This weeks episode is all about when the girls checked out day 3 of this years amazing Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival up in Berwick-upon-Tweed. As you might recall we checked out the opening day of the festival last year, and the high expectations we got from the festival this year were met in full! We saw some amazing films, some confusing ones, some cool art, and we caught up with some old friends. If this sounds like your cup of tea then give the episode a listen!
We’re back from our summer break and we’ve got a fantastic exhibition to get started up again with! ‘A Foul and Awesome Display‘ by Kirsty Harris is showing at Vane Gallery at the moment and it’s all about nuclear bombs, explosions, and testing. It’s such an interesting and kind of morbid topic and it’s explored in some very interesting ways. You can catch the show until the 28th September so if you can we’d really recommend it!
This episode continues from last week, where we were talking about our last visit to Middlesbrough and the Creative Factory arts trail on the 24th May. Here we have a chat about the opening of The Auxiliary’s brand new space in an old converted warehouse, and the lovely Hun event, ‘The Summer One’.
For this week’s episode the girls went on down to the BALTIC to check out ‘Digital Citizen – The Precarious Subject’. It’s an expansive exhibition by several contemporary artists that takes a look at what it means to be a citizen of the world in this digital era.
For this week’s episode the girls went along to the Hatton to check out one of their newest exhibitions, ‘Francis Bacon | Ellen Gallagher’, which looks at the visual links between the works of these two very different artists.
For this weeks episode the girls talk about that time they went to London in January, and when they went to go see ‘Living with Buildings’ at the Wellcome Collection. It’s an extensive exhibition that takes a look at the history of design and scientific input when it comes to the places we live and how they affect us physically and mentally – it was super interesting!
This week, myself and Alice discussed our experiences at ‘The Naked Portrait’ currently at the Laing. We would really recommend giving it a visit using the discount on their Facebook page!) and if you haven’t heard our thoughts you can give it a listen here.
In its exploration of the difference between ‘naked’ and ‘nude’ the exhibition included some examples of life drawing that I found to be truly mesmerising. During all of my education I was never given the opportunity to try life drawing (absolutely shocking for an art student) and so this is something I chose to pursue after I had graduated. I love the act of studying the human form and feel it has improved my observation skills and my decisive mark making, i.e the ability to make a bold mark on a page with confidence.
Even more importantly, my weekly life drawing classes are like therapy. For 3 hours a week I sit in a room and think only about the model and the paper in front of me. I liken the experience to meditation.
I feel this is something that anyone who enjoys drawing should try! whether you identify as an artist or not, life drawing can help you build an arsenal of skills that you will use beyond drawing the human form. Its also fun to spend some time in the presence of nudity without sexual connotations that are now common place in society today – something which can be a little strange at first but that I now find quite liberating.
As always, I would like to take this opportunity to reinforce the idea that there are no rights or wrongs in art – and life drawing is no exception! Even if you are in a room full of other people drawing the same subject, a prospect that can be quite intimidating, what you see will be different to everyone else. Your artistic eye and style will shine through in whatever you do, but more literally your viewpoint of the sitter will be slightly different and therefore so will your artwork. If you find yourself in a class will many other artists it can be very inspiring to see what everyone else produces and see how they have managed to capture the model from their vantage point.
I enjoy using colour to abstract my work. I also find something highly satisfying about ‘half finished’ pieces in which some sections of the body are highly detailed and others are left as an outline:
How to find the life drawing class that works for you:
There are a few options out there so all you need to do is consider the price, frequency, time, style and travel/distance evolved. Depending on what you’re looking for, you can sign up to courses that last multiple weeks or sessions that run on a week-by-week basis. to save you some googling I have compiled a few examples that may be appealing to you. But remember, there are plenty more out there (for example if you are part of a university the arts society may run life drawing classes).
Cobalt Studios: If you’re after a low-key life drawing experience, Cobalt Studios might be the one for you! Each evening promises to offer a slightly different experience but good music and art is a garment. This is a self lead experience with no teacher, but feel free to reach out to your classmates for advice and feedback! You will need to bring your own materials and sketchbook but boards and paper is provided. http://www.cobaltstudios.co.uk/event/lifedrawing-tickets-247259
Local Council Adult Learning: Local councils have an obligation to make sure that all of their citizens have access to learning opportunities and usually have a selection of courses available. Legally they must provide at least Maths and English level 2, but many also offer leisure courses (depending on the local council in question). Since graduating university I have completed courses in ceramics, creative writing and life drawing all of which were offered by my local council’s adult learning programme. I feel it is vitally important to use these services while they are here as, with government cuts to both education and the arts, they may not be around for much longer! By enrolling on these courses we are proving that they are valued and important and give the council a reason to keep them running! There are often discounts available too which are worth checking out! Below I have included the websites to some local council websites so that you can have a look at the prospectuses and spy any arts courses that you may be interested in. North Tyneside:https://my.northtyneside.gov.uk/category/225/finding-right-course Newcastle: http://www.newcastlecitylearning.ac.uk/ Sunderland:https://www.sunderland.gov.uk/article/12113/Libraries-museums-events Middlesbrough:http://www.mcls.ac.uk/art.html
The Lit & Phil: The Lit & Phil is an independent library in Newcastle, housing over 170,000 books, making it the largest independent outside of London. However this institution is so much more than a library; it is also a historic building, a meeting place, office, theatre, lecture hall, jazz venue, performance space and, a classroom! Classes, including life drawing are offered here so check out their website to see how you can get involved. As the Lit & Phil is independent this could be an amazing way to support one of Newcastle’s coolest venues and learning institutions. http://www.litandphil.org.uk/whats-on/2018/apr/life-drawing/
When signing up for life drawing, try not to worry too much about finding a course that is specifically for ‘beginners’ (or the level that you feel you are at), as life drawing is something that even the most experienced art master would need to practice throughout their art career. I would however suggest that if you have never done life drawing before that you choose a course that has a tutor as they will be able to provide you with some art theory and techniques to get you started.
These are just a few examples of the numorous classes that are out there!
I hope this helps you in your search for art classes or perhaps even inspires you to consider taking one if you hadn’t considered it before.
This week the girls went on down to the Laing Art Gallery to catch the amazing ‘The Naked Portrait’ before it closes in March. It explores what it means to be ‘naked’ and how that can be represented across a huge range of mediums and styles.
You can get 20% off of the entry ticket on Wednesdays and Thursdays during February by following this link. Alternatively just check out the Laing’s Facebook page and find the offer.
Hey hey, Alice here! Inspired by this week’s episode where we went along to Side Gallery in Newcastle to check out J A Mortram’s poignant and emotional photography exhibition, ‘Small Town Inertia’, I thought I’d introduce some of you to the world of film photography.
This is my main medium; a large part of my degree was photography, however it took me until my final year to delve into using film. This is probably for the best because given the nature of film: you’re not able to check your shot immediately, you’re restricted to a certain number of shots per roll of film, and you don’t necessarily have a lot of range when it comes to editing, so I’m glad I actually learned how to take and compose images first.
Here’s some stuff:
This is an example of a Single Lens Reflex (SLR) camera, and is one I’m currently trying out. IT’s a Zenit 11 which is one of the many Soviet-made cameras from the 60s which I managed to get on eBay in surprisingly good nick. This works pretty much the same as a DSLR today, but instead of having a screen to view your settings and images you need to load it with film, for which there is a tonne to choose from, and take generally no more than 36 with a single roll.
This is a roll of 35mm film which you could use in the above camera. In particular it’s a roll of Lomography 100 which is a colour negative film and currently my fave – it’s pretty cheap and the colours you get from it are just fab. Colour negative film means that when it’s developed (which you can still do at Max Spielmann’s for cheap-ish) the colours are inverted. If you were to to print them in a darkroom or scan them using dedicated software the colours will invert, giving you a positive image.
Here’s some pictures I’ve taken using this film:
This is an example of a medium format film, so named because it’s in between ‘small format’ (35mm cameras) and large format (4×5 and upwards – this is v expensive so I haven’t tried any of these one). For pretty much all medium format films you you 120 film, which is rolled onto a spool with a paper backing rather than into a light-tight canister. As such the frames can be a range of different sizes (not the uniform size of 35mm). The camera in this photo is an Agfa Isolette which I managed to get on eBay for a fiver, and it’s from all the way back in 1953 – it works amazingly despite its age! When using 120 film you get square photos (6×6), and take 12 shots per roll of film.
Sometimes these older cameras and more simple ones have no way of interpreting what the light is like, and therefore what the setting should be to get a correctly exposed image (this is obvi pretty simple to do on DSLRs and things like mobile phone cameras do it automatically). As such light meters exist, and far more modern, accurate and digital ones exist but this is my trusty Weston light meter (also from the 1950s I think?) You simply tell the light meter what the speed of your film is (like the ISO of digital cameras), point it at the thing you’re taking a photo of, and the meter will give you an indication of the apertures and shutter speeds you could use to make the photo.
Here’s a few photos I’ve taken with this camera:
There’s so much to say about photography and film general that this could turn into a small book real fast, so I might do another one of these sometime in the future. Thanks for having a read, and I’ll shamelessly plug my instagram (@alicethetriplet) so you can have a look and some of the things I’ve managed to make with film.