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Blog - Deborah Caulfield

How I participated in a national art event without leaving home.



I wasn’t planning to do anything about Tanya Raabe-Webber and her Portraits Untold. I’d seen it reviewed on the DAO website and Facebook page and decided it wasn’t for me.

The actual event seemed expensive (though there were bursaries) and I ruled it out on the basis of having to travel to London and remain vertical all day.

Nowadays, energy and uprightability are in very short supply. Hence, whenever possible, I avoid making plans too far ahead. The chances are I’ll have to cancel and if there’s anything worse than letting oneself down, it’s letting other people down.

So it’s a bonus when I turn up somewhere and actually do something.

And so it was with Portraits Untold on Friday 22 July 2016.

There I am at the PC (all too rare lately) minding my own business, checking in, as you do, on social media, when up pops Jane McCormick with her picture of percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie.

Next thing I know I’m logged in, seeing the static screen for the third and last session of Tanya Raabe-Webber’s livestreamed event at London’s National Portrait Gallery. At first I think I won’t participate because, well, I’m not geared up for it. I’ll just watch. For a bit.

But then it goes live, people start talking. The quality of the sound and picture is so good that it almost feels like I’m in the room. Definitely I feel like I’m part of something.

It’s quite exciting, actually.

I set about gathering materials, grabbing the first things that come to hand – water soluble pencil crayons, water colour pad and an automatic pencil (or propelling pencil, as we used to say in the army). I fetch a jar of water and find a couple of moth-eaten brushes.

And I’m off.

The scene on the screen changes all the time; no one’s actually posing. Evelyn Glennie is constantly moving about, shaking and banging. I take screenshots (paste them into a drawing programme) for possible future reference.

I manage three drawings. All are very scribbly indeed, because they’re done in a rush (between five and fifteen minutes each.)

I scan, edit and upload to Twitter. Later, I post it all onto Facebook.


More please!


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