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Feb/March 2022. A drawing residency…

In February Gill and Joy were able to get together for a day of drawing.  Joy booked a space at Batcombe Village Hall, which was ideal as a neutral space away from their personal  workshops. The light was good and there was plenty of table and floor area for working freely. 

The residency was a day of having fun and getting to know each other better, and both artists brought along drawing materials that they enjoyed experimenting with such as inks, chalks, pastels, markers, charcoal and a range of different papers such as coloured sugar paper and large cartridge paper sheets.   The intention was not to have any fixed goals about outcomes, not to set up what must be achieved or taken forward, but just to let things happen intuitively –  the interactive relationship between the artists finding expression through spontaneous creative activity.  In this way, the main focus of the workshop was on the experience for both artists of ‘drawing as dialogue’ and ‘drawing as conversation’ (Angela S. Rogers1); a collaborative space for wellbeing and bonding as well as ‘meaningful play’2.    

The day started with simple exercises such as  finishing off each other’s doodles, leading into more substantial drawings based on our ‘inspiring words’ list (emerge, growth, explode, spill, decay, erupt etc. See Blog post for April 2021 for the full list).    Another approach was for both artists to work on the same idea individually and then pass this to the other artist to find an area of interest that could be developed further.  Throughout the day, drawings were worked on by passing them from one artist to another, so that all drawings were a record of an interaction of combined mark making. It was clear that intuitive choice was important – which elements did each artist choose to interact with on each image; which shape/colour/texture was interesting or lively enough to move forward with? In ‘Drawn Together’, this is described as creating work that incorporates multiple perspectives3 , something that is only possible with collaborative work. 

Joy:  As we have been meeting and working independently of each other it seemed appropriate to explore ideas  and see how the day would progress. We were seeking common goals and a shared visual dialogue.

Keeping to our reference points of our words ‘emerge’ and ‘erupt’, we challenged ourselves with short spontaneous mark making with different mediums, letting go of ownership.  The results were exciting and recurring themes and styles emerged.  Curved flowing lines and plant forms . We challenged this by restricting lines to angular and very different marks and patterns were achieved.

We both realised that surface pattern and decorative marks were at the core of our practice, repeating patterns and inter-linking and overlapping forms

Gill: It was so valuable to spend time with Joy, being able to respond to Joy’s work immediately and expressively. I often have trouble ‘letting go’ in situations like this and I felt that my mark making became better when I was able to be less contrived and let the materials take over.   We both seemed to easily fall into using a language of pattern so that shapes were repeated and layered up across large sheets of paper.  The overlaying of materials and patterns often produced unexpected results – small areas of interesting details, which for me, were more stimulating than the large overall drawings.   Looking at the sheets after several weeks have elapsed and there are certainly drawings where I cannot remember which elements were made by me and which by Joy, and I am surprised and delighted at this evidence of joint authorship.      

1 A.S.Rogers (2008).  Drawing Encounters

2 D.Harty and P.Sawdon (2015). Interweaving in Hybrid Methodologies 2015:

3 M.Foa, J.Grisewood, B.Hosea, C.McCall (2009) Drawn Together: collaborative performance published in Tracey:


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