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Lucy Williams - What drawing means to me

Article text
Dove Cote 12” x 16” 1985 Watercolour
I discovered I could draw at the age of 10 when I drew a garden seat in perspective and all my classmates wanted me to draw one for them. From then on I wanted to draw all the time At age 13 I was one of the few pupils from the grammar school chosen to attend Hornsey art school on Saturday mornings to draw from the antique which was a discipline followed in art schools at that time.

After I matriculated in 1948 I attended Art College for the National Diploma in design course specialising in illustration. The emphasis was on drawing precisely. This was the 50s and the Neo Romanticists were our main influences and they could draw, in those days, with dip pen and ink. We had to go out drawing in London. Drawing fixes images in your mind and I still remember how St Pauls stood up amongst the flattened buildings all around. Houses were open to the sky with staircases hanging in the air. You need to see things clearly when drawing with pen and ink and you can’t rub out. We studied anatomy, architecture, botany, animals at London Zoo, museums, looking into things deeply so that our drawings were not superficial. I wrote my thesis on Aubrey Beardsley because I liked the quality of his line drawings.

Drawing seems to me to be an aspect of curiosity, a way of exploring the world around us…how things are constructed and how they work. After qualifying I enjoyed teaching art and craft for 30 years for my living.

Once I retired I went back to Art College as a mature student and studied for a B A. Honours degree in Fine Art. It was not enough on that course to draw with pen ink or charcoal. I did huge pieces 4’x6’ using all those plus caustic soda, glue collage singeing to make rough edges, scratching out…… self expression and freedom were important then. One of my main influences was Anselm Kiefer about whom I wrote my dissertation.

Now I draw as design and research to inform my pictures and printmaking and also, as always, for pleasure.