Wednesday, 20 September 2017
NIKI SCHAFER is a woman of many talents. As well as being a professional interior designer, she is an accomplished amateur artist and recently produced this sketch at a life drawing session at the Henley School of Art.
It took her just 45 minutes to complete the piece, which is rendered in charcoal and pastels and depicts a nude woman lying face-down on a chaise longue.
Mrs Schäfer, of Walton Avenue, Henley, began attending the school’s drop-in sessions at The Studio, off Hart Street, last month.
They are run by her friend Jo Harris, of Newtown Gardens, Henley, who is a a professional illustrator. The pair met at the 2015 Henley House and Garden Show, which Mrs Schäfer organised.
Mrs Schäfer said: “Jo first told me about the school when it was based at Remenham village hall and I kept promising to attend but never quite managed to find the time.
“When I heard she’d moved to Hart Street this year, I finally managed to go and have a look. It’s a fantastic space with great light so I knew I had to give it a try. I haven’t signed up for any of the classes yet, even though Jo has some fantastic teachers, but I’ve been three times to the drop-in sessions and they’re very enjoyable.
“It’s just a nice, relaxed informal environment to be in. I work from home so it’s good to meet other creative people and have free rein rather than working to a client’s brief.
“I’ve always been a keen artist. I’m not great at it by a long shot but I find it very relaxing and a nice way to escape from things mentally. You’re focusing intently on one specific thing and that clears your mind. I’ve done life drawing since I was at school and it was great to get back into it after being very busy.
“As soon as I started I thought, ‘I really should do this more often’ and I will definitely be going back when the new term starts.”
Mrs Schäfer, who shared the picture in her monthly email newsletter, said she hoped to include more art at the next Henley House and Garden Show, which will return in 2018 following a year’s absence.
She said: “I’ve had one or two compliments but that’s not what I was looking for. It was more to illustrate the newsletter’s theme of improving
“My standard is always the same — I do my best and inside I’m always hoping that every drawing will be great but when it’s done it’s always spectacularly average. I’m never wowed by it.
“I do enjoy it, though. I prefer life drawing to still life because I’m very interested in people. They come in all shapes and sizes and it’s wonderful to be able to capture someone’s personality as well as their figure.”
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