- Thursday 12th March -
- BLOG POST
February Residency: Julienne Braham and Anthea Stilwell
Letting the Light in, Bleddfa (24th - 28th February 2020)
Based on views out of the window and views of the studio using the natural light, and when weather permitted, sketches made on short walks up the lane.
Anthea’s idea was to begin each day with half an hour stretching - some Kundalini Yoga exercises designed to clear the lymphatic system of toxins and boost the immune system. (Impressive?... It was all new to me, but thoroughly enjoyable and invigorating - I intend to carry on!) There was also some rhythmic African music to keep us moving in time. Cool!
Then we warmed up in a creative way: Positioned at our easels with large sheets of drawing paper and sticks of charcoal, we set the alarm for 4 minutes and “took a line for a walk”. This entailed keeping our eyes fixed on the subject -in this case the view through the window - but never glancing at
We did similar exercises looking at the interior of the room, swapping places after every 4 minutes to carry on with each other’s composition.
The benefits of this unconventional approach to working are manifold: to stretch ourselves in moving out of our comfort zones, to encourage us to deal with unfamiliar mark-making and draw in a decisive gestural way, to enjoy the physical moment without intellectualising or pondering, and to surprise ourselves with some quirky results!
Other exercises were using right and left hand at the same time – a different drawing tool in each, sometimes looking at the paper, sometimes not.
Much of our output during our week was using this experimental way of drawing, sometimes swapping and sometimes just staying with our own work.
These compositions are not an end in themselves but research. We may well use them to develop paintings at a later date. We thoroughly enjoyed our week in this inspiring, creative space.
“Letting the Light in”
The title was given to me as a result of what I call an “encounter”.
A few days before this residency, I was cleaning my studio at home and started on the windows which were covered in cobwebs, mould and dead flies! I had found an old bag of rags perfect for the job, but half-way through, realised the origin of the cloth in my hand and had to stop for a moment’s reflection. It was from my daughter Lucy’s (now in heaven) favourite pyjamas.
I had to apologise to her, to accept the situation, and to keep breathing! Then a tiny voice whispered “I am helping you let a bit more light in (Mum)”
So you nudged me; gave me energy and motivation and a plan for my week at Bleddfa.