the glass as the worried stewards looked on so that I could see every last stroke of the pen or where the stump had been smudged into the vellum to create shadows and softness.

My very favourite bit of all though, was at the very end of the exhibition where a hall had been set up like Matisse's studio, and there were free drawing pencils, art boards and an encouragement to sit back and create. I have been drawing a lot lately, studying with pictures and sketching the finer details of the foramina of the sphenoid but sitting there with a large piece of thick card and a lovely soft pencil while I looked at art work in between all the others doing the same thing filled me with the sort of contented bliss that comes with doing what you love best.

I loved sneaking a peak at the works being created, from little tiny girls, balancing on a stool, to stooped and serious gentlemen studiously recreating still life. I loved the sound of pens rasping softly against paper and bodies bent over their works. The absorption of trying to recreate something on paper. And I loved being amongst that. Being completely absorbed and not noticing an older woman at my elbow watching my every pencil movement and encouraging me to continue. I loved the dark smudge of graphite over my palm where it brushed the page. And I loved best of all that from the rough sketches little bits of reality imprinted on the paper.

While Bingley sipped his coffee and ate shortbread overlooking the river I sparkled and sipped tea and smudged my face with my graphite-y hand and wished that I could sit curled with my neck aching balanced on the chair and practice and practice and practice until I was good at this. But even more than being good, I just wanted to keep doing it. My fingers literally tingled.

Not Matisse, but I can't resist marble

My fellow sketchers

20 minutes later

Studying the orbit - handwriting bonus for the graphologists

Almost finished the cerebellum

Finally coming to grips with the palatine bones

1 comment:

hissychick said...

Incredible sketches Jenn. Is there anything for which you don't show amazing talent?!

Glad you had some time in the zone.


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