‘LIFE DRAWING LIVE’ on BBC4 TV prompted me to post this…..

In light of the new BBC4 TV show entitled ‘LIFE DRAWING LIVE’  which I viewed last night, I am re-posting a blog on the subject.

In early December, I was invited by my good friend and fellow artist, Maria Do Rosario Tavares (Miza to me) to give a painting demonstration for a group she is working with in Chester.    The subject, ‘life painting’  – one of my favourites.      It was only a two hour session, but a very good one.    The group and the model were lovely.

To warm  up I painted this rapid watercolour/gouache portrait of David, the model.   I like to get to know my models a little this way before beginning the days work. 20161207_142829There have been periods during my career when I began each day with a two hour life session in my studio.       I hope to have that opportunity again one of these days.

Twenty minute – full sheet watercolour and felt tip pen study – 


I love short poses – preferably five to 20 minutes max.     This enables me to capture the energy, movement and gesture of my subject….

five minute watercolour study – male dancerp1160967I was fortunate to go to art school in the early sixties when the first year was dedicated to  life drawing.      Observation, observation, observation……

Twenty minute watercolour study on full sheet…(all the white is dry white paper).  the negative space shapes are vital in the overall composition.  20-11-15-1-432I believe that a strong foundation block frees an artist to explore their work with more confidence.    

Regular life drawing sessions help to build self confidence and most importantly hone observation skills. 

Ten minute full sheet study of Scarlett, one of my favourite models  p1160922Along with nude models we also worked with ‘costume models’ learning how to capture the human form beneath the drapes of fabric  – again honing observational skills.

This man modelled for me in Paris….a beautiful dancer.   I often do quick portraits of my subjects in a life painting session. 


It’s exciting to see that ‘life drawing’ is back in vogue.    I  believe that people who attend sessions regularly recognise that along with honing observation skills it is a wonderful form of meditation.

In this instance one of my favourite models arrived with her new born baby….It was a magical session.     In the warmth of the quiet studio both mother and baby completely relaxed…..20-11-15 - 1 (780)Focusing on the loving and gentle hands of the mother.      Quite a few years ago I gave a weekend residential workshop in Herefordshire where we painted the hands and feet of models.   Excellent exercise. P1160912Capturing the gesture and seeking out the abstraction of the shapes produced. 20-11-15 - 1 (50)

Beginning in 1982 I began a series of works integrating the human form with the rock formations of Isle au Haut, Maine where I spent much time painting.     Thirty eight years later I am still working on this series.           

‘The moment people turn their backs on one another’. 6ft x 4ft oil on canvas. (1982)Painting of human figures in shades of brownFor those who would like to try life drawing – I suggest tuning into ‘LIFE DRAWING LIVE’  BBC 4 TV—–a good way to get started. 

Happy painting






34 thoughts on “‘LIFE DRAWING LIVE’ on BBC4 TV prompted me to post this…..

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      HI dear Gillian…have been thinking about you a lot of late. Thank you so. much for the comment…amazing to think that you and I have been blogging for fourteen years, and met through blogging. If you are down this way do let me know..hopefully we can connect. X

      1. murphymole

        Yes the years have flown. I will br down at begining of March it looks as if the house has sold so we will be moving further north before long. This last year has taken it’s toll I’m afraid family wise. I am ready to get settled. Would be lovely to catch up xxx

  1. Ka Malana - Fiestaestrellas.com

    This was my favorite “live drawings” to do as a teenager! Unfortunately after a couple of decades of not drawing, I don’t think I can do it anymore. Back then it came naturally to me. The human figure was one of my greatest inspirations. Had I gone to art school for college, things might have been different. It was so cool just $5 at a local college and free drawing with a live nude model. Your drawings remind me of how much I loved that meditation! I wonder what life would have been like if I would have been encouraged to stick with it… or maybe if my passion could have carried me. Anyways at least it exists as a memory. Thank you.

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Thank you so much for this comment…and do remember that it is NEVER TOO LATE to start again. I see that here in the UK lots of places are having life session…local pubs, included;). If you can tune into BBC 4 TV on Wednesday evenings, 8 p.m. UK time…it would be of value to you. Let me know if you have any luck. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy a beautiful and creative weekend. Janet 🙂

      1. Ka Malana - Fiestaestrellas.com

        Hi Janet! I hope you are right that it’s never too late for me to get back into my art. I had tried to sketch a couple of years ago and also refresh on some still-life, but it wasn’t the same as when I was a young teenager. I’m no longer expecting for it to be the same but maybe one day I can have similar enjoyment (and especially the meditation) art took me out of myself more than any other activity (even treating patients in the clinic). I’m hoping in the future some time when I have more time I can work on my art skills again, and take a deep dive. I don’t live in the UK. I did try that link, but I don’t have access. Thank you! You also have a beautiful and creative weekend! Much love, Ka

      2. janetweightreed10 Post author

        Allow yourself to PLAY – even on newspaper…If you set up a card table…with some paints and brushes – and use it for fifteen minutes a day for playful exercises….it will help. Janet 🙂

      3. Ka Malana - Fiestaestrellas.com

        I wanted tell you, Janet. Yesterday I saw your hummingbird art on a post on FB that was included with a poem with the author’s name, but it said “artist unknown” and I notified the poster (who I know) that I know exactly what artist made that painting, and gave your name in the comments to make sure she updated the post. The poster was grateful that I gave her your name so she could give you credit.

      4. janetweightreed10 Post author

        Thank you very much Ka. I just tried to leave a comment on your blog (because I think it’s great and the glass is superb) but for some reason I couldn’t do it…will try again tomorrow. For now good night and the fifteen minute a day formula is the way to go 🙂

  2. mizatavares

    It was a great day and all students were in awe of your wonderful skills and making it look so easy! ❤️ I hope one day I will be able to let it go and flow like you do.
    The mother with the baby is just superb! 😘😘😘😘

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Thank you so much for this lovely comment. You know I enjoyed the day so much and look forward to our next time together. I hope your weekend is a good one and that your creative juices flow….Love Janet :)XXXX

  3. Unishta

    I never pursued art but as a hobby course, I once joined art school and it was a wonderful experience drawing live models… your pictures capture the fluidity of the human body and i can imagine how meditative it must be.

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Thank you so much for your comment and maybe its time to start again?. It is never to late. I can tell from your comment that you enjoyed life drawing a great deal. Have a lovely weekend. Janet 🙂


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