White Night in Brighton felt like a land at the top of the magical Faraway Tree: strangers chatted like friends, bizarre animals stalked the streets and a chaotic excitement mingled with the air. My favourite part was life drawing in St Paul’s Church in Russell Place, just behind West St.
From walking through the madness of Brighton, zombies, vampires and animals abound, lots of them drunk and shouting, into a quiet queue at St Paul’s where James and I had a discussion about drawing and that sense of wanting to get it right. We agreed to use our non preferential hand to take that away; I used my left and James used his right.
We were ushered in and walked through some strange melancholic puppets that danced eerily in the gloom, their bodies dark and unremarkable as their faces glowed like moons. And then we passed through curtains into the main body of the church: beautifully lit with warm light, four life models, draped in white cloth over tight black under garments, posed like Italian sculpture. Music without lyrics tinkled into the atmosphere. People sat on fold up chairs, sketching. Observation filled the space.
We collected paper and charcoal, chalk and pencil and selected easels. For two poses we sketched then decided we needed to sit or leave; we sat in seats near some friends of James who, we discovered, were also there. Four more poses passed and we all decided to leave for a drink and headed to the Marwood Cafe. It was 12.40am. We’d been in that beautiful, calming place for over an hour with no thought of time!