Life-drawing and figurative work is the key to painting. Why? Because it forces you to observe and to measure accurately! I have taught many students life-drawing working directly from the model at one of my life drawing classes. Life drawing is the key to drawing and painting because you need to develop a measuring system so you can achieve correct proportions. It pays back enormous dividends for the rest of your life. If you can draw the figure, then I believe you can draw any subject. Believe it or not, even people who know nothing about art, if shown a drawing or a painting of the nude, will immediately see if the figure isn’t drawn to the correct proportions! They will sense that something is not quite right. On the other hand, if shown a painting of a landscape they were unfamiliar with, half the life model, from my sketch book painting could be out of proportion and it wouldn’t be obvious. Once you start to measure with confidence, probably after 20 hours of practice, you can then move on to the next stage, using charcoal to indicate tonal values (shading). I feel that charcoal is the best medium for this process as you can achieve very subtle tones and not concern yourself with colour or application of paint, which would only greatly complicate the process at this stage. Once you gain a knowledge of tone, then you can move on to paint, again only using black and white so you can then learn how to use paint: mark-making, applying paint thick and thin, smooth application of paint, textural. Eventually you can introduce colour. To find out more about my life drawing classes, please visit: www.lifedrawingclassesmerseyside.uk or[one_half] [/one_half] [one_half_last] [/one_half_last] [one_half] [/one_half] [one_half_last] [/one_half_last] [one_half] [/one_half] [one_half] [/one_half]I run several life-drawing classes on Merseyside including Southport. I also do a Tuesday evening life drawing class(beginners and the more advanced) at the Bluecoat art centre, Liverpool. Please contact me for further details. Also at Lydiate L31 4EQ, the first Saturday of each month. This is an all day session. Cost £28. I’ve been doing life-drawing and figurative painting courses for a number of years and the combined groups have now grown into a very lively art group where people come together to not only learn about doing art, but also as a social activity.