Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Artist-in-Residence at 'Under One Roof'

Last week, I took my sketchbook to Manchester Art Gallery, to do something slightly different as part of my residency. 

The 'Under One Roof' research project has been looking at all the different ways in which people live together in our modern society, whether as house-shares, families, lodgers, returning to live with parents, co-ops etc and how that impacts on the quality of their lives and their relationships. I know lots about it now, because last Wednesday, I spent the whole morning sketching the presentation which marked the project's end. 

On the train there, I felt like having a bit of fun to warm up so, instead of a normal sketch, I did a semi-blind contour drawing, which basically means that you don't let yourself look at the paper, only at the subject, except when you need to re-position your pen. I let myself look for adding the colour though:

I arrived a little early, so I had 10 - 15 minutes spare, to stand on the street and record the outside of the gallery before I went in. Luckily it wasn't raining:

Inside, there was stress in the air. The team giving the presentation were huddled around the computer at the front of the room. Something wasn't working! The audience began to arrive and were given coffee. I began to wonder if I would be drawing worried academics all morning...

Luckily it was sorted in the nick of time and we began. I originally found a seat at the front, then realised I was better further back, where I could see the audience as well as the speakers. 

I think this is my favourite one from the morning, for capturing the flavour. The man in the foreground arrived late, then kept changing position as he 'settled'. He did me a big favour by filling a pregnant space in the composition, but also by adding a sense of 'life' by his ghostly presence:

It was all really interesting. I tried to capture key points which stuck in my mind and weave them around the images. The graph in this part of the presentation was about how people use shared / private spaces: 

Some of it was quite funny, because it was based on case studies, so was often anecdotal. I remembered the issue of grime in bathrooms and kitchens, from when my brother once lived in a shared house. He got so fed up, he employed a cleaner, which only made things worse, since that completely stopped people cleaning up after themselves! Apparently lots of sharers leave each other notes complaining about mess, rather than deal with it face to face.

Some people embraced sharing though, actually choosing it over living alone, rather than being forced into it through financial necessity; others became prisoners in their rooms. There was also talk about the embarrassment of inviting visitors into a shared space, when the house is full of other people's drying underwear! 

It was a really intense morning: sucking up all this interesting information, but also concentrating really hard on trying to draw everything at the same time. I was delighted (and a little astonished) that I managed to fill an entire 2m sketchbook. 

I laid it out on one of the tables at the end, so people could see what I had been up to. They were all really interested and it definitely added something slightly theatrical to proceedings, bringing people together to interact with one another in a slightly less usual way. 

Here's what my book looks like, with all the work running together:

The morning was pleasantly rounded off with a very tasty buffet lunch. I probably should have drawn that too, but I was hungry! I reckon I earned it.


Barbara said...

Lynne...I love what you do with these fold out journals and I was wondering whether you get to keep the books or do you leave them with the group involved?

Balaji Venugopal said...

Wonderful sketches and I loved your notes.

Lynne the Pencil said...

Thanks guys :-)

Barbara - this is part of my year long residency, so all the books will be collected together for an exhibition at the end (hoping to have at around 40!). Ultimately though, I will keep them all, I send scans of the work to the Morgan Centre professors that I work with though.

Carola Dewor said...

Wow, I'm absolutely impressed! Your drawings are full of live, simple beautiful! And I admire Your ability of concentration.

Lynne the Pencil said...

Thanks Caro :-)

Barbara said...

I jumped back thru your links to the beginning of your residency journey so I have the full picture now. I also got the speech from my sweetie, on what a 'residency' is! Not sure where I've been! Anyways, I only started drawing in February so just catching up with your blogs. I have really enjoyed your sketchbooks on the other site too. I vowed I would stay away from drawing people at least this year but you have made it so much fun that I am going full tilt! ...Looking forward to your book...

Lynne the Pencil said...

That's brilliant news Barbara!

I am doing a blog later this week with more about the sketching workshops I ran for my residency project, which you might find useful - we did blind contour drawing of people, also great fun! There are also a few workshop ideas in the blogs about my book - see the Sketching people label on the right.

Good luck!