Thursday 8 May 2008

Art School Revisited #1

The twentieth of September 1965- my first day at the lovely old building, the Harris School of Art . I was to study here for two fun-packed and hard-working years.
“Our class has ten in, the boys are horrible. We had Miss Harrison first. She is quite nice but a bit of a bag”
We were made to draw, draw, draw !
“…and we had Mr. Bates who talked about drawing and we drew awful objects-all geometric.”
“We just drew a polygon/sphere thing and it had to be really accurate- he never encourages either, he made me scrub out a whole part just at the end of the lesson”

Sometimes we were sent out to draw, we drew the back streets, the flats that were being built, the bridges on the river.
When it was rainy we drew under the covered market or in junk shops- and sometimes we joined the old men keeping warm in the Museum’s reading room, the cafes and the pubs.
“Mr. Bailey took us outside to sketch- houses as planes like the boxes we’d done. It was interesting. People kept coming to look…. and some horrible yobs.”
“We went in a fantastic junk shop-there was an old man who lived rough like Steptoe in the back and says we can sketch if we want to, so we will”
“ It was snowing. Mr Bates dumped me and Anna in a junk shop to sketch and the woman brought us coffee and biscuits, and the dog to look at us!”
I was late to college one day, and peeping round the door of the drawing room, could just see one of the boys blushing madly…. opened the door a little further and realised we were having our first life class. Our model was Mrs.Goldie, an impressive mountain of a woman whose various folds of flesh re-arranged themselves when she took her breaks. We had to frantically rub out the previous configurations and redraw the whole lot each time.
For two years we drew everything- from big construction sites to the tiniest detail:

“I drew a milk bottle with a knife in it all day, but it’s amazing how many things there are to see there. Mr Bailey says it’s a little world- and it is!”

And that’s still true, when we take time to look…
Images :
Harris School of Art ; " the boys we're horrible" ; David Bates ; Reading Room ; Back Street, Preston ; Mrs Goldie. ( All drawings Caroline Johnson 1965/66. )

1 comment:

DOT said...

Many thanks for your kind comments, Caroline. I would be more than happy to add your blog to my list as I like what I see of your work - I have just got back from work bleary-eyed so will look more tomorrow. And maybe comment further. (By the way I went to Stonyhurst so know that part of Lancs well.)