London Drawing Presents: The Drawing Theatre March 2015 – By Isis Raheem

London Drawing Presents: The Drawing Theatre
Saturday 28th March 2015
The Library Space

Supported by Cowling & Wilcox Art Shops

Costume designs by Marta Jiménez Salcedo and Clare McGarrigle

By Isis Raheem

Isis Raheem is a recent Computer Animation Graduate and all round Creative
Computer generated Speed Painting by Isis Raheem

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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! info@londondrawing.com

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Zara’s Blog For London Drawing- Part 3: Line

15/02/14

03: Week 2- Line

As we always do, we start the class with a 5-10 minute pose, just to get back into the swing of drawing. The first drawing is always the hardest, it’s almost as we forgotten how to use the charcoal!

This week, we built on a lot of the core principles that David had taught us already. Week 1 had been about the basics of drawing, getting to know the class, becoming comfortable with the materials and technique. How to turn the pose into a few simple shapes.

This week was about ‘Line’.

‘Line’ is one of the basic elements of art- the others being shape, form, tone, texture, pattern and colour. A line is not just something that connects two dots. What we would learn today, is that it’s about the path it that a line takes. Along this path, line can describe a lot… It can define a space, create an outline or pattern, imply movement or texture and allude to mass or volume. It can even describe a feeling, or emotion.

We started off doing a few 2-5 minute poses, where we could only use a few simple lines to draw the model.

 

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We then moved onto using some felt tips…this was very fun!

 

 

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We did a few great exercises- not taking the pen off the paper, left-handed work, superimposing our drawings, and an interesting exercise which involved using the felt-tip attached to a long stick.

David used the tasks to encourage us to think about contour, and to use the (very permanent) felt tip to describe whatever we saw. So, in the case of the exercise where the open had to remain in constant contact with the paper, he said that we could switch from drawing the chest, to defining the curve of a stomach or breast, then to the a dimple on the back….it’s was all about really looking at what was in front of us. The resulting work was actually really great. And I loved the super-imposing figures onto one piece…it gave the work more movement, and life. Something which I think I’m going to explore in my own work.

 

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Our next task was to revert back to trusty charcoal or graphite, and zoom into a particular body part, or area, and use line to describe contour. Kind of like a map. Again, seeing different styles from the pupils is what struck me the most.

 

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Next, we were given ink, another very permanent medium! It’s daunting switching from charcoal, which can be rubbed off with your hand, to ink, which (aside from causing a lot of mess) feels very final. And we didn’t just use a pen with the ink….no 

no. David had other tools in mind. Tooth picks, cotton wool buds, different size brushes….this is what we used.

By now, however, I think we were all becoming braver. This pose was longer, about 40mins-1hr.

I particularly love Louis’ piece below. He’s a screenwriter and has been producing some amazing work so far. I thought his use of the toothpick and cotton wool, produced a beautifully delicate drawing that was quite theatrical, and captured the volume of the human form so well.

 

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Below is my piece, using brush and a wooden pick.

 

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And finally, below is some of the finished work from the entire class.

 

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When I first started life drawing, line was my best friend. We rely on line to bring together the human form, even though, in reality, the figure is clearly not a group of lines. We’re not cartoons after all. So I feel that my biggest lesson this week, was learning about using line to describe contour and space.

Below is some of my work from a drop-in class in Farringdon, a few weeks ago, using felt tip.

 

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I think I’ve definitely learnt something from the class. Next week…tone!

Zara x

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Zara’s Blog for London Drawing: Part 2

10/02/14
02: The First Week

So this week was the first one of the course. I can’t tell you how much I’ve been looking forward to it. I got the bus to chelsea on a sunny saturday morning, and sat on the top deck at the front (because everyone knows that’s the best place to sit), with a little smile on my face. Going to art school was something I’ve always wanted to do.

The class is a good size, about ten people. And what a group….all backgrounds, ages, jobs, abilities…all woken up early, on a saturday morning, to draw. How wonderful is that? Some had never been to a life drawing class in their life. Some hadn’t picked up a pencil for 10 years. Some, like me, had been attending the drop-in classes around London for a while. But all of us, nervous, eager and excited, took up our places behind our own easel, ready to start the class.

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Our tutor, David Price, is one of the two founders of London Drawing, he’s been teaching for many years. Feel very privileged to have him as our guide over the next 10 weeks. We started off by writing down, on a piece of paper, our experiences of life drawing, what we each wanted to extract from the course, and any areas we felt under-confident about. That way, David is hoping to target some problem areas (eg. hands and feet for me), in turn, making it more specific and personal.

He gave us a few demonstrations (below), which was great. It was interesting to see someone as experienced as him, start a drawing. Often that’s the hardest bit- the first line. It’s like a writer, typing the first line of a book. Very daunting…..but watching David made me realise that it doesn’t have to be as terrifying as it seems. He encouraged us to start with a single line, or shape, that described the whole pose (this is a great technique for anyone drawing a human figure) and extrapolate from there. Mistakes can be made, that’s the great thing about charcoal- you can rub it out. A foot can be drawn bigger…a leg can be repositioned. And it doesn’t matter if its not perfect. In fact, its the lines, the tone, the humanity, the imperfections, that make art beautiful.

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We did a lot of short 5-10 minute poses as David walked around, encouraging us, giving tips….often being quite comical in the process (at one point, he referred to someones drawing as having ‘quite extravagant pubic hair’ which made us all laugh a lot…you know who you are…). We all went for lunch, where we ate together and got to know each other. Everyone was buzzing as we ate. I find that drawing, and being creative, unlocks all this energy, a different, primitive energy, that must’ve been pent up over a long week at work. It’s quite emotional, I can be very happy and excitable….or you can become very angry, if something isn’t going right. Either way, there was definitely this energy, as we exchanged stories and talked about why we were there.

The afternoon consisted of three long poses, on much larger scale, involving more foreshortening. This is one of the hardest things about life drawing- bringing in perspective and rendering a figure, in a picture, in depth. But David, who was on top tutoring form, showed us how to use pencils as tools to estimate proportions, and again, with demonstrations, emphasise that things can be adjusted or changed.

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We were encouraged to stick our drawings up, after each pose. This was scary at first, everyone else’s looked great, and we’re so critical of ourselves. But David walked along, pointed out different peoples work, what was good, how they differed. We all used charcoal but people used the simple medium in such different ways. I tend to use darker, heavier lines, with bold shading. Others are more gentle, and peaceful with their work. Maybe this suggests something about my character?! But the best thing is that, by the end of the class, I could start to see individual styles develop. I could match drawings to people. They were all making their own art. Already!

Below are my last three drawings, the longer poses, done with charcoal on A1 paper.

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So there’s week one. Left feeling quite drained, but really pleased with my progress. We’ll be covering different themes each week, like chapters of a book. Hopefully we’ll be building a bank of techniques, which will give us confidence, in our own time, to experiment and produce some exciting work. I think this was one of the lessons of the class, as well as grasping the basic concepts about life drawing- that creativity and art are all about the process, not the finished product.

Next week in class is all about ‘Line’….I have no idea what we’ll be doing but I’m sure David has some tricks up his sleeve. I’ll start posting some pictures of the other students work too, with their permission, so you can all see just how different, and how great everyones work is.

On another note, I also went and saw the ‘Sensing Spaces’ exhibition at the Royal Academy, which was brilliant. Although I appreciate it visually, I’ve not really explored architecture in great detail. I think we have a tendency to only view it as ‘visual art’ rather than a sensory experience- the smell, temperature, feel of a material under your feel, what memories it brings back, how a building makes you feel. The exhibition is a fantastic project that brings these subtle qualities to the centre of attention, I really recommend you go see it. I loved the reed structure produced by an amazing japanese architect, Kengo Kuma, who has also been chosen to designed the exciting new V&A Museum, Dundee, in Scotland. He’ll also be giving a talk at the V&A in our home city of London (link here), in March, in the Sackler education centre.

I’ve also just started reading ‘The Artists Way’ by Julia Cameron, recommended to me by someone who I care very much about, who also is a very brilliant artist and musician. I urge anyone, who is embarking on their own creative journey, whether it be writing, music, drawing, painting, or if you just want to lead a more creative life- to give it a go. It’s absolutely brilliant, and surprisingly accurate. Best £10 I’ve spent for a long time.

See you next week, Zara x

More info and booking for Contemporary Life Drawing & Painting course with London Drawing at Heatherley’s School of Art here

Zara’s Blog for London Drawing: Part 1

We are delighted to introduce Zara Oozeerally who will be blogging for us over the next ten weeks as she joins us at The Heatherley School of Art for our brand new 10 week course, ‘Contemporary Life Drawing and Painting’. Massive thanks to Zara for her time and enthusiasm- we can’t wait to see how her #Adventureinlifedrawing evolves…..

30/01/14
01: Drawing is simply a line going for a walk

When we were children, before we can read, write, or even speak, we could draw. And we drew anything and everything. First we learn to hold a pen. Soon the random lines and squiggles become circles and triangles, which then turn into pictures of boys and girls. We did it. We all practised art. We plastered our kitchen walls with these proud squiggles and triangles. So why is it, that the moment we leave the classroom and become adults, only some of us are classed as ‘artists’? And most of us resign ourselves to the statement ‘oh, me, I can’t draw to save my life’.

I believe that anyone can draw. Everyone has the ability to be creative. We were born with this. Unfortunately, most of us are professionals, busy parents or have never even considered it…our hectic lives allow ‘no time’ to feed this side of us. No time to live a creative life. Or so we tell ourselves.

My name is Zara, and I am a doctor working in London. Until a year ago, I hadn’t drawn anything for about 7 years. I was actually known for my artistic skills when I was a child but chose to pursue the sciences. So I stopped drawing, went to medical school, starting working as a foundation doctor etc. etc….’I didn’t have time to draw’

But a year ago, I decided that I would start again. I searched for classes around London and found the company London Drawing. London Drawing is an exciting collaboration between professional artists, tutors and performers, led by Anne Noble-Partridge and David Price.

To be honest, I was always petrified of life drawing. I’ve never used charcoal, and the idea of having a time limit and a real person in front of me, is actually quite scary. But from my first class, I was hooked. The teacher walked around, gently gave tips and encouraged us. And the classes have been inspirational, and above all, fun.

Since then, I’ve been attending the 2 hour drop-in classes at The Goldsmiths Centre in Farringdon and at Artizan St Library Liverpool St on a weekly basis, and I’ve had an amazing time. Using the other side of my brain has encouraged me to let go of that over-intellectual side of me, where I believe something ‘should’ look like something else on paper. This was especially hard for me, as a doctor, as I have a good grasp of anatomy and the human form. This limb ‘should’ look like this, that muscle ‘should’ be like that. For once, I’ve allowed myself to make mistakes, to completely let go. Susannah (a tutor from the London Drawing team who teaches the Monday session at Artizan St) encouraged me to see what I was drawing, not just look. One exercise even involved drawing with my left hand, not even looking at the paper! I learnt to actually open my eyes, and appreciate what was in front of me.

Below is some of my work from the first classes, most of them are 5-10 minute sketches:

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And this is something from last week, at the Artizan St Library near Liverpool Street. I think I’ve improved. Finally getting a hang of the dreaded ‘foreshortening’…

 

 

 

 

The classes have definitely sparked something inside of me. I’ve started drawing more at home, using my free time usefully, instead of just procrastinating. 

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Along the way, I’ve met some wonderful people, of ALL abilities. I can see that all of us have developed more confidence in our abilities. And I’ve managed to get a few of my friends coming along as well. They’ve loved it.

London Drawing work with Battersea Arts Centre and Heatherley’s School of Art to produce unique and inspiring workshops. I recently found out that they were running a new 10 week course on ‘Contemporary Life Drawing and Painting‘ at Heatherley’s. My friend, Kat, and I, signed up immediately and it starts on the beginning of February. I have to say that I’m more excited about this than I have been about anything for a long time.

Anne (Co-founder of London Drawing) was looking for someone to blog for the company. Now, I’m no writer, but for some reason, on a whim, I applied.

So here I am. A junior doctor, from London, who didn’t previously draw for 7 years. But I’m starting to see myself as an artist now. So I’d love for you to follow me, as I start this exciting course this Saturday. I’ll be documenting my journey with London Drawing, and I plan to bring in the other members of the class and share all our stories, experiences in class and more importantly, the art we produce. Ill also blog about and draw in inspiration from exhibitions I visit around London (I plan to drag along Kat- she doesn’t know this yet!)

I’ll probably embarrass myself along the way, but, with the help of London Drawing, hopefully I’ll produce some art that I never thought I could before, using methods that I’ve never tried previously. 

The title of this post: “Drawing is simply a line, going for a walk” is actually a quote by the inspirational Paul Klee. I saw it at his dedicated exhibition at the Tate Modern (it’s absolutely brilliant- go see it before it finishes on the 9th March – info here). Klee was known for his fresh and inventive art, which is fun and bursting with emotion. I can never get enough joy from his work. And I think his words summarise it all perfectly. Drawing is nothing to be scared of. And if you give it a go, you might just find something exciting within you. Because that’s what this is all about- being open to new things. And every artist was once an amateur.

Massive thank you to the lovely Anne, and the company for this wonderful opportunity. Now let’s see what mess I can make over the next few months….

Zara x

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The Drawing Theatre: London Drawing & Spirited Bodies at St Johns Church, Waterloo

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London Drawing and Spirited Bodies Present: The Drawing Theatre

An Impression of three events including:

A Human Orchestration

Saturday 12 October 2013
St Johns Church, Waterloo
In conjunction with The Big Draw
Supported by Cowling & WIlcox

Written by Philip Copestake
October 2013

I had not done any life drawing for well over 10 years. It was the beginning of 2012 and I was having a strong mid-life desire (crisis?) to get back to it: “if I don’t start drawing again seriously now, I may never do it!

I Googled “life drawing in London” and discovered London Drawing. There was a drop-in class at Battersea Arts Centre, which was reasonably convenient for me. But what really caught my eye was an up-coming “Drawing Theatre” event with Spirited Bodies where there would be “multi-models”. “Well, that should get me back into life drawing” I thought, and signed up. I managed to squeeze in one evening drop-in class, just to get my (albeit somewhat wobbly) hand back in before the February workshop. The day – again at Battersea Arts Centre – was quite an occasion. I felt a little uncertain about throwing myself back in with such a challenge. Confronted with a group of about 15 models, it was difficult to know how to start. The temptation was to focus on one body, and to draw as one might in a conventional life drawing class. But Anne and David encouraged us to take advantage of this unique experience and try to take in the whole picture. It required a letting go. I came away from the day with a few rough sketches that I was reasonably happy with, but it was the experience itself that was something remarkable. I was certainly back drawing. But, more importantly, I had become acquainted with the Drawing Theatre and Spirited Bodies.

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And I was now a little better prepared for my next encounter with the Drawing Theatre later in the year. This time we were in the Grand Hall at Battersea. This was bigger – there were perhaps 35 models. The ornate backdrop of the room provided additional material. Anne and David are always encouraging to take in the space. To place the models in the surroundings. Use elements of the architecture to inform and drive the response on the page. I had made a conscious decision to just “go for it” this time with my art; to not be too concerned about what comes out. My drawing was freer, bolder; it spread across several sheets, and flowed from the edges. And I had my first experience of working not at an easel, but on the floor. This somehow seemed more physical – you shift your body in relation to the page; the perspective was different; and I was closer to the models. There was a real connection; an intensity that surprised and intrigued me. The large room was silent but for the sound from the large blow heaters that maintained a comfortable temperature for the models. When they were turned off at the end of each session, I realised that I hadn’t noticed their noise, and the new quietness that descended somehow seemed to add to the striking atmosphere in the room. The artists and models had been so intensely involved in what they were doing it was like some form of profound meditation.

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We finished the day with an “exhibition” of some of the work we had been producing, and what really struck me was the uniqueness of each artist’s marks. There were perhaps 60 artists around the room; all in the same room; all drawing the same tableau of models. But each and every image was different. As an artist, it was both inspiring and informative.

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So what next? October 2013 and I now find myself at my third Drawing Theatre with Spirited Bodies event, at St John’s church in Waterloo. I felt this was going to be quite different. First, the space was very different. St John’s is a Neoclassical church, with a large and open interior; high ceilings and an organ gallery at one end. The day had been billed as A Human Orchestration, and there would be sound. There were no easels. On entering the nave, each of us found a space on the floor and began to get our paper and drawing materials ready. This always seems like a little ritual – laying out the pencils, coloured crayons, charcoal… I’m never quite sure what I am going to use. As I took in the room, I did recognise the faces of one-or-two people sitting amongst us who had been models on previous occasions, but thought nothing of it; they were there to draw. Such as it seemed with Spirited Bodies events, artists are often models, and models artists. The stage – cushioned and covered platforms of various heights – was set before the altar. There were brief introductions from Anne and David from London Drawing, the vicar of St John’s, and Esther from Spirited Bodies. Then we were to begin.

Pause…

It took a moment to realise what was going on. We were, of course, waiting for the models to enter and arrange themselves on the platform in front of us, as had happened at the previous events I had been to. But then I spotted a model, now naked, striking a pose to my left. I turned to draw. Then there was another on the far side of the room, to my right. There was another. And another. The models had indeed been interspersed between us. One by one, discreetly choreographed by Esther, they rose. Calmly and confidently removing their covering of clothes they each took up a pose. I hadn’t anticipated that the “artist” just a couple of feet before me would next rise and so swiftly become a model. To be so comfortably close, to be amongst them, allowed a bold perspective to the drawing I had never experienced before. The juxtapositions; the distances; the different poses; the movement and change as a model maybe needed to shift the pressures of the pose, made for an intriguing, if not challenging, drawing experience. We drew for perhaps 45 minutes. I am never quite sure of the timing, as the focus and intensity are all absorbing. The close came as a reverse to the opening. One by one, the models quickly dressed, and returned to sit normally again amongst us. We took a break, the art was spread in front of us and we examined the work being done.

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I am familiar with the power of simple sound, but I wasn’t quite expecting what would happen next. Up on the gallery, one of the female models [whose name I now know is Christine] starts to make a powerful and evocative sound with her voice – the notes filling the void. The other models – lined up below – reply. There is some movement now, so the drawing and interpretation has to be freer – the marks on the paper somehow reflecting what was happening, both visually and aurally, among the models. They spiral inwards to form a pyramid, with Christine now joined them, and another model – Ursula I believe – at its centre, leading the “choir”. The noises – a combination of clapping, slapping, singing, phrasing, and other sounds made with the voice – A Human Orchestration – filling the church. This is a transformation. A real shift; from interpreting the form, to interpreting the experience. Sometimes difficult. What to do? What mark is that? Just make it and see how it feels!

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we share the experience again in the break – examining each other’s work laid out on the floor – you can see the progression. Some more literal, but many move now to be more abstract and lyrical.

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And so we come to the third and final “performance” of the day. Now the stage before the altar is finally used. The 20-or-so models assemble themselves into a tableau across the platforms. We have an hour, but I know that that will not be long to try to capture in some way the multitude of bodies before us; the inter-relations, the occasional shift in structure as a model has to make a move. I now work fast – eye to page, marks here and shadow there, collage of coloured paper forming a back-drop to the scene. There is music in the background, but I mostly don’t hear it.

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And then suddenly it is over. The models take a bow to appreciative applause. Five hours passed in a flash. The work is spread out again over the floor. From an artist’s perspective, it is again fascinating and constructive to see how others use their materials – the line, weight, flow of a curve, use of colour, size, collage and form. It always amazes me how, 40, 50 60 artists all make their individual marks. We may all be looking at one image – but there is a multitude of interpretations. Part of the experience is to let go of the powerful desire to come away with something that might be seen as conventionally “good”. It is about exploring, experiencing, experimenting – ultimately, about creating. It is what London Drawing do: creative life drawing.

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It was certainly another extraordinary day. And, as usual, quite satisfyingly exhausting. As the metaphorical “final curtain closes” I am always aware of a deep emotion welling up from deep inside. An emotional experience as well as a creative one. It is almost overwhelming. It is such a privilege to be part of these unique and special days. As was pointed out at the beginning of the day at St John’s, they represent a real celebration of the beauty of the body in all its shapes and sizes. But not just the physical body, but the spiritual one, too – those Spirited Bodies.

I look forward to the next Drawing Theatre with Spirited Bodies. I am sure it will offer up something new.

Philip Copestake
October 2013

Massive thanks to Philip Copestake for his contribution!

For more information on London Drawing and The Drawing Theatre

For more information on Spirited Bodies

For more images from A Human Orchestration

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London Drawing Presents: The Drawing Theatre with Paul Kindersley

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London Drawing – The Drawing Theatre with Paul Kindersley 
Shoreditch Town Hall
Saturday June 15th

By Jean Edwards
Artist, printmaker, Senior Lecturer, Education at University of Northampton

Watch a short film about The Drawing Theatre with Paul Kindersley here.

Going along to London Drawing presents The Drawing Theatre with Paul Kindersley at Shoreditch Town Hall, I knew that I would have some interesting and different experiences of drawing as I’ve been to other drawing events run by London Drawing at Tate Modern and Battersea Arts Centre.

It was pouring with rain that day and as we all arrived and gathered in the first room under Shoreditch Town Hall we could see the rolls of white paper from ceiling to floor and the materials laid out for us to use. Just looking at these made it clear that we wouldn’t be drawing with pencil on paper as in a conventional life class – all sorts of papers, scissors, tape, glue, pens were available and one of the first things we had to do was collect some materials and tools to use for the first session.

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Once we were all ready to draw two models took the stage – their contrasting body shapes and poses and the way they moved and posed at intervals was challenging and interesting. Over the first session a pattern of posing, then moving and painting onto each other and the background with black paint and posing again emerged: this inspired drawings that were dynamic and changing and forced me to abandon the expectation of a ‘finished’ drawing. Looking back it was interesting that having black lines and marks on the models’ bodies helped with the drawing – and the contrast between the white backgrounds, models’ skin and black paint worked so well together. This session lasted about an hour and we all become totally absorbed in the pattern of movement and stillness, responding to each change as it happened. Not knowing how long each pose would last made me work more quickly and decisively as the session developed.

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The next session was based around poses spread around the spaces underneath Shoreditch Town Hall. Exploring the dark corridors, we would come across sudden bursts of colour and light where models were posing, making sounds, talking and sometimes even singing. In this part of the session we could choose where to draw and how long to stay in each room – a big difference to a more traditional life class where the people drawing might stay in their place throughout. In this session I found I had change the shape of my paper, adding to the edges of it as the poses changed. I also used collage and drawing together to explore the larger shapes and the details.

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After lunch we were all back together in a large, dark room with a number of models and hanging banners. The contrasts of light and shade, having more than one model to look at and the various other props bombarded us with images to record – I could have stayed in this room for much longer! For me this room led to me thinking about the layers and views through and the patterns created by some of the lighting effects and architecture.

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The final session was again based around models posing in the spaces around the building. The contrast of the colours and models against the drab and dark spaces was notable as was the models still having some of the painted marks left from the morning. Throughout the day we were able to look at the work of the group as it developed – it was interesting and inspiring to see the huge range of responses and the interplay between the materials available, the poses and the scenarios and our own approaches. I found myself using materials and tools more adventurously and remembering how much I like collage, something I rarely if ever use in other life classes, although there’s no reason why I shouldn’t.

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A day of life drawing with London Drawing is challenging in both artistic and physical terms – I came away tired from drawing for so long and from working on the floor in sometimes awkward spaces. But I also came away having enjoyed the process of drawing in a different way, a less controlled and finished way than my usual approach. The Flickr images from the day provide a great reminder of the day to browse through and get ideas from for future drawing. Who knows where my next #Adventureinlifedrawing with London Drawing will take me….

Jean Edwards 

The next Drawing Theatre is a very special Big Draw Edition in collaboration with Spirited Bodies on the 12 October. Expect a fantastic day of multi model performance against the soaring interior of St Johns Church, Waterloo.
More info and booking here

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Life Drawing & Painting Summer Schools with London Drawing

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I joined Anne and David from London Drawing last week for my second London Drawing Summer School, this time a more conventional Life Drawing and Painting three day course in one of the grand rooms in Battersea Arts Centre. I was looking forward to seeing the contrast between this and the Creative Life Drawing Summer School I attended with them at Central St Martins at the beginning of August.
 
With a life model as its centre piece, the course ran for three days during which all the elements of painting were covered: from thinking about form and getting the basic proportions right, to tone, colour and composition, right the way through to colour mixing and technique.

 

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We spent the first day doing drawing and tonal exercises using willow charcoal, and white chalk on black paper, all the while thinking about the bigger picture of proportions. The lesson was to get the basics right before committing yourself to elaborate paintings.
 
A characteristic that I liked from a previous London Drawing course and enjoyed again here is the way they prompt you to lose any rigid old habits you might have. It’s easy to fall into a routine with artwork and forget that there are many different ways to get an image on to paper. At one point, we tried drawing using one felt tip in one hand and another in the other – an idea that had never crossed my mind before!

 

The second day focused on colour and its theory, which we put into practice using pastels. In the afternoon, we went on to a tonal exercise in blue and white acrylic. The result would become the under painting to the oil exercise that is the culmination of the course. After a brief introduction to oil colours and how to use them, we spent most of the afternoon completing our paintings before lining them up for an ad hoc gallery. 

 

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The teaching style of this class I’d describe as ‘gently pushing’ with intermittent one-on-one tuition, but essentially it allows you to roam freely, which I think is important. It wasn’t too prescriptive; I was allowed to loosen up my style and, at times, break with some of the advice. 

Just as important to my enjoyment – if not quite as integral to the course – were my fellow students. Half of them came from overseas – France, South Africa, Taiwan… – and all had quite different backgrounds. There was a furniture tailor, a car designer, a physiologist, even a journalist, all wanting to refresh their eye and find out what they could do in paint. All ages and ranges of ability were represented and it was fascinating to see the different styles of painting at the end of the course.

 

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The course certainly helped me sharpen my understanding of everything that needs to be considered when painting from life, and took me back to basics a bit which I found really useful. I wonder where the next London Drawing experience will take me?….

Written by Rosalie Polet

Life Drawing and Painting Summer Schools with London Drawing
28-30 August 2013
More info and booking 

More info and booking for all London Drawing Saturday Life Drawing & Painting

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