Better late than never.
Unable to commit to a series of four-hour night classes, (who wants to go to school for four hours after working a full day?), Pratt finally offered something more my speed. That is, a one-night only four-hour class as part of their mini-class series--Spring into Art!--that runs one week in April. (Check that out, Seattle, they have glass-blowing and metal bending and screen printing, and all kinds of coolness for such reasonable prices.)
We spent four hours drawing gourds and driftwood with charcoal on big, porous paper taped to paint-splattered easels while KEXP played in the background, and the teacher flipped through a series of sketches and drawings by the masters for reference.
Gesture drawing, contour, cross-contour--over and over and over--wiping each rendition away with a heavily-soiled chamois, clearing the canvas for more. Charcoal is a mess. But it's so forgiving, and so palpable. Don't like what you drew? Draw over it with more pressure. Or, smudge it into submission with your hand. Or, failing all of that, erase it with the chamois.
There was wine and leftover cheese from a lecture that had taken place down the hall. My hands were black with charcoal dust; my face sported a few smudges as well. (I was not alone in the wearing of charcoal like so much hasty rouge.)
It was still a loong day. But it was worth it.