Life Drawing in Penzance Cornwall 2017

This is a weekly drop-in life drawing session open to all, which has been going for over twenty years now. It's every Saturday morning from 10:00 to 12:30 and in 2017 costs £8.00 per morning session. The art class takes place in the centre of Penzance, a short walk from the bus and train stations and nearby Newlyn as shown on the map below. We meet year-round except for about a month over the xmas holiday time, though we do not meet on bank holiday weekends nor on the Saturday of the Mazey Day holiday parade in Penzance in late June each year. Please note that you do need to switch off your phone while we are drawing here.

Holiday Dates 2017

First session of 2017 is Saturday 14 January 2017.
We meet every week and we do draw all summer long.

We are NOT drawing on the following holidays in 2017

  • Sat 15 April 2017- no drawing - Easter bank holiday weekend
  • Sat 29 April 2017 - no drawing - early spring bank holiday weekend
  • Sat 27 May 2017 - no drawing - spring bank holiday weekend
  • Sat 24 June 2017 - no drawing - Mazey day parade in Penzance
  • Sat 26 August 2017 - no drawing - summer bank holiday weekend
The last session of each year is normally the first Saturday in December, typically featuring also some cake.


Tea and coffee are provided during the tea break at 11 o'clock, but no instruction is given as this is not a tutored life class. As it is a drop-in class you don't need to book in advance, you can just turn up on the day. Drawing boards are available, and a very limited number of easels on a first-come first-served basis, but you do need to bring your own sketchbook and other materials. Models change weekly and are of all types and ages, some of them working widely in life classes and courses in Penwith. After a few minutes of very short, quick poses at the start of a session, we go on to gradually longer ones, and normally there will be a pose of at least half an hour after the teabreak which we have at 11am. There is also an excellent art shop nearby, just five minutes walk away in Penzance's fascinating and historic Chapel Street.

If you would like to try monoprinting, water-based black ink, rollers and some modest plastic sheets to roll ink out on are available here for you to use. Some have found this an interesting way to try drawing differently and have gone on to use coloured inks and do large monoprints. For more info and inspiration have a look at our illustrated monoprint tutorial here on this site.

From time to time we have an all-day session which maintains the same pose morning and afternoon, giving you time to do a more complete painting or drawing, but of course it is fine to just come for the morning session as usual on that day. Please do contact us if interested in future all-day sessions - everyone is welcome, and we only arrange them when there are enough participants, typically about three times a year.

The cost of the all-day session is the usual £8.00 for the morning plus £8.00 for the afternoon making it a very reasonable £16.00 for the day, including tea, coffee, and usually also dairy-free cake.

The first all-day session of 2017 was Saturday 1 April, for real.

From August 2013 we were drawing a pregnant model on the last Saturday of each month until xmas, and in October and November we held an exhibition of some of the work done in the group.

This class takes place at the Penzance Orchestra practice room, also known as the Band Room, in Lower Queen Street Penzance, Cornwall TR18 4BJ. Located less than 100m from the Penzance Promenade, it's a dark granite building with high windows and a grey door with no number on it, on the east side of the street. This is next to number 7 and directly across the street from number 13, and a few doors down from the Regent Court veterinary surgery. Diagonally downhill just across the street are the chipshop, the Navy Inn pub, and the Taj Mahal restaurant. It's a very pleasant walk along the seafront from the historic fishing port and art colony of Newlyn, whose classic Newlyn School figure paintings of Cornwall fisherfolk are still well known and valued. There is a map below, and this link takes you directly to the full view of the building on Google Streetview.

The Band Room Penzance Cornwall If this door does not open readily, please do knock firmly. Please do take note of the instructions for finding the place if coming for the first time, as even long term local residents have sometimes wrongly assumed they know where the building is.

This is the same building used for the weekly Quaker Meeting, and practice sessions of the Penzance Orchestra, who acquired it in the 1933 from a local businessman after it had been the Conservative Club Room and then the Sunrise Cafe. The building was commissioned by Elizabeth Carne (1817-1873) after the death of her mining engineer and banker father in 1862, and its original purpose and use was to display his collection of minerals. Elisabeth Carne later became the first female member of The Royal Geological Society of Cornwall, and funded other good works in the area such as St.Mary's Church and St.Paul's School.

The Band Room Penzance Cornwall Walter Barnes plaqueA plaque on the wall just to the left of the door into the Band Room commemorates the orchestra's founder and first conductor, Walter Barnes. The plaque was unveiled by the Mayor of Penzance in a public ceremony on 11 July 2015.

The Saturday drawing group originally started out in the Victoria Studios set up by Cornwall artist and teacher Colin Scott, which was located in Victoria Passage opposite the then offices of the Cornishman newspaper. When Victoria Studios closed in 1999, some of the regulars decided to continue the Saturday drawing sessions in new venues and so life goes on.

Please contact us for any further info.


click to see larger interactive map

life drawing penzance map