Banking on life drawing

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Left Bank Gallery is a well-established family businesses that specalises in fine art printing and picture-framing, and has done since 1990. Tucked behind the Brickworks Centre in Southport, it’s recently become an even more significant art hub, opening a beautiful contemporary gallery space in their warehouse which includes a fine art printing studio, a large picture-framing factory and space for workshops where people can learn art, photography and design.

“It’s definitely a go-to place for artists,” said Rebecca Cunningham, who’s recently expanded her life drawing sessions to the gallery.  Rebecca has been running fortnightly sessions at Dust Temple in Currumbin for a few years and people have literally been travelling the length of the coast to attend.

“For almost the last three years I have had people coming from as far as Helensvale to Currumbin just to attend our sessions,” Rebecca said.

The Southport sessions replicate Rebecca’s highly popular Dust Temple life drawing sessions. There is live music, a nude model, nibbles and BYO refreshments.

“People who come for the first time are generally pleasantly surprised such an event exists on the Gold Coast,” Rebecca said. “They get to draw a beautiful muse, listen to live music and they leave feeling very content. Some of my regulars claim it to be their therapy.”

“Being an artist is quite a reclusive career so to be surrounded by other artists for just a few hours a month can be quite recharging and inspiring. I really encourage anyone and everyone who wants to, to come along and give it a go whether they have a lifetime of experience or none.”

For those new to life drawing, Rebecca explained the usual run of events. The first hour of the session is spent working on shorter poses. “What I consider sketches for drawers,” she said.

They are really essential to help you become present in your drawing and to ‘get your eye in’ which is like readjusting your camera lens to focus on the model.”

In that first hour there are one minute poses before working up to ten minute poses. After the first hour there’s a short break with nibbles and drinks and for the final hour a series of longer poses from 20 – 40 minutes.

“This is when you get the chance to make the night’s masterpiece, if you wish,” she said.

The process of finding models, it seems isn’t a challenge on the Gold Coast.

“Generally models contact me,” Rebecca said, and when pressed for tips for potential models, she had plenty.

If someone has never modelled before and they are wanting to give it a go I suggest they attend a session first. That way they can see what is involved, take notice of poses they like and why and also to see if they will be comfortable in the environment. It’s important to rotate and make sure that everyone around the circle gets different angles of the body. Its also important to make sure you can hold the pose, don’t over extend yourself or sit on a foot for 20 minutes, it can become very uncomfortable very quickly.”

“The most important thing is to express yourself! The reason I work with such a large variety of models is that every one of them brings something unique to draw and that is what keeps it interesting.”

Artists from all disciplines are drawn to life drawing. Architects practice it as part of their training. And if you do attend a session you’ll be impressed by the creativity and diversity of media used. Rebecca said it’s a traditional and essential art practice. 

Having a good grasp on structure, foundation and scale is critical for architects and designers so to be able to draw the human form, understand its structure and mechanisms and work with proportions is pivotal in creating their forms.”

Life Drawing Sessions at Left Bank Gallery run the second and fourth Thursday of every month and cost $30. They run 6.30 – 9.00pm. More at facebook.com/LDsessions or Instagram @life_drawing_sessions. Sessions continue at Dust Temple on the first and third Thursdays of the month.

IMAGE (c) Lamp Photography

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