Drawn to Life: workshops at The Artistry House for The Big Draw Festival

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Above: A drawing workshop participant eyes up her chosen plant specimen. We referenced John Ruskin quotations as thought provoking mottos within the sessions.

I was super pleased when The Artistry House people asked me to host  drawing workshops with them, for The Big Draw in October 2019, together with The Friends of Winckley Square.

 The Big Draw  is the world’s largest drawing and visual literacy festival and this year its theme ‘Drawn to Life’ celebrates  the benefits of being actively creative, to make positive change and improve wellbeing. The festival brings people together all over the world, to champion the ever increasing evidence, both anecdotal and academic, that a more creative life really can improve your health. Our sessions were inspired by nature and we took up John Ruskin’s approach to ‘drawing as a way of seeing’.

Drawing as a way of seeing”

Like Ruskin, I believe that drawing can be a disciplined, intensely mindful practice. Its a way to learn directly through observation of the world in all its inter-connected complexity, by and for oneself, rather than to only learn about it at second hand, from the distance of written language or as mediated by the education system.

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Live art demonstrations and hands on drawing sessions took place throughout the afternoon.  Artists of all ages, with a wide range of previous experience, from novices to art professionals, took part.

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Sketchbook page. Fiona Candy.

The Artistry House guests joined in spontaneously to observe nature, react and respond to what they saw, by drawing. We worked with colour and the range of media provided. Differing approaches were encouraged and an openness to experimentation allowed exchanges of skill and experience. The beautifully restored interior of The Artistry House, and the many artworks and objects on display,  enforced a sense of creativity as a way of being.  There was a connection to nature and to each other, made through drawing … as the mellow autumn sunlight streamed in.

A restorative, inspirational afternoon.  Thank you to everyone who took part.

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Above and below:  intense observation, the ‘cherry blossom’ gaze.

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Special thanks to Uzma Padia for her assistance and to all at The Artistry House.

See our event on The Big Draw’s website here

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