Wednesday, 27 July 2016

National Portrait Gallery and Pearl & Groove Life Drawing

I enjoyed a very creative afternoon with my friend Alex yesterday starting at the National Portrait Gallery to see the BP Portrait Award exhibition and ending the evening with a figure drawing class.

The prize winning paintings at the National Portrait Gallery were interesting and I was particularly moved by the second place prize winner, Silence by Bo Wang (centre image below).
It is a striking portrait of his grandmother who was in the final stages of terminal cancer. I certainly had an emotional response to this painting especially after reading the artist's thoughts behind the piece.

The first prize portrait by Clara Drummond of her artist friend Kirsty Buchanan entitled Girl in a Liberty Dress had an interesting connection having just visited the William Morris Gallery last week. Both artists were working on an exhibition with the William Morris Society Archives and you can see the influence of his colour palette and intense pattern details in this work.

Admission to the BP Portrait Awards exhibition is free and runs until the 4th September at the National Portrait Gallery.


We made our way to Portobello Road for 7pm to attend a life drawing class lead by artist Bella Franks at Pearl & Groove bakery. This is my second drawing class at P&G with Bella who is an enthusiastic and friendly host for the evening.
The model Vanessa, was also a dancer as could tell from her beautiful and elegant poses. A 20 minute break at half time gives you chance to enjoy some of the gorgeous cakes the Pearl & Groove girls make - this time it was a sweet and delicious Pistachio and Rose cake. Very yummy indeed.

Here are my sketches in graphite pencil and charcoal. The longest pose was 25 minutes and the majority were 3 minute - 10 minute poses.

Quick 3 minute warm-up sketch 4b pencil
20 minute study 4b pencil
Tools down - its break time! 25 minute study in charcoal

20 minute sketch in charcoal
15 minute study in charcoal
I thoroughly enjoyed my creative evening and would certainly return for another life drawing class at Pearl & Groove.
The next events are on the following dates at this lovely venue:
Wednesday 10th August
Wednesday 24th August


  1. Was a great day! I hadn't drawn in quite a while but really enjoyed it and that cake was lush!!
    I love the depth you get in your drawings and I think you've done a great job of capturing the model's elegance.

    1. Yes, Alex it was certainly a fab day. Thanks about your comments about my sketches.