Life and how to draw it – that was the challenge at the White House, Badingham, on Saturday the 29th of April. Ten learners assembled to gain a better understanding of a fundamental Fine Art procedure.
The weather was good; one person called Lesley cycled over from Saxmundham! An assortment of poses, some an hour’s duration, some five minutes, provided opportunity to produce concentrated studies and then loosen up. There was a focus on tone (light & dark) related to painting with colour.
For the brave people who waded into painting from life, it was great to see how this informed their drawing. The age old dictum that you must ‘be able to draw before you can paint’ is questionable. In terms of creating artful, strong results the two activities feed off each other, giving a better understanding of Life and how to draw it.
Alan Dedman demonstrated how to measure subject matter and how to place areas of colour and tone over a picture surface. There were mini feedback breaks; work was displayed on two ‘washing lines’ and a large table.
The group were co-operative and worked well together – the absence of thrusting egos really helped. We had lunch in the garden, although it was necessary to keep a log burner running to maintain a comfortable degree of warmth in the studio.
The day ended as usual, with a glass of wine and tutor facilitated feedback. Charlotte said: ‘Pushed me past my comfortable, easy place – painting without lines – exquisite new skill’. Sara remarked: ‘Really enjoyed it. Felt I benefitted from the different exercises. Liked drawing then painting – tired by the end’.
Our youngest participant was 17. An A-level student from St. Felix School, for her it was good to get away from an all sciences curriculum (Maths, Physics, Chemistry) to find new ways of expressing herself. Whilst waiting for a lift, she played a piano duet with Stephen Morris in the White House.
Perhaps one of the bravest people there (and most senior in terms of age) was Sally, who hadn’t done any drawing in 40 years. Having suffered set-backs in recent times, she showed great fortitude in overcoming self-doubt, refreshing her sense of direction in the later stages of life. I felt the way I released a Peacock butterfly from the studio before the class began was somehow significant. Another opportunity to tackle life and how to draw it at the White House will be scheduled during the Summer months this year (2023).