Residency Day 4

Following a drawing day at Charterhouse yesterday exploring response to the architecture, I wanted to continue with the charcoal work here today.  My aim is capture my emotional response.  Charcoal is an expressive, forgiving medium.

Using the side of a finger sized piece of willow charcoal I describe the form of my chosen corner.  I am attracted by the sunshine pouring in through the dark recess, by the majestic pillars framing the view.



The drawing is 16 x 12 inches on paper.

I wanted to see whether having music playing while I draw made a difference to how I produce the work.  I found myself more lost in the second work, seeing but not seeing, somehow feeling my way into the piece, less concerned with likeness.


16 x 12 inches on paper.

A complex view, too much detail would have distracted from my objective.

My initial attraction had been to the red chairs, but as with much of my work, I got sidetracked.


That said, I have recently sold a painting called The Red Chair, so these chairs may well make it into a painting in the future, as I do seem to be drawn to them.


The Red Chair, 60 x 60 cms, Watercolour on canvas.

In the afternoon I was joined by a fellow artist, as I wanted to be able  to discuss ideas with someone who has experienced the space.  She also happens to be a Catholic, so it was interesting to see how she engaged with the building from a religious perspective.  So very different.  Whereas I am drawn to colour and form, she focused on the layout of the building and the holy elements, spotting elements that I hadn’t even noticed.

The next couple of weeks I plan to research the history of the building.  In particular I want to know more about the Holy Child Jesus Order and also the background to the building.  Why is it here in St Leonards?  Is this the original layout?  What is the timeline for the development?







Author: susanmilleruk

Watercolour painter living, working and loving Hastings and St Leonards on Sea. MA in Fine Art.

2 thoughts on “Residency Day 4”

  1. Dear Sue

    what an interesting post. I feel I’m getting to know this chapel a little, even though I never set foot in it. I loved your charcoal drawings, the second one, especially because it leaves most space for interpretation – for me to reminisce about all the things I loved and then didn’t like at all about being a Catholic… It’s amazing how very different the watercolour landed with me. It’s gorgeous and it’s kind of cozy in a strange way (I mean warmer, more welcoming and less ‘disturbing’ – and I mean disturbing in the best possible way as in: unsettling fixed interpretations/patterns I hold in relations to Catholic churches.

    I am really interested to hear what your work evokes in you. So, in other words: coming full circe: the space evokes things in you and moves you to make works of art. How do your works then move you in turn I wonder?

    Lots to talk about when we meet I hope! Really fascinating process and I love your work!

    x K >


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