Art on the Go: February 2020

February 15, 2020 3:48 PM | Ksenia Annis

by Shirl Riccetti

Martha Carson, artist and WAS-H member, yet again, has found a unique workshop to enhance her art skills. This is her report of another very interesting workshop, with stories of “doing Art” the English way.


This Fall I decided that I needed more time than my brief trip last year permitted in order to draw in London; I have been watching the Royal Drawing School website for almost a year until they came up with a five week course I couldn’t resist: Observation and Imagination. The weather was mostly miserable, but the classes (including Anatomy and Life Drawing sessions) exceeded my expectations in spades.

I found a clean, comfortable and private AirBnB room [Figure 1], at a very reasonable price, in Shoreditch within walking distance of the School, which route was richly dotted in coffee shops and exotic bistros. Variety everywhere! Classes took place in an old warehouse with tall ceilings, wooden floors, large drafty windows, and easels that fought to stay folded. The instructors not only brought in extra supplies (paper, pastels, charcoal, draw boards, bull clips), but they gave tips on setting up a good position for drawing the model.

Figure 1. My Room

The instructors were truly involved with their students—from the young art students to an equal number of pensioners. And they were very helpful, as well as encouraging in my strange, experimental, tools and methods. We had so much to share: What we saw (the Observation part) and what was in our heads (the Imagination part). [Figure 2] Sometimes we drew and painted to music, poetry or film. We were offered help with problems during the session, and helpful critiques from colleagues at the end. I learned so much.

Figure 2. My Imaginative take on a Cup of Tea sitting on a Table

I also spent a good deal of time drawing independently. Much of the work I gave away. I loved drawing the Elgin marbles especially. [Figure 3] I donated my clothes for the trip home to make room in my luggage for Art Supplies from L. Cornelissen and Son (based in London since 1855), who were phenomenally helpful in paper selection and carried proprietary formulas of almost ever medium. These folks sold to all the great artists of Europe and they treat every customer like they are the new star on the horizon!

Figure 3. A Horse’s Head from the Parthenon frieze

I managed to get one piece in a show curated by Zsuzsanna Ardo of Artelier Ardo, entitled “No Man is an Island” as part of a public statement on Brexit. Zsuzsanna has her studio on a polar ice cap, and she writes, paints, and is a true talent that I hope to see again when she comes to New York in the Spring. I would recommend a trip and course of study at the Royal Drawing School to WAS-H members and their friends, so I would love to answer any questions that could help you make a decision. Or you could call Phoebe, at the Drawing School—tell her Martha sent you.

Happy Travels!

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