60 years ago, the day after I finished university studies in history, I started calling myself an artist. As I had had no training, my first step was to seek advice from those I thought ought to know how I should get started. I particularly remember Leslie Worth who lived across the road. He had become a friend of the family (his encouragement and ongoing support helped me in the early years of the Painting School of Montmiral) and, later, he was elected as President of the Royal Water Colour Society. Perhaps it is a reflection of the times that two of the bits advice that he and, as far as I could ascertain, everyone else gave were: “Learn to draw” and “copy the Old Masters“. Despite wondering why I should do this when my interest was in painting, I set about finding books, illustrated with drawings by Michelangelo (advised by everyone) and others. For a time I was quite obsessed, but never felt very happy with the outcomes and never fully convinced myself that I was not wasting my time on a side issue. In retrospect, I am glad I made the effort.
Recently, I was looking back over my life’s work as an artist and, buried in dusty folders in the attic, I found a trove of the drawings I had done all those long years ago. They didn’t seem as bad as I remembered. So, when I recently started writing introductions to the three chapters of my book dealing with human anatomy, for inclusion on this website, it occurred to me that I might share my experience. I did not dare to include my drawings in the introduction to the Chapter 21, along with the early efforts of real “masters”: Rodin, Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec and Matisse. But I wondered if my students and friends might like to see them. Accordingly, I have put a small selection of them, under the heading of “Miscellaneous“:
Learning from Michelangelo and others