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Art Course: Drawing on the Ancient Past, with Helen Garrett

A six-week course run as part of ‘Drawing into Life, with artist Helen Garrett, Starts Thursday 16 January 2020.

During the course you will be Drawing on the Ancient Past for inspiration; from rocks and fossils in the earth to Cave Art, Celtic Art and even some Anglo Saxon treasure. Work on developing foundational drawing skills and experiment with new and exciting materials – including graphite, charcoal, grinding raw earth pigments and painting in gold. With access to some of the artefacts in the Wiltshire Museum collection, this is a unique opportunity to connect with history in a closely profound and imaginative way.

Helen Garrett – artist profile

Course runs Thursday 16 January to Thursday 27 February 2020. (Term time only – there is no session Thursday 20 February)
Cost £110, to include all materials.

Course outline:
Week 1: Material Earth
Exploring the unique qualities of rocks and fossils using raw pigments, graphite and pastel.
Week 2: Natural Forms, Fossils and Shells
Printing from Clay. Developing our prints with graphite and colour pencil.
Week 3: Archetypal Shapes Through Time
Sketching from the museum collection. Creating an abstract work of Art. Mixed Media. Collage.
Week 4: Romantic Landscapes In Art
The ‘Romantic’ Art movement – ruins and atmospheric landscapes. Drawing onto colour grounds using sepia inks and red conte crayons and pencil.
Week 5: Small is Beautiful
Painting with acrylic colour onto Linen squares. Working with colour intensity, mixing and observational studies.
Week 6: Curiosity – Drawing Into Life
Observational studies of an artifact in the collection you are interested in. Developing a further study – group reflection time.

Our need to express and communicate through drawing seems to be innate, a long tradition going back over 40,000 years to people of the ice age and before. What is this urge to ‘make our mark’ to connect with material and bridge the inner and outer world of our experience? Could it be that this working with ideas and material is essential for our evolution as human beings – the imagination, body and perception working together in a process of intense learning and expressive power?

There appears to be a deep unconscious yearning for connection inside of us that reaches for a place of reconciliation and harmony. I believe this to be inherent and purposeful – to be connected to and expressing the life force that runs in and moves outside of us. When I see people noticing and connecting with their own unique style and materials, my heart leaps. The conversation has begun. Art making can expose us to the complexity of the things that we feel and experience. We can notice how we interact with the materials, our style and choice of application and how we make our mark.

We are no different to those humans of long ago in that we seem to extend ourselves in order to attempt to communicate something or gain a greater understanding of existence. Art can shift us into a profoundly different view of time and timelessness. We realise that our imagination can hold access to all time and a vital experience of what it is to be human.

Participants will use and experiment with a variety of materials during these courses including natural inks and pigments, charcoal, printing from clay, graphite and Chinese brush. We will have access to some of the artifacts in this wonderful museum collection; this offers us a unique opportunity to connect with history in a closely profound and imaginative way.

No previous artistic experience is necessary.

‘In almost no time I was seduced into the magic of the paper and Chinese brushes and the possibility of ‘not trying to draw’ but allowing the charcoal to take the lead. The process was extraordinary. Helen’s teaching style is so refined – like an osteopath working with words and ink and feeling instead of muscles and bones.’
Andrew Carey, Triarchy Press

Helen Garrett 2019

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