Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Drawing our way through lockdown at BARA and videos on Vimeo

Well. Lockdown has been BUSY! I had grand plans of completing a large full length portrait drawing which I had started in the beginning of March. I rolled it up and brought it home, along with all the materials, paper and canvas that I thought I'd need for teaching and painting over the following weeks. Not a chance!! First, the portrait is over 7 feet tall. Which is taller than my ceiling. But as it turned out, size was the least of it. Where was the TIME?? 

Lockdown arrived during my Spring term, and a small number of students had decided to stay at home from mid March (a week earlier than the start of lockdown). In order for them to be included in the weekly class, I did a very rough video outlining what we'd be doing in the studio that week. Little did I know that that was The Start Of Something. I'd decided that, while all my classes immediately transferred onto Zoom, that might not be enough. What if the internet couldn't cope? What if students who live in the countryside have trouble with their connections? 

My Saturday morning Zoom class, which includes students from Ulster, Ireland, Egypt and Dubai!

So I made the obvious decision - all demonstrations would have to be made in advance, recorded and sent to students, so that if the internet was poor on the day of their class, they could see what to do, how to do it, and use What's App to send progress shots during their class. 

Has it worked? You bet it has! 

Has it been time consuming? Completely. 

But, I couldn't do it on my own. My son, who is furloughed and isolating in my house, became Chief Editor. A post he didn't choose, but is resigned to! He's very good at it. 
I now have a large collection of videos on Vimeo, freely available to all. So far, we've done over 20 videos. You can find them here: https://vimeo.com/juliedouglas

After 4 weeks, I decided to go back to my studio, which allows me space to do some drawing. After 11 weeks, with an hour here and an afternoon there, in between filming and Zooming, I finished the portrait drawing. Not 11 weeks of drawing, I hasten to add! 

And the students...? They've been AMAZING. They've worked harder than ever, frequently staying at their drawing boards long after the class is over, and cheering each other on over Whats App. It's been a rewarding experience, and many have said that the drawing and painting has helped them focus and think about nothing, except their art. Which is just the ticket, in uncertain times. 

For upcoming workshops, both live and on Zoom (with full instructional videos) please email julie@juliedouglas.co.uk

For new class information watch here:

Portrait workshop 13 - 17 July
Oils workshop 20 - 24 July

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