Drawn to Paint: Caroline Walker and Thomas Marks in conversation

Autumn Term, sees the return of the Royal Drawing School series of Creative Conversations; online dialogues between artists, curators and writers. Curated by Dr Claudia Tobin, lectures are held Wednesday evenings live on Zoom. 

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Caroline Walker is one of the leading British painters of her generation, celebrated for her beguiling paintings of women in domestic settings and – more recently – in their workplaces, whether hotels, nail bars or shops near her studio in north London. Her recent exhibition at the Midlands Art Centre (MAC), Birmingham, was the first to display any of her drawings: working documents that have become fundamental to her painting process, not least as she has moved away from photographic source material in recent years. From rough pencil sketches to large-scale charcoals, and from oil sketches to ink drawings, for Walker different graphic techniques act as waymarkers on the journey towards the canvas. This conversation will reveal the integral role of drawing in her practice: a means of practising for paint, in fact, or of puzzling out a painting on paper and of teaching its mood and composition to the hand. Of drawing towards painting, in other words.   

Drawn to Paint: Caroline Walker and Thomas Marks in conversation

'Hanging Out His Overalls, Early Afternoon, May'  
Caroline Walker, 2020, Oil on linen, 200 x 260 cm 
© Caroline Walker / Courtesy of the artist 

 Drawn to Paint: Caroline Walker and Thomas Marks in conversation
'Pencil study for Hanging Out His Overalls, Early Afternoon, May' 
Caroline Walker, 2020, Pencil on paper, 30 x 42cm 
© Caroline Walker / Courtesy the artist


Caroline Walker (b. 1982, Dunfermline) has a BA in painting from the Glasgow School of Art (2004) and an MA from the Royal College of Art, London (2009). Recent solo exhibitions include KM21, The Hague; Midlands Arts Centre, Birmingham; Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh, and GRIMM, Amsterdam & New York. Her work has been included in group exhibitions at the Whitechapel Gallery, London; Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool and Sainsbury Centre, Norwich. Her work will be included in the British Art Show 9, touring throughout the UK during 2022. Walker is represented in public collections including the National Museum of Wales, UK Government Art Collection, Arts Council Collection, Voorlinden Museum and Kunstmuseum in The Hague. She lives and works in London.   


Thomas Marks is a writer and art critic. He recently stepped down as editor of Apollo, one of the world’s leading art magazines, having held the post since 2013. He has contributed to numerous publications, among them Prospect, Literary Review and the TLS, and has written widely on historical and contemporary art – including interviews with Giuseppe Penone, Eric Fischl and others, and catalogue essays on painters such as Caroline Walker and Nick Goss. Marks is a trustee of Art UK, the cultural education charity that exists to open up the UK’s public art collections to global audiences through digitisation and storytelling. He holds a doctorate on Victorian poetry and architecture from the University of Oxford and was a founding editor of The Junket, an online magazine for essays, fiction and poetry that ran from 2011–16.