Review: Visual Arts Week

Category: Art

Our students and visitors were treated to an energetic and highly immersive creative week at Marlborough College, combining workshops, talks and a new exhibition ‘Extraordinary Sketchbooks’ involving invited visiting artists. 

To open our inaugural Visual Arts Week, highly regarded printmaker and author, Jane Stobart RE, inspired guests, students and staff with an in-depth, illustrated talk regarding Jane’s fascinating printmaking career. Jane discussed her dedication to drawing and printmaking, showing how her techniques aptly convey contemporary British industrial environments and those who work within them. Students and visitors were also able to view, and talk with Jane about, her keenly observed sketches, etchings and woodcut prints. 

Fine Art pupil Morgan Pollard (C3 U6) commented:

"Jane Stobart’s ability to transfer her preliminary sketches into more sustained prints, which in themselves had an intensely detailed quality to them, fascinated me from the offset of her talk, through the way in which she was able to capture moving life within her sketches."

On Tuesday, students were treated to two workshops by Fine Artist, Michael Angove. Michael initially discussed his art techniques used within his exquisitely detailed colour pencil drawings; GCSE Hundred pupils were then creatively challenged with an expressive concertina mixed-media drawing task. During the afternoon, our 6th form undertook a demanding workshop, drawing hidden objects via touch only, and successfully tackled a further task in conveying weight and texture of forms purely by the weight of pencil line. 

Gallery: Click here

Michael added: “For the enigmatic subject of art, I believe introducing students to practicing artists and designers to be vital.

"To be a part of this introduction was both thrilling and illuminating, for me and hopefully for the art students. I met many eager pupils who were inquisitive, questioning, coherent and polite. They responded well to the sketchbook tasks and quickly took up the drawing challenges with gusto.”

Each morning, painter Martin Beek braved these cold, but bright February days, to create canvases outside around the College campus, whilst intermittently chatting with many pupils who were eager to see his progress.

Martin provided a new approach to observing architecture, for his workshop with our Art scholars, via studying local buildings from the Art School windows. The challenge to capture structure and detail, despite an increasingly darkening February sky, encouraged our pupils to introduce a form of problem solving that involved adding mixed media to their process. 

Within the morning Chapel services, Rev. Tim Novis and Edward Twohig provided three thought provoking discussions that revealed the narrative contained within a selection of the historical paintings created by Pre-Raphaelite artist, Spencer Stanhope, which gloriously illuminate the Chapel.

We closed our much-valued week, with a thoroughly enjoyable talk held within the Garnett Room, by Martin Beek, Edward Twohig and myself. Our theme focused on our enduring commitment to working ‘plein air’, rather than studying nature via photography. Illustrated talks and live examples of work provided rich detail for this memorable event.

We would like to thank all the artists who have so kindly contributed to Visual Arts Week and exhibited works for our ‘Extraordinary Sketchbooks’ exhibition. 

‘Extraordinary Sketchbooks’ within the Mount House Gallery, at Marlborough College, is open on Monday 19th to Sunday 25th February, 2pm-5pm, or by appointment 01672 892411.

Jonathan Parnham
Head of Visual Arts Promotion

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