Wednesday, October 3, 2012

6 month Residency at the Royal Hibernian Academy

I moved into the studio in January 2012, coming from the below zero temperatures of my previous studio in Henrietta street, I couldn't believe my luck. The charms of Henrietta Street could never compare to the luxuries of a heating system...

Purpose built studios in the extension of the recently refurbished RHA, consideration of the artists needs are taken care of. Storage, sink, running hot water, access to easels and tables, and shared kitchen, library and showering facilities! And most importantly- a lift! 4 studios circular the large studio/workshop area.

The large studio holds drawing sessions twice or so per week. Around 30 artists on each day, work from 2 models. I've attended these sessions for over 3 years, so the familiarity made it easy for me to settle into my new studio, by both having previous knowledge of the space and knowing a few of the people attending. There's a mutual respect during these days, between artists in the studios and the sessions... Trying to keep quiet and also leaving the studio during their break times. I realised quickly that I go in and out of the studio constantly- tea, toilet, lunch, tea, toilet, tea, tea, tea.... Need to cut down on tea!!! It's quite a privilege having life drawing at your disposal 2 days a week, and I take advantage as much as I can and get drawing.

Other workshops facilitated by RHA members happen intermittently, these are a real bonus! A little bit of ear wigging throughout the day, and chatting to everyone on their breaks and you get a little taste of what's going on in the workshop! It's always interesting to see different approaches to painting and how it's taught.

Towards the end of our residency, we- the residents- put on another Open Studio. In the early months we held one for the Friends of the RHA. This was a great success, as it was an opportunity to meet visitors to the RHA and introduce ourselves to a new audience in a more informal manner. As with every residency, it's what you put into it, and our group was quite active and made the most of its central location and people's curiosity!
During my time in the RHA, I put on a drawing show at Draiocht, and also completed a detailed Self-portrait in Oil Paint. Both of these were a departure from my usual, and also a bit of a challenge. Again, I feel that's one of the benefits of taking on the studio, I was willing to divert slightly with what I was making and was guilt-free about doing so! The set-up of the studios is so comfortable that it's easy to focus and get stuck in! Inspiration is everywhere, from the people you meet to the quality and diversity of work exhibited in the galleries.

I'd do it again in a flash! ......and did I mention the Craic?!

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