Gary Embury’s workshop (21st July) was focused on realising the physical control and limitations we have as reportage artists. Being on location has its challenges with weather, movement, time and space, and documenting that can prove challenging. We had several different mini workshops throughout the day which tested and trained us in different ways, with the ultimate point being that when you are in control of the work, you realise how much control you do have.
We started at Topolski Studio and Gary introduced us to the idea of the Drawing-Peloton, as used in cycling, but we were to rest our sketchbook on the person’s back in front of us, and at a marching pace, record and document as we went, with the leader occasionally falling back to join the end of the queue. A quick practice of the Drawing-Peloton in the Studio, followed by a quick warm up sketch around the South Bank and it was onto Hungerford Bridge to do our first Drawing-Peloton.
Marching in line, documenting a constantly changing city-scape, with the physical limitations of the Peloton was a great challenge, and some really exciting drawings were produced, albeit their abstract nature. We then made our way to Charing Cross train station, where we were briefed to document the flurry of the crowds, the juxtaposition of solid architecture and organic masses of the train station. Having two very different subjects that require their own forms of observation made for some great drawings. Following on we made our way down to Trafalgar Square and then performed the Drawing-Peloton whilst snaking around the grounds of the square, recording twisting architecture and enlarging sculpture coupled with laughing, photographing and some rather confused looking tourists.
After having lunch we head towards Piccadilly Circus where the challenge was to record a 360 degree view of the area (photos pictured). We were next to the fountain of Eros, so there was a lot of pedestrian traffic and attention to deal with whilst running your eye around and around this landscape, picking out the negative space and the iconic shapes of the skyline. We all produced some really successful drawings there, really trying to engage physically the scale and density of such a place.
Afterwards heading to China Town to draw with our feet, we taped the pencils or pen or brush to our shoes and documented the bustling streets of China town. Obviously grabbing loads of attention and a great physical challenge, this exercise produced some great drawings, some rather abstract but some beautifully informative. And finally – heading back towards the Studio, we encountered Hungerford Bridge again, and did the Drawing-Peloton one last time. The difference in accuracy and legibility of the drawings was significantly improved since the first set in the morning.
We then headed to the studio, reviewed the work and prepared for an evening of poetry.
The first drawing is mine, was a great experience.
Edwood Burn 2014