My First Life Class Nude

So off I go to my first Life Drawing class and for those of you who are not aware, a Life Drawing Class is where the model poses in the nude.

The Artists model

I have to say at this point that I was really nervous (well I was only 16) and was shaking when I went and collected my drawing board, charcoal and paper from the stock room. Luckily I knew where everything was because I had been attending the Art School on a Saturday morning for 5 years (See In The Beginning The Was The Nude)

I thought that if I slipped into the room quietly I could hide at the back and just blend in with everyone else.I climbed the stairs and opened the door to the class room….. and immediately bumped into someone coming out – all of what I was carrying went clattering to the floor, so the quiet entrance I was hoping to make was well and truly shattered.

The lecturer came over and said that there was a spare easel and that he would show me where it was. And quess what? Yes you are correct, I was right in front of the model – Terrific just what I didn’t want. The model and I smiled at each other and then I hid behind the drawing board and started to clip up my drawing paper and arrange and rearrange my charcoal (there’s only so many times you can do this)

When I eventually looked round the room it was full of “gentlemen” of a certain age who (to be truthful) could not draw a straight line with a pencil. They, to be honest, just wanted to be in the same room as a naked woman who wasn’t their wife or girlfriend….. well it was the 60’s. Apart from the model I was the only woman … feeling uncomfortable now – the gentlemen were glaring at me ……because  I was blocking their view)

Kat 2

I started to draw and the lecturer stopped at my easel.

Lecturer: Ahhhh at last someone who can actually draw !

Me (embarrassed : well….er…I….er… was good at art at school

Lecturer: yes I can see that – very good

Me (embarrassed) : well….erm… thanks (smiling/blushing)

Lecturer: Can I give you a word of advice?

Me (embarrassed) : errrrr…. Yes …. Yes please

Lecturer: Well not advice more of an observation

Me (embarrassed): oh …… go on

Lecturer: Well my dear, I can see you have an eye for this sort of thing but I think that you have taken one quick look at the model and then drawn her from memory!

Me (No words just embarrassed) :

I had to agree though –  that is exactly what I did – I drew from memory.

Out of embarrassment I didn’t actually look at her so didn’t take in how she was stood, how the light fell on her body and the wonderful angles and shapes her body made.

I will always remember how embarrassed I felt when I had my first encounter with a nude model and I try as much as I can to ensure that the people who attend my Fine Art Nude Workshops feel relaxed when THEY have THEIR first photographic encounter with a Fine Art Nude Model.

The next blog will be when the female model was unable to attend and a male model was substituted eeekkkkkkk.


Holly 6m

Travels With My Camera – Part 2

I am slowly going through the pictures from my visit to North Carolina to visit with my friend and brilliant photographer Marie Otero.
I’ve already posted the pictures from the first couple of days so here is what happened next
One lovely barmy evening Marie, her husband Rick and I dodged the local police and trespassed in a disused school – it was FANTASTIC !!  
Toilet 1
There was so much to photograph I could have stayed there all day. 
Rick kept guard outside whilst Marie and I went inside, we even went upstairs ! it was a bit rickety…. but worth it, so much to photograph.
Empty Room 1
There were a number of buildings – some more dilapidated than others and crossing over the road  – dodging the traffic  (they drive on the wrong side of the road you know !) and watching for the police we found an abandoned chapel. It just looked like everyone had up and left a bit spooky.
I have to confess that this wasn’t the only time we went trespassing the next  time I we did it I was really scared……. more of that later.
Empty Room 2
windowand ivy

In The Beginning There Was The Nude…….


Portia 1

So, I have told you about my encounter with the check out lady who was stunned to learn that a middle aged woman wanted to photograph nudes and found it difficult to give me eye contact or send me off with a smile (see blog below Nudes Or Fluffy Kittens, Flowers And Puppies).

I can just imagine the conversation in the canteen at the local Supermarket

Checkout Lady: well, have I got a story to tell you ladies

Doris: do tell

Checkout Lady: this woman came through my checkout point and guess what !

Gladys: she tried to leave without paying?

Checkout Lady: No!

Sylvia: she had a turkey under her sweater?

Checkout Lady: No !

Mavis: she had a gun and tried to rob your till?

Checkout Lady: No, worse than that !

All three ladies: Gasp! Gasp!  Gasp!

Checkout Lady: she photographs people in the nude !!

Gladys: what… hang on…. She photographs people when she isn’t wearing any clothes?

Checkout Lady: No….. SHE is clothed but the people she photographs aren’t !

All three ladies: eewwww

Seeing that I have told you the end of the story I thought that I would tell you how it all began. This is my photographic journey in the genre of Fine Art Nudes.

So…. Sit down, get a nice cup of coffee/tea (or other beverage) and a biscuit and I will tell you.( you don’t need to make yourself quite as comfortable as the beautiful Ivory Flame pictured below)


Holly & Sofa

So I have established that the first question is “what do you like to photograph?” with the  answer “Fine Art Nudes”.

I can pretty much guarantee  the next 2 questions will be  “Why” and “How long have you been doing that?”

Well, hopefully, I will answer both of those questions….

It all started when I was at school (yes as long ago as that). I was very good at art and it was decided, by the teachers, that I would benefit from attending the Warrington School Of Art . So I went along on a Saturday morning for the next 5 years and I enjoyed every minute.

I wanted to be a dress designer when I left school, so was thrilled when I found out that I was being tutored by Ozzie Clark’s Art Teacher. Ozzie Clark went to school in Warrington and became a very famous dress designer in the 1960’s.


This Art Teacher  taught me so much about the rules of composition (and how to deliberately break them), colour harmony, visual impact etc and I am grateful to him for helping me to developing my artist’s eye. I designed and made lots of clothes for myself and my friends. Some of the resulting outfits were FAB others … well you can imagine were not so marvellous but it was the swinging sixties anything went fashion wise (thanks goodness)

For one reason or another I was unable to go full time to Art School when I left school and began working at a local company that manufactured wire. Working there was horrific (lots of tales to tell about THAT period of my working life) but I still had a passion for art and decided to go to evening classes. My Mum encouraged me (as she still does) to continue with my  drawing and painting and was therefore very  happy when she knew I had signed up to an Art Class – little did she know what I was about to draw !

Now this is where I first encountered my first nude model and this will be the subject of my next blog.



Nude 11





Holly and rope





Nudes or Fluffy Kittens, Flowers and Puppies?

When I tell people that I very much enjoy photography I know what their next question will be.

“Oooooo, how interesting…… What do you like to photograph?” 
 It’s at this point that I hit the same old dilemma – Do I fess up and be honest or do I fib and say “fluffy kittens, flowers and puppies
Well, I was brought up to be honest so I smile and say “Fine Art Nudes” ….. And that’s generally where the conversation stops ! It’s NOT what the other person was expecting me to say and therefore the conversation quickly changes to “oh eeermmm, well,  I wonder if it will rain tomorrow?
I organise regular Fine Art Nude Workshops for photographers who have never worked in this genre before. I try and make it as “stress free” as possible. Most people are very nervous to begin with, which is understandable, so in order to ease the stress  I find an experienced Fine Art Nude Model, the studio, the lighting and instruct the attendees on how to photograph and pose the model. I also provide a nice lunch.
It was whilst I was buying the food for the lunch at our local supermarket that the lady on the check out decided to strike up a conversation about the food she was scanning in. The conversation went like this ….
Checkout Lady :  Ooooo  are you having a family party?
Me: No
Checkout Lady: A party for friends?
Me: No
Checkout Lady: Well, it looks like you are having a party – are you having people round for a meal?
Me: No.
Checkout Lady (looking puzzled): Well you certainly have a lot of party type food – it’s not all for you is it?
Me: No – actually I am organising a workshop
Checkout Lady: Oooooo  how exciting….what kind of workshop?
Me (now rushing to put food into my trolly/cart): eerm.  A Photographic workshop
Checkout Lady (now smiling broadly): Ooooooo I LOVE photography  – what will you be photographing
Me: Nudes
Checkout Lady:
She never spoke to me after that and didn’t even give me eye contact!  I should have said fluffy kittens, flowers and puppies at least then she would have given me a goodbye smile.
Its strange how this photographic subject matter seems to stop people in their tracks. Its probably that they don’t expect a middle aged woman to “ do that sort of thing”.
Photographing nudes, however tasteful, always seems to polarise people –  therefore I am going to “speak” more about this subject in the days and weeks to come – in the meantime here are some examples of what I photograph.
Holly 1
On Pointe
Darling 2

Cee’s Black & White Challenge

This week’s topic is Candid Photography

The challenge…

“You can have any type is Candid Photography.  In my mind, candid means that the main subject of your photo is not posed.  People and animals in the wild or your eta being their adorable selves is allowed in this challenge.  Use your imagination and have some fun.”

This is my entry – I spotted this couple whilst they walked down the street in Frigliana in Southern Spain.  I thought that it looked like the lady had just stepped out of the 60’s

Couple strolling

Click, Click, Click, Click, Done !!!!

Continuing my travels with my new camera Sony DSC RX100iii (AKA Snappy)

I was very much looking forward to using Snappy on my trip to North Carolina and spent most of the 8 hour flight reading through the instruction book – well it did help pass the time.

But before that I took a few shots around the airport,


……….from out of the plane window (I adore clouds)


…….and the inflight meal  (yes I am wearing flight stockings)

plane Meal

I even showed the camera to the lady who was sitting next to me…. but she soon fell asleep (okay I know us photographers can be a boring lot when it comes to new equipment but it WAS a long flight). So as you can probably appreciate I was desperate to photograph something…… anything !!!

I was happy to play around with the various settings and then found the d d derrrrr   Panorama mode and boy was I impressed.  Took me a little while to work out which way to hold the camera and how fast/slow to pan round but once I had got the hang of it I was hooked.  It is so quick, no stitching images in post production via various plugins …. It was instantaneous.  Click,click,click,click click,click  DONE !!

I took lots of pictures using this setting even in very poor lighting conditions – in a disused hospital which I was persuaded to trespass by my fellow photographers (more about that later) . Here are the first pictures I took using the Panorama setting – there will be lots more to come I’m sure :-)

Sunflower Field

Lakeside Cafe

Steam Punk1

Derelict Hospital

Tic Tic Tic

This is a Blog for the Post A Day challenge via WordPress Blogging 101

Today I had to write for 10 mins on any subject

Sixties Chick

So I have to write for 10 mins – checking my watch… 10:50am…. Off we go !

So what to write about????   Well what indeed?????

I could write about my childhood growing up in the swinging sixties in a Northern Town in the U.K. It always seemed to be sunny and we actually played out in the street – hop scotch, paper chase, hide and seek, truth or dare – knocking on doors and running away (all very silly… but fun)

I could write about my annual holiday in Blackpool where Mum and I went for our summer holidays (same room, same guest house, same guests) – it was ALWAYS sunny. I would have lots of donkey rides (Noddy and Sue were my favourite equine beasts) and oh how I screamed when they broke into a trot – what fun.  Ice cream, fish and chips, candy floss, rock (rock made to look like an English breakfast  – sausage, bacon, egg, etc) and the ghost train on Blackpool Pleasure Beach …. Oh how I screamed.

I also screamed when I saw the Beatles perform at the local theatre – I seem to have done a lot of screaming in the 60’s.

Oooo five to eleven……. Get a move on girl…

I could write about 60’s fashion and how short my skirt actually got – tut tut. The make up …. Very pale foundation, dark smudgy eyes and painted on upper and lower lashes – very Julie Driscoll, you had to have very pale lips too to carry off the whole look. ! Even had a go with false lashes – not as good as they are now of course, tended to fall off and look like some weird caterpillar crawling on your cheek.  Buying the Jackie magazine and following what the models wore – Twiggy, Jean Shrimpton, et al.  I could write about the boutiques and a trip to BIBA – oooo  BIBA, that’s a whole section on its own.

Checking my watch 11:00…. Where has that 10 mins gone………. And where have the last 40 years gone?

Tic Tic Tic