ChrisWoodArtist in Residence : Portsmouth Grammar School

“Blackboard Drawing 09” Chalk on A1 Black sugar paper.  © chriswoodartist all rights reserved 2012

There is a tenuous link to today’s image – I am back in education mode and was thinking about blackboards (like all good teachers do) and remembered the drawing that I made a few years back ! I’m not sure the subject matter is entirely appropriate but she was an excellent model !

Yesterday, I had a meeting to discuss my residency at Portsmouth Grammar School and the good news is – I can move into the studio today ! It will be fun juggling what I do and keep in each space – I currently use two rooms at home as studios and I have my main studio 5 minutes walk down the road from the house. The Grammar School and my 4th (albeit temporary) studio is about 10-15 minutes walk from my house, so I won’t be using my car, burning all that fossil fuel or contributing to the Pompey pollution  !

For those of you that have read my PROJECTS and or NEWS page – all this is old news and I apologise fot repeating myself (but then I was/am a teacher).

The residency will explore our relationship with architecture, in particular, I and 35 year 10 pupils will explore, the architecture of Old Portsmouth. Linked to this will be Mapping and Movement. We have booked St Thomas’ Cathedral for the BIG DRAW on 8th, 9th & 10th of October and will create a number of artworks which will be exhibitted in the Cathedral on the final day. For those of you that haven’t heard of the BIG DRAW – this is an event that takes place in the UK each year and its a nationwide initiative to celebrate, publicise and promote the practice of DRAWING and there are 1,300 events between 1-31st October !

In the build up to the BIG DRAW, I will be working in the studio at PGS (Portsmouth Grammar School) and working alongside the pupils and preparing a wide and creative response to the theme. We have discussed a number of possible outcomes for the BIG DRAW and my main aim is to encourage the students to be imaginative with their ways of working and their choice of media. I would like to get them out of the school and drawing buildings from direct observation. I would like them to consider the entire built environment, whether it’s 15th century or 21st century, iconic, vernacular, hidden, forgotten or abandoned. The concept of mapping and movement is very important in terms of town planning and we will investigate how the environment is used, by whom, when and why. I will also encourage the students to consider things like information graphics and the role this plays within today’s urban environment.

So its a broad canvas – but it will be fun !

After the BIG DRAW I will continue working in the studio and will produce a body of work for two exhibitions – one in the school, which will feature the work of the students and myself. I will also have a self indulgent exhibition in the GASP GALLERY at ARTSPACE Portsmouth, where I will showcase my own response to the residency.

During the residency I will chart the progress and publicise it with this blog. I also aim to produce a book – but that’s another story.

Cheerio for now – I must start to assemble some bits and pieces for this afternoon, when I officially move into the studio. More news and drawings to follow – in the meantime look at the PROJECTS page of this site ! Please feel free to make any comments, suggestions or helpful hints !!

About chriswoodartist

painter, print-maker and illustrator


  1. shall sendd this to my artist grand daughter in the UK and see if she participated in the Big Draw

  2. Lets hope so – but If she missed out, there will probably be even more events up and down the country next October ! Give your grand-daughter my regards and tell her to get in touch, if she needs any help/advice : ) }

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