If you stumble across a naked man or woman in Portland on a Tuesday evening do not be alarmed: you have not discovered Nottingham’s nudist colony. This is Art Society, a little known oasis of calm in the hectic bubble of campus life.

Every week at Art Soc for a couple of pounds there is a Life Drawing class. This may seem quite intimidating and the first time I went I was unnecessarily nervous. Would everyone stare if I could not draw well enough? Would they laugh? These and other equally absurd thoughts went through my mind as I walked up the hill to Portland. In reality I found that life drawing is the opposite to what I was expecting: quiet, concentrated and generally unassuming.

Art Society encourages everyone and anyone to come along and have a go. There are no tutors leering over your work, and no one cares what you draw. It is this freedom which allows real creative expression. The drawings people produce are entirely individual, a testament as much to the atmosphere of Art Society as to each member’s own eccentricities. From the faintest sketch to the thickest Matissian charcoal, every drawing produced exudes personality. This energy comes from the relationship between sitter and artist, something which is difficult to replicate when drawing from photographs.

The act of considering the human figure and transferring it to paper transforms how you view it. Everything changes. A nose is not a nose but lines, curves and shadows. A leg can be one continuous line or made up of hundreds of dots and dashes and marks. An eye can be as insignificant as a smudge. Form takes over and consequently some of the pictures produced at Life Drawing can be so abstract that they are almost unintelligible.

Nina Patel, their enthusiastic president, outlined Art Society’s other plans for this new academic year. These include; gallery visits, more workshops with local professional artists and increased involvement with the Open Art Surgery. The Open Art Surgery is a student-led project which involves students holding creative workshops with children in the QMC; an extremely rewarding experience for all who got involved with it last year. And of course Life Drawing classes will continue, with different models and poses adding variety to the sessions.

Essentially, Art Society will keep on providing a creative outlet for every student bogged down with coursework, or facebook, or both.

By Victoria Carter

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