Today was the first of 5 life drawing sessions that will take place in the upstairs studio at the Dove during April and May. It was organised on an impulse, really, after a break of about 15 years from life drawing. I wasn’t the only rusty life draughtsman there: just about everyone who came was in the same condition. And so it was that we met today in the space that I had prepared with a mounting feeling of excitement and anticipation. Keith Langlois came over yesterday to rig up the lighting, and today I hung up the black backdrop, made a plinth from a pallet, and covered the old sofa in velvet. It’s Keith’s belief that you don’t have to ‘teach’ people drawing from life: if you create a set for the model with clear and dramatic top and side lighting, people will be able to ‘see’ better and will therefore draw better. In the event it was a hard, focused three hours of concentrated silence, and I was reminded of that particular quality and function of the life class: that in following an old tradition of gathering together to draw one of our own kind, we meet to probe, to accept and to celebrate our humanness.