On Tuesday 19 January, Year 12 art students visited the Wallace Collection, to take part in ‘Naked Bodies’, a life drawing workshop set within the context of the museum. Purcellians joined fellow A Level art students from Watford Girls Grammar School for the session which lasted the whole day.
The morning started with a tour of the museum, where Zoe, who ran the workshop, highlighted many pieces from the collection which would be good to draw from, they all featured nude figures, one was by Titian. She discussed the style of Rocco painting and the portrayal of the human body within some of the works. It was then time to explore the galleries individually and find a figure in the collection make drawings from and record observations.
After lunch a model was provided and the session moved to the learning room. The workshop was structured so pupils would make a variety of drawings, with the model holding varying lengths of pose. “We studied a range of drawing techniques and used some exciting materials,” said AS student Noah. Beginning with a blind drawing, which involved covering the paper and hands so the pupil couldn’t see the marks they were making on the paper. The workshop progressed to charcoal drawings and students covered sheets of paper with charcoal before using a putty rubber to rub out highlights. With the lights turned out, they enhanced these highlights with chalk, Zoe stressed not to draw the outline of the figure but to instead look at other lines made by the body. The afternoon culminated in drawing a longer pose, with a free choice of materials, Zoe encouraged the use of coloured pastels for this more considered and detailed study.
The pupils came back with lots of drawings to include in their portfolios, and the whole workshop fed into the A Level course nicely, providing a fitting end to the series of life drawing lessons we hold here at Purcell for sixth formers throughout the autumn term.