i. Christmas is here! I’ve now broken up from both school and uni until January. I will try and relax and catch up with a few admin jobs in my first week (updating my journal and website etc.) and then spend my second and third weeks off reading, drawing and visiting exhibitions. This time last year I was fumbling about trying to find direction for my work whereas I now feel much more confident. In a recent feedback tutorial Jo told me my work is in a good place to move forward next term which is reassuring and encouraging.
ii. As it was my last week in London for over a month, I decided to visit several exhibitions. Firstly: The Drawing Year End of Year Exhibition 2018 at the Royal Drawing School was a mixed bag and featured several incredible artists/artworks (such as Charlotte Ager’s stunning Orange Horse Rider). However the expressive, playful and colourful work of Veronika Peat was my absolute favourite. My making time is often limited to either being in the print room or sketching in the pub. Next year I intend to make much more time for drawing both in the studio and in situ.
iii. I was lucky enough to wander past Studio Prints, an exhibition of prints by Frank Auerbach, Lucian Freud, Ken Kiff, Leon Kossoff, Celia Paul and Paula Rego, at Marlborough Fine Art. It was a privilege to see these works ‘in the flesh’ (many of which I have pored over in books). Although none of the prints were huge, many were much bigger than expected and I particularly admired their reliance on drawing rather than technique. The Kossoff and Celia Paul etchings were particularly good.
iv. Jo sent me an email about a talk on portraiture by Deanna Petherbridge at the Drawing Room in conjunction with their current show Close: Drawn Portraits. Although I couldn't make the talk, I did go and visit the exhibition which featured portraits by Frank Auerbach, Cézanne, Maria Lassnig, Picasso, Paula Rego and others. I enjoyed the wonderful Auerbach and Picasso drawings, but a series of recent pastel drawings by Paula Rego (perhaps inspired by Chantal Joffe) was particularly fresh and exciting. The essays in the catalogue also looked excellent and would have been helpful a few months ago when writing my essay (I will pop back in the new year for another look and to buy the catalogue).
v. I finally went for a coffee with first year Liorah Tchiprout (something we’d been trying to arrange since seeing each other’s work in the symposium a few months ago). As well as discussing our practices, Liorah showed me a recent etching she’d made using sugar lift on steel. I had attempted this process back in my first year but could not get the sugarlift solution to adhere to the naturally-greasy steel plate. However, spending much longer degreasing the plate and using Camp Coffee instead of plum tree sugar lift yielded exciting results. I will buy some large steel plates and experiment further as soon as I’m back in January. It’s nice to be working alongside another figurative artist - it feels like I’ve got an ally in the print room. (We also discussed a possible group show at some point next year!)
vi. I was recently contacted by Lucy McGeown and Frances Stanfield (cofounders of London Drawing Group) and asked if I’d like my work included in a couple of books that they are producing with Ilex Press about printmaking and drawing due to be published next summer. I am flattered to have been asked and of course I said yes!