The human figure has been studied by artists for centuries yet it is still one of the most contemporary subjects in art; constantly reinvented, it has the capacity to reflect the ideas and values of its time. Within this context, the Figure Course provides a dynamic environment for students to develop and portray their personal vision of the figure.
The Figure course centres around the process of developing observational studies into completed artworks. Students explore different methods of representation to deepen their understanding of the subject. The course offers a creative experience where students become well informed and supported in finding their personal visual language. Alongside this practical study the class will look at a broad range of figurative artists, both historical and contemporary to examine the rich and varied language of figure painting.
Working directly from life models, draped and undraped, is a key part of the course. Subjects include human anatomy, portraiture and composition and there are study trips outside of the studio. An important aspect of the course will be the use of materials. Study will be made initially through drawing and techniques of representation - line, tone, colour and scale. Students will work in oil and acrylic paint and also learn printmaking techniques.
The first half of the course will focus on set projects that explore different aspects of figure drawing and painting. In the second half students will be encouraged to develop a personal body of work that explores a chosen theme or subject through a process of practical research and development, using any of the media available. There will be a model available throughout the personal project process. Each student will be asked to make an independent study of an artist who they feel embodies certain aspects of what they are interested in pursuing or looking to achieve.
Group discussions and the interchange of ideas with tutors and class colleagues add to a mutually supportive learning process. This encourages students to develop questioning and confident self-appraisal rather than providing or imposing styles or techniques.
On completion, students will have produced an individual portfolio of works reflecting their personal perspective on the depiction of the human body and will be able to consider the next steps in their art practice. Students on the Figure course take part in the School’s Summer Exhibition in June.