Drawing the word by Alan Dedman. On Saturday the 4th of November Alan Dedman and Stephen Morris convened a figure drawing workshop at the White House, Badingham, in Suffolk. A small group of curious and determined people gathered at this historic place to grapple with the demanding discipline of objective drawing – in spite of widespread flooding in the area.

Sonja drawing at the White House
Drawing at the White House, Badingham.

Unlike other workshops at the White House, we concentrated on the clothed figure. On previous occasions we have worked from life (the nude). There was a specific focus on recall and looking at how we might translate spoken observations into text ….. drawing the word.

Short pose drawn in charcoal

The class warmed up with a series of short five minute poses, followed by poses of three and one minutes duration – ‘Bruno’ also added warmth! The sturdy German made log-burner churned heat into a sizeable, grandiose space – in which colours were illuminated with clear East Anglian light.

Pic of class at Badingham
Observational drawing

Alan Dedman demonstrated using a pencil to make measurements and how to form a drawing based on this procedure. Stephen Morris and Alan Dedman took it in turns to pose and provide one to one tuition for learners as they worked.

We considered differences between spirited, fast, intuitive drawing and careful, slow, analytical work. During the closing phases of the morning we recorded spoken observations about subject matter, re-addressing these during a tutor facilitated peer review. Learners were able to comment on each other’s work, feeding back about their experiences.

drawing made from memory Badingham drawing the word
Drawing made from memory

With Stephen sat in an armchair, the group used the following words to describe the phenomenon: structure, strong, relaxed, slumped, thoughtful, steps, stepped, expression, happy?, movement (in the figure). Other remarks were made, but the foregoing were most apparent.

Stephen in armchair drawing the word
Stepped – one word used to describe subject matter

Ruth who has done quite a lot of sculpture, saw movement in Stephen’s form. Here we could digress about phenomenology and perhaps mention Goethe, but will leave that for another time. To characterise my friend and colleague, it’s perceptive to see movement in him. Rock-like and Taurean Mr. Morris may appear to be, but he’s inclined to movement, always on the go!

Stephen in armchair drawing the word
Stephen Morris poses in an armchair, next to ‘Bruno’

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is encroaching faster than we realise. Perception is what drawing is all about. How do you characterise what you see ….. what you say about what you see then translate it into writing? that was the focus of our class; all who attended did well to negotiate new and at times precarious learning in the back-waters of East Anglia.

Drawing the word by Alan Dedman.

There will be further drawing and creative writing workshops at the White House, Badingham, Suffolk in the near future. If you would like to participate: leave your details on the enquiry form below and we will get back to you.