Maxime Pitchon ’19 describes the groups day observing “London everyday life and the task of documenting it on paper.”
Today, we thrust ourselves into the London art scene with a tour of the Tate Britain, learning the history of London art from 1540 to the 1960s: observing symbolism in Queen Elizabeth I’s portrait, observing 20th century sculpture, and spending time in the Tate’s great JMW Turner collection. After lunch, we took a boat on the Thames to the Soho area of London, where we walked and took the Tube to a park where we would spend the afternoon.
Drawing in the park began as a somewhat uncomfortable experience. I knew we would draw strangers throughout the trip, but I didn’t know how such a task could be completed discreetly until we walked into the square to find individuals and groups of people sitting and lying all across the grass. There, we would spend the next couple hours with only the task to draw. We sat on the grass with the Londoners and others, drawing figures near and far, people-watching, and getting comfortable with contour drawing and sketching. We had a lot of materials to explore, including fine pens and markers, chisel pens, calligraphy pens, and soft pencils. Additionally, though encouraged to draw quickly with more attention to form than detail, we were free to experiment in composition and subject. Beginning to fill our sketchbooks, we were immersed in London everyday life and the task of documenting it on paper.
The day’s theme was to observe. From studying Turner paintings at the Tate to noticing impressive English architecture, we immersed ourselves in London history and culture. From sketching teacups over breakfast to contour drawing in the late afternoon, we took our observations to our own artwork. I am excited to continue my observation and experimentation, developing and discovering more in my artwork and experience. Tomorrow, as we visit the Tate Modern and incorporate watercolor in our sketchbooks, I am excited to develop more skill and confidence to add complexity and style to my sketches.
To see more pictures from the UK trip click here.