An artist’s diary


In March, local artist Sarah Nelson’s work “Washing Line” was shortlisted for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, which would have taken place in June but was postponed until October as a result of Covid-19. She shares her experience of submitting her work to the RA at a time when galleries are cautiously re-opening and describes below how her artwork developed.

Sarah’s diary

“Work submitted in January and received shortlist letter in March to be in Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in June.

“Exhibition postponed until autumn

“Dropped off work with RA at a pre-booked time, no queues of artists with paintings tucked under arms. Put mask on, all RA staff in masks, Front of House people in t-shirts ‘Welcome Back’ . It’s important that we get back visiting and supporting galleries. Through a side entrance to a long white arched corridor, large unwrapping tables covered in clear plastic, bar code scanned, and “Washing Line” went into the hands of the RA.

Creating the drawing

“I’ve been working a lot with pen and ink, it has great flow and is great for getting marks down on paper quickly without worry whether it’s right or wrong – spontaneous response.

“We live in Rye Harbour, the garden forms part of the Rye Harbour Nature Reserve. I was sitting on the garden table in October last year, drawing the washing line, bit of a breeze, keeping my focus on the blowing washing and not on the paper, it started to rain lightly which account for the little blotches on the paper. I stopped the drawing then. The rain blotches add interest.

Creativity during lock-down

“This year during lock-down I photographed some of the houses on our road and started drawing them up in pen and ink. People saw these on Instagram and commissioned me to draw their own homes.

“I love drawing and painting in ink, also mono printing with it. I like the unplanned results that occur from mono printing. I was using the press at the Rye Creative Centre, but obviously didn’t have access to that during lock-down.

“Nick Archer’s online classes artclassesinrye. It was a revelation to discover printing without a press, mono-printing en plein air is quite something else, dealing with the elements and making sure ink is dry on the paper before packing up .

“I work quickly and spontaneously. I might make dozens of drawings in a short space of time, one or two of which might capture something of the movement or energy of that time.

“Looking for Gallery Representation!!!”

Built a website ‘Sketch a Street’ to help facilitate future commissions.

Email if you’d like me to come and draw your home.

Image Credits: Sarah Nelson .

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