When I planned this four day Summer School, I had no idea it would coincide with the exhibition at the Foundling Museum, curated by Cornelia Parker: Found. What perfect timing.
Every item, object or thing in the world is made with a purpose, serves a function and is part of story. Take away that purpose, stop that function and that something is lost. Starting with a hoard of the discarded and broken, the members of the group breathed new life into these objects. Strange and exciting relationship were forged from the eclectic detritus. Histories and narratives were discovered and invented, and by the end of the four days the shedio was full of exciting drawings, pairings, medals and tools. Such great work ... well done all!
Spring is here (despite the sleet and hail!), so it's time for students at the shedio to dust down the watercolours and indulge in some glorious colour to hail in the new season. There have been a couple of timely exhibitions in London recently - The Royal Watercolour Society and the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour - and a closer study of the entries shows that the definition of watercolour is definitely changing. No longer the preserve of traditionalist, purist painters, this wonderful medium is now being used (and abused) by a new generation of artists who are more than happy to challenge the rules. White watercolour (yes white!) was evident, along with plenty of abstracted compositions that allowed artists to revel in the wonderful haphazardness of trying to paint with coloured water. Full respect goes to the wonderful students this week for embracing these, and many other ideas ... the course is still ongoing, but I couldn't resist showing their fabulous work so far. Well done guys x
It's been a hectic couple of weeks, but I've finally got a chance to share some photos of the great work students produced at the Thing Big, Draw Bigger workshop I held in March. I've often thought that if we work in a domestic space (i.e. at home), then our work is destined to be domestic, if not in subject matter, then certainly in scale. It was lovely, therefore, to open my studio doors wide and let students unleash their larger scale ambitions.
Day One started with white, white everywhere ... paper covered walls and tables, with drawing materials and small, random objects scattered about. Mark making, exploring lines, media, colour, texture and energy were the themes of the day ... gradually increasing drawing size from postcard size up to A1.
Day Two, and the sun was shining. A3 sketchbooks (opened to use the full A2 spread) were clipped to drawing boards and we headed out to take a line (or two) for a walk. Back in the studio, these drawings were used as starting points for larger scale, studio based work.
Day Three - lots of discussions had taken place over the previous couple of days on what makes a drawing 'accurate'. We had explored tactile self portraits (eyes closed, feeling our face with one hand while recording what we felt with our drawing hand), working with emotional marks (spiky and brittle, dramatic and flamboyant), and although I don't believe there is ever a single 'right' answer, it's great to pose the questions and use drawing to try to find solutions. In the words of Pablo Picasso: "To draw, you must close your eyes and sing". By the end of day three, my beloved shedio was full of drawings that sang out loud and clear! What joy.
Waking up to a light dusting of snow, and my thoughts jumped straight to the Shedio ... or more specifically, how to warm it up! Three fires on maximum setting, a host of crochet blankets and rugs, hot tea and coffee on constant supply, and we were soon warm and toasty (well, warm-er!) and able to get to work. Today's workshop was a 'back to basics' session looking at drawing with pencil, graphite and charcoal - and encouraging students to build their own vocabulary of marks. As always, they threw themselves into the challenge with great gusto and produced some fantastic drawings - at least 9 each!
Thoughts, works, adventures and responses from the studio and beyond