The Drawing Year 2021
MusB Music, University of Manchester
Drawing is a way for me to express what I cannot verbalise; a way for me to manoeuvre through the depths of ideas, feelings, musings and observations and pull them to the surface. Having a background in classical music and ceramics prior to The Drawing Year cemented my practice as multidisciplinary; applying to The Drawing Year was subsequently an attempt to disrupt my practice, actively unlearning what I already knew to then rebuild it on stronger foundations and centralise new ways of seeing, with drawing at its heart. As a former pianist, I recognise that with practice comes muscle memory and this is exactly what The Drawing Year has strengthened – being given the luxury of time dedicated to drawing in different places, moods and times of day pushed and pulled me in directions I never knew I’d venture towards.
Dilip Sur’s Life Drawing course (which I took twice) opened up a world of drawing the feeling of a figure, considering emotion as part of the figure’s landscape as well as movement. The considerably shorter poses in his class cut the amount of time I spent agonising over proportion, and instead instilled in me a practice of letting go. This completely freed up my drawing, building a huge interest in drawing and transcribing movement, much like transcribing music onto paper.
Drawing a Story surprised me the most with how I was able to immerse myself fully into some really wonderful texts and lift, in my case, oblique references I empathised with and explore them further throughout the day. The tutors Sarah Pickstone, Mark Cazalet and Thomas Newbolt encouraged us to tackle really large-scale drawing, essentially set-dressing the life room and models, willing our collective imagination into life for the day and inspiring some amazing whole class conversations.
Equally as impacting was the City Gardens and Greenhouses course, which introduced drawing landscaped, more natural surroundings into my repertoire. I learnt above all else of the patience and perseverance of drawing in all kinds of weather, but also noticed the sheer musicality of drawing outside with all its rhythms and timbres.
My post-Drawing Year plans are to continue exploring the intersections of my practice, hopefully reintroducing sound and performance as an engine towards collaborating with other artists.