We’ve just arrived back from another lovely trip to Oban with a mix of second, fourth year and Master’s students. Now in its sixth year, this trip provides students with an opportunity to not only bond with their peers but to also leave the studio and focus on drawing and research carried out on location.
In a place like Oban you have to come prepared for any weather as it changes all the time. Being outside and experiencing a new place in a very physical way through the cold, sun, wind and rain can be challenging and often has an impact on the students’ drawings which in return are full of personal emotion ranging from joy to frustration and display lots of evocative atmosphere. Narratives of people interacting with the town and landscape fill sketchbooks and allow students to discover new stories and build a rich source of material to further develop.
This year our second year student Hannah Riordan reflects on her trip:
On the first main day in Oban we selected a point at random on a map and had to go and draw in that location. I was given an area surrounded by road works and fly tipping: Quite different from the boats and coastline I had envisaged filling my sketchbook with! I ended up drawing some cones that surrounded the road works site. This proved to be more exciting then I had first anticipated. It was interesting to observe the patterns the cones had been arranged in. I then climbed over a wall to be a closer look at some rubbish that had been left there. A rusty washing machine sat there surrounded by plants and flowers. I found the juxtaposition between these two things surprisingly intriguing! It then started to rain so we went to the Oban chocolate shop, which for me has to be the highlight of the whole four days.
We also spent a day exploring the islands. We chose Lismore and left it until the afternoon to visit. When we got there we realized that everything we wanted to visit was too far away for us to get back from in time for the final ferry. So we sketched in the middle of a muddy field surrounded by aggressive cows and an excitable beagle and thought to ourselves “at least its not raining.” I started on a watercolour landscape when the heavens opened. We decided to return to the ferry port waiting room to shelter from the rain. Our group had a sing along whist drawing each others tired and slightly damp faces.
All in all Oban was a great experience. I really felt like a got to know my course mates better. It was also refreshing being able to just draw and not worry about the outcome or deadlines.
And finally, a few more images of crits, drawings and fun at the hostel.