They do it differently in Portland, that's for sure. I attended the Anti Art School session this past Wednesday night. It was in a bar called Dante's Sinferno (yes, it's true) on 3rd Ave and Burnside. Almost next to the homeless mission and a very sketchy (no pun intended) part of town. I found a parking lot right next to Dante's, so that was a great relief. It was not the kind of neighborhood I wanted to be walking around in by myself.
I entered the bar and found a spot to sit. The lighting at that point was terrible; it was bar lighting, dim and dark. Not the kind of light you want to be drawing in. That got fixed after about the first 20 minutes of drawing, thankfully. Until then it was like drawing in braille. I looked around me and seemed to be the oldest person there. It had much more of a party atmosphere than the one in Phoenix. In Phoenix folks are quiet and very focused on their drawing. Not so here. To give you an idea, they were going to give out prizes for the most inebriated drawing. Yeah, it was like that. People were talking and yelling up at the models and to each other. A little distracting. Also, the poses were no more than 15 minutes long. The one above is a 10 minute drawing.
On to the models. Our first model was a young man, dressed in an interesting mix of clothes (that's a pair of little fur bear ears on his head). He was fun to draw and a good model; the poses could have been a bit more challenging, but he did just fine. Our second model was a young woman dressed as an East Indian, sari wrap, kohl around the eyes, dots on her forehead. She was a striking girl, and an extremely good model pose wise. She did some great poses that I would've loved to have seen be an hour or more. But when she got up on the stage, they changed the music. They started playing something that seemed to be just reverberation from the base of the speakers, like when you're passing someone in one of those tricked out car and the base is booming, you can feel the vibration in your own body. It was intense. Then as she's posing, she begins to do this sort of humming, squealing, screeching kind of noise to go with the "music" (I use the term loosely). This went on for about a half hour. Thankfully, it finally stopped. And we went back to normal music.
By then, I had a bit of a headache, and it was past 9pm, so I decided to call it quits. I'll go again, because it was so good to draw and practice. Even though they were short poses, I still got a workout, and got my mind and fingers warmed up. I'm going to look for some other open session figure drawing opportunities here. Something a bit quieter.