“Spires, Stones & Gargoyles”

The first day of the 2013 ISSP Art masterclass allowed us to enter York Minster on a bright and sunny morning.  We briefly studied artists such as John Piper, looking at their interpretations of the Minster for inspiration on how to sketch our images. Using observational drawing, we found a spot inside the Minster and drew on an A3 piece of paper in pen in our area. We were not allowed to use pencil so that if we made a mistake we had to expand upon it and find a way of making it look visually attractive. We were also told to focus on the main shapes of the building, like the arches and stain glass window outlines, rather than the intricate shading and details. This was a great experience because it gave us as students the freedom to choose what to draw and also get to know other people along the way.

The second session was at The Mount School in the art studios. I liked this because there was a lot of space and a wide choice of media to use. We could also see their student’s pieces on the walls for extra inspiration. In this session we each had a huge canvas to remake our sketch onto and we were given photographs for extra help. I’ve never used a canvas or piece of paper this big before, so it was very new to me and a great experience to be able to work on something this big, kneeling and standing on your tiptoes, and stepping back every so often to view your work, to get everything in place and onto the canvas. The biscuits and drinks we were given on our break were a welcome treat!

Finally the last session, again at The Mount, we continued to work on our canvases. I was slightly worried I wouldn’t finish my piece because oil pastels, chalk and charcoal were the media that I had been using, and took a while to cover the canvas. I began to include acrylic paint on my work, to define the shading and also cover more space, which worked especially well for the pillars and big features around the edges of my painting. I used sponges to blend the paints in better, and then went over the paint in charcoal for little details like bricks. The teachers helped a lot by advising me on shading techniques and what media to use, and they were very friendly and approachable.

All in all I would love to do this experience again because not only it was very fun, but I can include my artwork in the GCSE coursework. I am very grateful to be chosen to do these master classes and would like to thank the teachers very much for all their help!

Aimee, Yr 10