Portland, Maine 1983-5

My engineering work took me to Portland, Maine, USA for two years. I located a weekly evening open life class (known as a ‘pirate’ class because it was unofficially run by the students but used the USM studios) at the University of Southern Maine (USM) shortly after arriving, and then found another one on a different night at the Portland School of Art (PSA, now transmuted into the Maine College of Art).

I had a spacious apartment where I could paint and for the first time I hired a paid model to work for me privately there, besides continuing to paint many of my friends, mostly found from among the other students at the classes, who modeled at my apartment in exchange for pictures of themselves. The college based classes always started with an hour or so of very short poses, from 1 minute to ten minutes, which I was not used to and could make nothing of. I filled sketchbooks up with very unsatisfactory scribbles while I waited for them to move on to longer poses. It would be another five years of trying before I found a way of drawing quick poses which gave me any satisfaction.

I had more money now and could afford better quality paper and other artist’s materials.