30 Oct 2011
Today was very busy from the beginning. Ditty Dokter and Simon Harmer performed in the space and four student groups attended sessions throughout the day in addition to members of the public visiting the show.
Ditty began with a wonderful storytelling session. She explained how my interest in the Selkie tales corresponded to her own connection to landscape, story and identity.
Ditty is Dutch and comes from an opposite landscape to myself – the flatland’s and delta plain rather than mountains and seashore. The Netherlands, although reclaimed from the sea, have no equivalent Selkie or animal/human shape-shifters legends. But Ditty found and told chilling tales of the ‘White Women’ who rise from the mists that cling to the land. This seemed very fitting for a drawing in light. As she spoke either myself or a student drew her movement and eerie white lines wrapped themselves around her.
To draw Simon step dancing I had to reposition the projector, tipping it down to focus on his feet. This produced some problems with the projection shifting between vertical and horizontal. The eye and the hand compensate for the disparities.
Simon and I gave an initial talk describing what we were doing – the context, aims and techniques. In doing so we realized there were some important parallels – the necessity to work between technique and improvisation, to develop a necessary skill base and body co-ordination. Once more the students and myself alternated drawing Simon as he danced.
After the student group sessions were complete I worked with some of the other visitors to the show. Both adults and children were keen to perform and try the technique of drawing at the easel with the video projection. I handed out drawing boards, paper and pencils and invited viewers to participate. Encouraged to draw, focusing on looking at and drawing movement, most people joined in. This last part of the day was a lively, social event.