Transforming Observation: Dreaming, Memory and Imagination (Online)

Through drawing, the ordinary and close at hand can become extraordinary. The more we look, the more everything reveals itself to us as unexpected; even the laces on a pair of boots, in the madness of their loops. This course will present playful and surprising encounters to enliven the way we draw, even when we need to work within the limitations of self-isolation, the imagination remains free. For some artists, the vital spark in their drawing comes from the tenderness of attention in sustained observation, such as the way in which Morandi transformed tin jugs into rhapsodies of matter, air and light. Whereas for others it comes from a strength of internal vision that transports the close at hand to another imaginative realm, like in Goya’s The Witches, where observations of his own aging body were turned into scenes of comic terror. Mythical paintings have often been put together in the prosaic surroundings of artists’ homes. We can often see the faces of everyday people brought in to stand for characters like Mary Magdalene, and the settings tend to mirror the landscapes surrounding the artists who painted them. This course encourages a playful approach to working from life and will offer strategies for developing meaningful images from everyday subjects, as well as from poetry and fiction. Students will combine observation of their surroundings with props, sound, touch and memory to create something with personal meaning. This could involve dissolving the walls of the room and (like an artist such as Paula Rego) call on memory and imagination to make work or it could simply be the search for something expressive in the depiction of what is seen (as in an artist like de Kooning). We will encourage one another to take creative risks and open new approaches to our drawing. Open to all levels.

NHS staff receive a 20% discount; to apply participants must submit proof by emailing a photograph of their NHS staff badge to admin@royaldrawingschool.org before booking a course. 

Full-time BA students studying for a degree in Fine Art receive up to a 75% discount. Those studying on design or applied arts degrees may also be eligible on a case-by-case basis. Student ID and proof of enrolment must be submitted. Please email a picture of your student ID to admin@royaldrawingschool.org and then call the office to book your place.

Primary and secondary school teachers who teach art receive a 50% discount; to apply participants must submit proof in the form of a letter from their head teacher or the head of the art department. Please e-mail a scan of this letter to admin@royaldrawingschool.org before booking your place and then call the office. 

Individuals on job seekers allowance receive a 50% discount; to apply participants must submit proof that they are currently on the job seekers register. Please send this letter to admin@royaldrawingschool.org before booking your place and then call the office. 

Postgraduate alumni of the Royal Drawing School receive a 50% discount. 

Individuals who receive disability support are eligible for a 50% discount; to apply participants must submit proof that they are currently receiving this allowance. Please email a scan of your letter to admin@royaldrawingschool.org and then call the office to book your place.

Tower Hamlet and Hackney residents are eligible for a 25% discount on courses at Shoreditch; to apply participants must show proof of living in these boroughs in the form of your most recent council tax bill. Please email a scan of your letter to admin@royaldrawingschool.org and then call the office to book your place.

Individuals over the age of 60 may apply for a 10% discount on courses at Shoreditch; to apply participants must show proof of being over 60. Please email a picture of your ID to admin@royaldrawingschool.org and then call the office to book your place.

All of our course rates are subsidised and we also offer a comprehensive concessions scheme. View all course fees and concessions.