Session 01: Talk by Professor Stephen Farthing

Plan Du Dessins by Stephen Farthing after Harry Beck. 
Image from http://www.stephenfarthing.com/project_03/index.htm

We were lucky to once again be able to begin the course with a talk by Professor Stephen Farthing, the Rootstein Hopkins Research Chair of Drawing at the University of Arts London.

Below are my rough notes from the talk:

A discussion about drawing in its broadest sense, Across disciplines. Sketching as thinking
What is drawing? It is part of a domain of two-dimensional representation
- Part of The kingdom of writing - Part of The kingdom of notation

PSF did a drawing project with the Laban centre
Where dancers performed drawings like musicians read music, just as there is notation to describe how acrobats perform and high diving

1. First image: Picasso drawing aged nine. Typical for nine year old. Some mistakes and not particularly confident
2. Second image from Malaga art school, Uses an applied system of measurement and proportion, tone, light and dark etc. A very adult and competent result, an exercise in learning the craft of rendering.
3. Stephen Farthing. A Drawing from his Sketchbook discussing drawing. Includes writing notation and drawing. Maps are mixture of pictorial and conceptual imagery.
Photography and Sundials can be considered to belong to the field of drawing.

Because they are a two dimensional record of a multi-dimensional event

Question for us: Can a drawing be three-dimensional? Can it be spatial?

4. Egyptian drawing, 3.5 million year bc Called an Ostricon and ostrica (plural)
They Drank beer and practiced drawings their images are full of humour.
5. Angel Fish drawing also Ostrica,
Exercise to describe something in as few lines as possible. Cow drawings begin from ear and go to to toe and back. Its all about: Simplicity, Iconographic Elegant and eloquent depictions
Egyptians were complex visual communicators (hieroglyphs)

6. SF sketch of drawing. What is a sketchbook? A place where you can harvest and collect information like camera. A mix of writing and drawing, Drawings of and about drawings (Reflexive activity). A place where you can keep and archive images.

7. Benjamin Wests sketchbook from about 1802. He was wandering around drawing things of personal interest. Sketchbook popular at this time as travel became more popular. It was used like a journal
8. Drawing by Turner. Stormy sea drawings reflected on same page, from Turner Archive in Tate Britain
9. Turner sketchbook from journey to France, from the Louvre. Humans have a compulsion to record events. Captain Cook brought tattoo to England, is this a form of sketching?
10. Sketchbooks are private things for oneself as a reminder. John Mills was a gold prospector who recorded his travels. Book in Sydney.
11. Sketchbook page by Jocelyn Herbert
Costume design, Film IF by Lyndsey Anderson, Research for sets and props
11.1 Two live snakes, one dead snake JC used sketchbooks to note dates and recipes
12. Sketch of dog
Amazing - Almost one line very clear awareness of structure
13. Snake drawing here?

We must ask why are we here at Chelsea? To increase our ability to have a creative impact in the world
[You do have to enjoy it !]

14. JH: Sketch of pianist, music for the film 'Oh Lucky Man'
15. Book of Derek Jarmans sketchbooks and drawings
He studied history and English and then studied Art at the Slade. Kept Sketchbooks from his time as a student
16 Collage
17. Sketches for Anya's Gala. Shows how sketchbooks become a personal history. Keepers of sketchbooks recognise their importance as historical document.
18. Sketching as Ritual. Jarman made his own books. They acted as his private world, studio and workspace
19. Derek Jarman: Corf Castle and storyboards. Jarmans books are in the BFI archive.
20. Derek Jarman: Three minutes to midnight, a Cold War response Domesday clock
21 Books about Jarmans garden in Dungeness. Included pressed flowers.
22. He drew page after page of blue towards the end. Not just about drawing. Can be about colour

Sketchbooks can be rehearsal spaces
Analysis of the subject is the most important thing to do…
Thanks again Stephen for another fabulous insight into the subject of Drawing, Sketching and Sketchbooks.

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