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Life drawing with a canine difference at North Yorkshire charity

Rural Arts, a Thirsk-based arts charity, hosted its first canine life drawing class on Saturday 20th January 2024.  

Artists attending the workshop were given the opportunity to draw Inca, a golden cocker spaniel from the Hearing Dogs for Deaf People charity. Inca has been a hearing dog and companion for owner Martin Peagam for the past four and a half years.   

“We were delighted to be asked to come along to the art group. Being deaf can mean not getting to meet people very easily,” said Martin Peagam. “Inca has opened the world to me, and I hope the artists will get great pleasure out of drawing him.”  

Experienced tutor and textile artist Jo Lawson has previously taught life drawing with the human figure. “When it was suggested, we have a dog, I thought, why not give it a go. Unlike with people who can hold a pose, with Inca it’s more about drawing movement;” said Jo.  

Traveling across the North Yorkshire Moors from Kirkbymoorside and Helmsley, two of the class attendees at the first session on the 20th of January were mother and daughter, Janet and Carolyn Frank.   

Carolyn said: “I always enjoy coming to craft classes but have never done a drawing class before, but we loved the idea. It was nice to meet people and have some mother/daughter time.”  

Rural Arts’ senior creative producer Julian Hartley stated that the new course attracted a class full of first-time life-drawing students to visit The Courthouse and try their hand.  

“Life drawing is a fundamental skill for artists, but it can be quite intimidating to face the traditional naked human model,” said Julian. “Having a lovely friendly dog like Inca takes some of that fear factor away and means the artists can relax and enjoy learning new skills.”  

The course continues each Saturday afternoon for four weeks until Saturday the 10th of February. Although the course is already fully booked, anyone wishing to take up an easel and capture Inca in drawing can book a taster session on Wednesday 17th April 2024.