Mountain of Strength

High up in Crystal Palace, Caron Clarke is making me cringe.

How she dares tell her attendees to complete her outlandish tasks… is anathema to me. Can she not read the horror in their grimaces?

Maryam Saleemi suggests the dance I want to leap into!

Risks are how we learn. Not worrying about what others think, including our friends, allows us to grow. Clarke is right.

On Thursday evening the class want an easy session; if they haven’t been before they are in for a shock. OUT of your comfort zone will Caron wrench you. She will work the lethargy from you and replace it with collage, blind and non-writing hand drawing…

Martin Cleave makes the most of Caron being distracted by someone else

But seriously I have a massive soft spot for Caron. I’m always creasing at her antics, and her own buoyant smile bounces into my daydream. Having modeled for her a few years, I am familiar with the surprised transformations she elicits from her class.

Our friendship began when we discovered we both play the violin badly and she asked me to fiddle whilst modelling, sometimes we did duets.

I cannot believe the exercises she asks the class to do. I sense disgust

They will never come back. Can’t she see how unfeasible her idea is, that they are tired and just want to relax with some life drawing, not be jerked into spasms of disconcerting creativity?

Sunita Sharma is not put off by the challenges

But towards the end, the class is back with her, and they learnt something new.

It is Caron’s sheer boldness that asserts itself in fact in such delicate form which I admire. For her sumptuous watercolours, and bright shining humour. I don’t cringe anymore, but enjoy an extra giggle as she wades in without goggles. She is the real thing, all by herself and perfectly amazing, always brimming with abundant beauty, natural laughter.

In her Saturday long pose sessions Caron paints

Superb model Vanessa Abreu by Caron

Antenna, Crystal Palace & Caron combine for a groovy formula. The place is a recording studio; musicians, generally rock, indie wander about, tuning up on the roof, strumming in the yard. On my way to the loo my scanty covering flies up – I can feel the testosterone behind me. Hey – if I hang about long enough I might even get asked to be in a band… though I’ve not tried yet, guess I’d rather reach that by other means

are they musicians or punters?

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5 thoughts on “Mountain of Strength

  1. Caron’s watercolours are brilliant – truly lovely and luminous. the value of disruptive teaching is huge. one of the things that people are going to life drawing for is to escape using their brains as they use them every day, all the time – and exercises that force the disconnect and allow the neglected left brain through are incredibly useful. Gabrielle, tutor at Parkshot, was doing exactly the same thing with her painting class – and getting the same moans and groans when they had to do something different. i particularly liked the comment from one when they were drawing with their non-dominant hand ‘and now she’ll tell me its better than the drawing with my proper hand’ big sigh – and yes, it was indeed true that the drawing with the wrong hand was much lighter, more vital than the one with her ‘proper’ hand …

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    • I’m going to have to try this non-dominant hand business! I recently signed up for a series of figure drawing studios through our local art center, so I’m excited to be drawing more bodies soon. 🙂

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