Student Spotlight: Drawing Course and Figure Course

Saturday,18 February 2017 in  classes, spotlight, students

This week's Student Spotlight features Drawing Course and Figure Course student, Elise Ashby.


Tell us a bit about yourself:

I graduated as a Philosophy masters student a couple of years ago and had been living and working in Cumbria since. I realised I wanted to make art more of a focus and decided to move to Edinburgh and to go back and study. I’m currently at Leith three days a week with the One-Day Figurative and Two-Day Drawing courses.

Why did you choose Leith School of Art and this course in particular?

I first heard about Leith after reading about an exhibition in Cumbria organised by some former students.  I then signed on to a portrait drawing workshop with our Drawing Course instructor Jane Couroussopoulos. In one day I felt that I’d learnt hugely, and that Jane’s thoughtful style of teaching and the welcoming learning environment of Leith were exactly what I was looking for. It also really appealed to me that drawing could be the focus of a course, not as preparation for painting, or as a technical skill with particular end goals, but something to be explored more open-endedly on its own terms.

What has been your favourite project so far?

Possibly the very first project we did. Jane had set up a monumental still life in the centre of the studio, which initially looked very unappealing to draw. It was a mass of largely awkward objects such as extension cables & ice cube trays placed in a rectangular formation on the floor. We were encouraged to treat the whole collection of objects as though they were a single entity, like a Richard Long sculpture/ installation, and to abandon what we knew about the objects individually. It was a very challenging first week, but also a really good starting point. It taught me that you can find your own way into any subject matter which was quite disinhibiting.

What are you working on now?

With the one-day figurative course with Alan McGowan, I’ve recently started oil-painting, so I’m really enjoying that as a new way of working and I want to develop that further. I’m also working on a group exhibition with the Urban Sketchers in Edinburgh.

How did the course help you to develop as an artist?

In so many ways, but most importantly it’s giving me the tools and confidence to continue improving independently beyond the course, which I think will be really helpful going forward.

What has surprised you most about your Leith School of Art experience?

Every week I’m amazed at the variety of results and approaches to the same task within the group. It’s a real pleasure to see other student’s personal language come through and develop with each project we do.

What’s next for you?

I’ve applied for the printmaking course at Leith for 2017/18 which I hope will build on and give new direction to everything I’ve learnt on the drawing course. Apart from that I just want to keep improving, to clarify what interests me, and keep expanding with new ways of working.


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Course Spotlight: General Drawing & Painting, publish : Friday, 23 11 2018 Spectrum - Spring 2018, publish : Tuesday, 20 03 2018