That said, even just a few short years ago when I was a student, life drawing studios could sometimes be quite stuffy and restrictive, their church-like atmosphere and stilted protocols stopping the artist and model from engaging with each other as full-bloodedly as they otherwise might. But thankfully, things are starting to change, with more and more art classes offering sessions that blend traditional life drawing with something akin to performance art to create memorable events centred around the nude figure.
A good example of this new breed is London Drawing. I haven't been lucky enough to attend any of their sessions as I live in the wrong neck of the woods, but they look great fun and so inventive. Here, for instance, are a few pics from an event they recently staged in which two hapless, unclothed ladies fall foul of a demonic figure called the Lairy Godmother (played by noted young artist Susannah Pal):
The whole thing looks like an absolute delight, with the models striking deliciously abandoned poses and Susannah Pal hilarious in her demonic role. Events like these are a confirmation of something I strongly believe in - that, in the right context, the nude figure can be enjoyed and celebrated as a really lovely source of entertainment and relaxation. If you're feeling down and you want to cheer yourself up, don't pop a pill or have a drink - book yourself into a life class and enjoy the beauty of the naked human form. Or, better yet, take off your clothes and be that beauty.