London Drawing Presents: The Drawing Theatre
Saturday 28th March 2015
The Library Space
By Isis Raheem
What better way is there for a twenty-something artist to spend a Saturday, than in the city of London at the latest London Drawing event?
At 4.40am, I caught the red eye from Leicester – snatching a few hours sleep on the coach – and arrived in London, a little tired, a little rained on, but exited to start drawing. The class was held at The Library Space, a grade two listed building within the Battersea park conservation area.
As we were briefed on what the day would entail by the organisers, I was pleasantly surprised to hear the models were professional dancers and that they would be performing both spontaneous and loosely scripted pieces throughout the day.
The beginning was very much about finding an approach – experimenting with ways of capturing and conveying the performance. There was a wide range of coloured papers and drawing materials on offer, but I played it safe with a few sticks of willow charcoal and white paper.
For the first performance, we were treated to beautifully controlled, yet spontaneous and flowing movements as the models made their way along the red carpet that ran the length of the room. The addition of what I can only describe as a broken beat – electro fusion, music and the gorgeous interior of the space made for a strange but exciting atmosphere.
It was a very different experience from the more traditional classes I had taken at college, where the model would strike a still pose for a known length of time. This was more spontaneous, and my approach to drawing had to adapt. I had to observe more keenly and be ready for the next move the model would make.
The day was structured neatly; the models would perform, we would then review our work, and after take a short break before continuing. I found it helpful, seeing the work the other students had produced. Looking at my drawings beside theirs, I realised that I was at the conservative end of the scale – conservative in my choice of media and conservative in my interpretation of what was before me. The tutors were gently encouraging, urging us to experiment and to view our work not as an attempt at photographic likeness but as our own personal, artistic response. I became determined not to squander the experience and to loosen up.
We were also encouraged to make the most of the space, to move around the room looking for new and interesting angles. I took advantage of the aerial view the balcony offered and experimented with the different coloured paper and drawing materials.
My fellow students were a pleasant mix of artists and enthusiasts from all over the country – I even met a lovely medical scientist from the Netherlands who had developed an interest in art and managed to take the class on his short stay in England.
I was sorry when the session came to a close. Over the course of the day I had watched my work develop from a safe, traditional approach to something much more daring. I had left my comfort zone and embraced the full experience of the Drawing Theatre. It was an invigorating experience, one that I recommend to anyone with an artistic itch to scratch.
The next Drawing Theatre will be happening on the 15 May with LCF Graduate Daphne Karstens- find out more about London Drawing and The Drawing Theatre
Massive thank you to our new London Drawing Blogger Isis Raheem! If you are interested in coming along to our classes and events and writing about them- we would love to hear from you! firstname.lastname@example.org