Ruby Head

Foundation Year 2018-19

Camberwell College of Art (UAL), BA Fine Art Painting

I heard about The Foundation Year through a few friends who had been on this course and had said how much they learned and benefitted from it. Other foundation courses seemed very self-led and highly independent, but I felt that I wanted to try out a whole range of new practices and have some expert guidance before making a decision on what wanted to go on to study.

Before I came to the Royal Drawing School, I had never even had access to oil paints, let alone all the other new mediums that I was introduced to on the course. We have had workshops learning all sorts of skills; etching, sculpting the head and the figure, animation, photography, life drawing and painting. These gave me an introduction to different mediums that I would never have ever had a chance to explore otherwise. All the workshops were led by practicing artists, who guided us through the processes and techniques and offered their advice when we needed it.

The course is unique because of the amount of tutor time you are given; at least once a week I had a one-to-one tutorial with my personal tutor who was there as a support and to help me progress throughout the year. Although you have this support, The Foundation Year teaches you think independently, and to make educated decisions on your own, especially as you begin to discover your interests. It was surprising to look back, even near the beginning, and see how quickly I was developing. We were all challenged to push boundaries and to see how far we could go.

Ruby Head in the studio

What I found I enjoyed the most about the course was how much we learned each day. The days were packed with so much teaching and experimenting; even if the day was ’not for you', you still learnt so much. On personal project days there was also the freedom to bring what you had learned from a workshop into the development of your own practice and as the course isn’t very big, about 45 of us, we got to work side-by-side in our studio spaces every day - you are able to get to know everyone and experience different people’s unique way of working and their individual talents. 

The most challenging part for me is the intensity of the course. Because we were learning so much and being pushed to the limit, it taught me to seize the moment and to not care about whether I like my work, because through this I am able to critique myself. There was one moment on the course where I was struggling with a painting workshop because I love painting but I couldn’t get to grips with oil painting - I didn’t feel comfortable with its properties. However, the feeling of frustration made me lose any preciousness and just go for it! Through this I found a technique in which opened up new ways of working; it felt like a real breakthrough because the success came through the frustration and now I feel much more confident working with oil paint.

I am going on to do BA Fine Art Painting at Camberwell which would not have been possible without the support I had from the School in the UCAS application process. Because of the quality of teaching that The Foundation Year has provided me with I have seen myself grow as an artist so quickly and I am very grateful that I was accepted on to the course.