Study Visit Review: OCA's Big Draw | The Open College of the Arts
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Study Visit Review: OCA's Big Draw

In October last OCA held it’s first Big Draw event with a number of sketchcrawls around the country.

Visits were attended by students in all disciplines, the first were held in London and Liverpool, Emma a photography student who braved the Thames walk “Just wanted to say thank-you for a lovely study visit, I had a lot of fun, learnt a few tricks, and no one made me feel uncomfortable about being a complete beginner with the sketching!” Eddie, OCA Course Support Adviser attended Tate Liverpool, “I really enjoyed the exhibitions and meeting the students, I enjoyed drawing in a gallery atmosphere and Priscilla chose a great exhibition to work from.”

In the weekends that followed students got out their sketchbooks at the National History Museum, Manchester Museum and OCA tutor Jim Unsworth opened his studio doors in Grantham.

OCA tutor Mark Clough reflects “We had a good and productive day at Manchester Museum. The students spent the majority of their time trying out a succession of techniques, the results of each one being discussed in order to aid understanding. The last part of the day was spent applying these techniques in a way that each student felt had some connection with their own work. Additionally, of course, we were all very pleased to meet up and get to know one another a little. There’s always something of a social aspect when OCA people get together.”

Kellie, who attended in Manchester said “I’ve enjoyed myself immensely, Mark is a fabulous tutor and was inspirational and challenged us all with wonderful exercises. I think I really benefitted from today and I think the other students enjoyed it as much as I did. Great day!”

Laura, also in attendance that day agreed “I really did have a brilliant day and highly recommend a sketch crawl to everyone.”

Students braved the Autumnal wet and windy weather at Yorkshire Sculpture Park and the National Museums of Scotland in Edinburgh. OCA’s Big Draw concluded in Abney Park Cemetery on Halloween weekend.

Summing up her experience Tracey explains “Laden with a range of papers and materials, a packed lunch, and multiple layers of clothing I embarked on my very first Study Visit. As part of the Big Draw, OCA’s Jim Unsworth generously opened his studio.

Our host explained the importance of set up, having a dedicated space where you can work uninhibited, unlike most of us who utilised dining room tables. Jim soon set us to task, introducing us to the beast, his six-year-old greyhound, Polo. Armed with charcoal, and paint brushes attached to broom handles and doweling, A2 paper fixed to the walls of the studio and the floor, we were to draw his pet, focussing on what we saw, experiencing the dog, rather than elegant portraits. The lack of control over the medium led to fluid, spontaneity. These initial drawings were critically evaluated as we all realised that we had been influenced by the material and the subject in completely contrasting ways. We discussed the importance of content, knowing when to stop, not to fiddle and to show discernment when selecting drawings for submission.

The time flew by and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.I hope to use this way of thinking and drawing when developing textiles, especially as my current project is materials led or perhaps I will use this method as a warm up exercise. As Jim says, ” There’s more than one way to skin a cat!”

Check out the gallery above and the collaborative video piece below which was taken at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Watch this space for OCA Big Draw 2016!

Yorkshire Sculpture Park – Sketchcrawl 24/10/2015 from Open College of the Arts on Vimeo.


Posted by author: Joanne
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One thought on “Study Visit Review: OCA's Big Draw

  • I really enjoyed a misty sketch crawl through Abney Cemetery. As always, meeting with other students is immensely rewarding in many ways. A huge thank you to Joanne for organising all this.

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