Full And Part-Time Study
Using the sight-size method, beginners work from the life model every morning, then plaster casts or portrait projects depending on experience in the afternoon. Over the full three-year course, students evolve visual and technical abilities through constant practice and the challenge of progressively more advanced projects. Two-week sculpture courses are offered at Easter with Alistair Barford, and during September with Jason Arkles. An academic year (in practice thirty weeks) is the absolute minimum for a basic training.
The Sarum Studio runs a popular six-week summer school from the second half of July until the end of August. It offers an ideal introduction to sight-size for beginners, while returning students develop new skills through the challenge of more ambitious projects. Students work daily from the life model, and cast or portrait projects according to ability. The summer school is essentially a synopsis of the full-time course.
Drawing from plaster casts teaches students how to render form through the effect of light and shadow, without the complication of colour or movement. The purpose is to convey a sense of volume through tone, or values. It is a meditation on form, through which one learns the language of light. In addition to training the eye, cast drawing fosters skills essential to portraiture, as well as an appreciation of historical sculpture.
Figure Drawing & Painting
The ability to draw and paint accurately from life has traditionally been a fundamental artistic requisite. Working from the life model promotes a discriminating awareness of proportion, gesture and anatomy, as well as an opportunity to develop technical expertise. On attaining mandatory drawing skills beginners progress to painting using a traditional palette of historically proven colours. Students also learn how to prepare canvas and grounds, and how to make paint and painting media.
Using the sight-size method, students are guided through the process of drawing and painting a portrait from life. Working under natural light, with ample space to stand back at a proper distance from the easel, students learn to render the anatomy of the head, and how to convey likeness and character. Clear objectives are set for each stage, which are explained with practical demonstrations and frequent critiques. Nick typically works with the class to demonstrate by example.