Good Places to Draw People No. 4 (Continued)
There's an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm where Larry David bends his Doctor's ear over the paucity and quality of the magazines he keeps in his waiting room. There's nothing there that takes Larry's interest - no golfing magazines. The Doctor listens and next time Larry visits, the quality of the magazines has improved somewhat. Quite right, too.
Good Places to Draw People No. 4
Waiting rooms. Doctors' waiting rooms, official business waiting rooms, any sort of waiting room. As you'll probably have gathered if you've been following my contributions to this blog, waiting is something that I feel is a national pastime for British people. Therefore, they excel at putting together waiting rooms. I don't feel particularly British - indeed, in many ways, I'm not - and therefore have to distract myself from the business of waiting, which can really be terribly boring. Fortunately, I keep about my person my trusty sketchbook so I can record the body language and expressions of deadly, creeping ennui that cross the faces of my various companions-in-waiting.
Actually, these drawings were made in my Doctor's waiting room, and it's really rather pleasant - light and airy with toys to keep the babies happy and a water cooler for thirsty ill people. They never keep anyone waiting for long so it seems churlish not to point that out.
Two kids got on the bus and sat behind me. They started talking about someone called Felicity. Felicity could have been a friend or someone they hated, for all I knew. I couldn't tell the difference. At first, I thought it might've been the rather lanky ponytailed girl who sat across from me (pictured). But I slowly realized Felicity wasn't present.
"Don't you think Felicity breathes really loudly?" one of them ventured.
There was agreement, and laughter from both. They got off the bus at the next stop. All I could think was, "Poor Felicity. She might have asthma."
I drew this girl in a bar in NYC called Angels' Share. They make the best gin martinis I've ever tasted. I had one, just by my hand as I quickly brushed this onto the sketchbook paper. She was watching me; she knew I was drawing her. I didn't want to make her uncomfortable or anything - she was with two other people - she just had a great way about her and I wanted to capture it. I think I did. It's not the greatest drawing I've ever done, by any means, but it looks like her. It reminds me of this one particular person who I'll never know; one of those fleeting backgound personalities who populate the cityscapes of the world; those who are so transient in my existence - and yet she gave me this. Well, I guess I took it, but she didn't protest. I wouldn't have minded if she'd have whipped out a sketchbook and done a quick doodle of me. And, as it happens, this drawing reminds me of the taste of that gin martini too.
This is a monoprint I did at a life drawing class. This model is a yoga fanatic and dancer and he's always pulling these insane poses where it seems impossible that he'll manage to keep still for more than a couple of minutes. But he always does. Brian, if ever you read this, you're a top life model, mate.
Good Places to Draw People No. 3
Cafes are great places to observe people. Unfortunately, I haven't been in any recently and the pub doesn't really count. So the bus stands in here, at number three of "Good Places to Draw People". Actually, I like the way one is forced to draw while on the bus. It lurches and bumps and causes all manner of happy accidents. You just can't get too fussy. Here are some drawings made on a bus journey to Richmond station, in South West London.
Overheard Remark No. 1
Richmond Station tube platform, London, 9th October 2005. A mother says to her child, who is holding a single flower, "If you keep smelling it, it'll be ruined." It occurs to me that a flower has a finite source of perfume. But how quickly can it be used up by a child's sense of smell? The little girl in question looks disappointed.
I saw this bloke sitting in the lobby of the Hotel Baltschug Kempinski in Moscow, just across the river from Saint Basils. He wore a high-collared suit and had a whopping great grey moustache (mustache for those of you in the US) and looked, for all the world, just like Stalin. Well, maybe his hair was a bit long.