Shoal of Art
Organiser and tutor Mark Lovelace tells us about his art school, which makes the most of central London locations to nurture and guide artistic individuality
Two years after attending a meetup group called Art Breaks in 2009, Mark Lovelace took over as organiser. This inspired him and his friend John Pipal to organise gatherings for people to draw each others’ portraits at a local pub, Royal Inn on the Park.
“We had been going to life-drawing classes for a while and John had the idea of getting some extra practice at portrait drawing,” he says. Last year, Mark renamed the group Shoal of Art, using shoal rather than school because, “In a shoal the fish swim somewhat independently, but in a school they all swim in the same direction.”
Mark’s aim was to begin running taught drawing and portrait sessions with a model. “I’d started teaching for another art club, really enjoyed it and wanted to do more.” He runs several weekly events, including Art in the Park, a drawing class in a cafe, along with casual, social drawing dotted all over London.
“Drawing meetups are a great way for people to draw together rather than always working in isolation,” says Mark. “Many who attend like the discipline of agreeing to draw for a set amount of time and sharing results.” Mark encourages students to look to contemporary and historical art to inform their work, using the prime London location, with stellar museums, galleries and parks in walking distance, to inspire different approaches.
Mark plans to do even more classes. He also intends to give his models roles to play in his sessions at another meetup at Topolski Bar, and perhaps include some long-pose portrait painting classes, along with sessions on painting from drawings.
Mark aims to incorporate sessions on painting from
drawing at Shoal of Art.