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I’d had my booster jab the day before and I still felt a little crap but I went drawing anyway. I need to. The coffee shop has begun interspersing Christmas songs into their usual muzak. I don’t mind. It was the only cosy thing available that freezing Saturday morning. Well, that and the smell of coffee and hot tea cakes which is always welcome. The flow of regulars was slow. And I tried to fight my ennui by reaching for felt tips and crayons in an attempt to capture the fantastic range of woolly hats that people were sporting.

The regulars came and I concentrated again on attempting to describe faces that challenged me. Women’s faces are the most challenging for me – there is a delicacy to so many of their features that is impossible to catch with the hefty line of my bamboo pen.

The effete man’s wife (my partner says I should call him the aesthete man, but I’m not sure) and the fragile-looking, meek blonde woman who comes in for a latte and toast and stares, as she eats, into the middle distance, are the most difficult to draw and not only for the subtlety of their faces. I think it’s also because I sense that they know they are being watched and it makes me feel self-conscious.

People are beginning to comment on my drawing. ‘I saw you doing your etching,’ said one man making drawing movements with his hand. Others smile, though most either endure my scrutiny or are not aware of it. I need to toughen up and draw through it. In the quiet times (and there were lots due to the cold) I draw and listen to¬† the staff’s chatter.

I also tried to include a little context – such as the hand-drawn boards behind the coffee machine, but it needs more work. ‘I don’t do Christmas, I do Solstice’, said the manager. Later, they discussed Communism. ‘Communism is OK,’ said the manager, ‘it’s people who mess it up.’ (I paraphrase.)

And then there were those who brought in their dogs – all fitted out in the cutest coats. The barking can grate though. The rest were passing traffic and examples of my just drawing, drawing and drawing, trying over those two days to keep my practice moving and vital.


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