Wow! What a day I’ve had today. I write this exhausted, but with my head spinning with excitement, from a visit to the college today from the Royal Academy Outreach Team who ran a Life Drawing Workshop with around 30 of our students. I had organised it, having heard a lot about these workshops over the years, and thinking it would be a great opportunity to extend and develop our students drawing skills, and hopefully boost their portfolios.
It proved to do this, but so much more too. It was taught by artist, Paul Brandford, who was such an inspiring teacher. He continually challenged and pushed the boundaries of the student’s knowledge and forced them out of their comfort zone. I say the student’s, but me too as I also joined in alongside them with Alex, a student teacher on placement with us. We were both addicted to the whole thing throughout. It was great fun but also very hard work.
The day’s workshop was driven by the idea of drawing as an important form of enquiry, which is what I believe in. I did get increasingly despondent about my own efforts though, as I became increasingly tired of my own ‘handwriting’. The more drawings I made, the more I found it difficult to push past my own limits.
Tonight I’m thinking about the charcoal drawings of the motorway I’ve been making with fresh inspiration and drive. The last couple of ones I’ve made I have felt things becoming freer and more involved in ‘drawing’ and disentangled from their photographic sources. Paul has opened up my thinking about what I can do and I can’t wait to get back down the studio in the next few days.
On a final note I looked up Paul Brandford on the internet and discovered his own website, which has some really interesting stuff on it, but I also discovered that I had actually exhibited alongside him. Paul was the First Prize winner in the prestigious Jerwood Drawing Prize in 2003, which I was also selected for that year. Here is his drawing below. It’s a great piece, which is also derived from a photographic reference. I remember enjoying it at the time and enjoying the celebrations as Paul collected his prize from the judges at the Private View in London. What a nice coincidence to meet him today at a time when I’m beginning to develop my own approach to drawing and how I use it to express my ideas. I really got a lot from his workshop today. Below is a link to his website: