Presenting your work to an unsuspecting public is an interesting challenge. You find that strangers arrive at your door and the responsibility of explaining your work effectively to them is all part of the process. An enthusiastic approach pays dividends and in effect the artist is learning on the job through the triple tasks of making, promoting and selling their work.
Saturday morning at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art was the time and place for the Open College of the Arts study visit to the Joan Eardley ‘A Sense of Place’ exhibition. With fourteen students this was a well-attended event, the participants being attracted to an exhibition that focused on drawing and painting enhanced by photographic and archival documentation of the period.
It has often been commented upon and especially by assessors looking at student submissions that too often the best work is to be found in the sketchbook. At a time when students should be pulling out all the stops and presenting work that is filled with experimentation and confident resolutions their most successful work is buried deep inside their sketchbooks in danger of being lost or overlooked at this most crucial of times.
There are still spaces available for the study visit this weekend at the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London. Winifred Knights was the most promising painter of her generation at a time when it was difficult for women to have a career in art. Her work embraced the new modernism of the early 20th century together with the traditional concerns and draughtsmanship taught at the Slade School of Art.
Many students at first can be a bit tentative about using mixed media. Lack of confidence, a fear of the unknown perhaps or else they are just not sure how it will all turn out. Susan Askew, a student on the Drawing 1 course, has no such doubts and instead has dived straight in, fearlessly combining collage with various drawing and painting media.