A View From the Tate

The experiences from last week’s Drawing for All course are still filtering through; in fact I hope they continue to do so for some time to come, as I found it a fascinating and engrossing experience irrespective of the sketches I managed to produce.

I had some time to kill on Monday afternoon so I wandered across the Millennium Bridge to visit Tate Modern again.  I popped in on the paintings I’d spent time drawing last week, and the detailed perception I’d developed of them as I’d studied them was still there.  My eyes went straight to the characteristics that I’d only noticed for the first time after a period of careful study, things I might have always missed had I not taken that extra time last week.

I’ve been a member of the Tate for years, but have never been in the Members’ room at either of the London galleries.  Once, about 4 years ago I went up to the one at Tate Modern, only to be turned away because it was full.  I’ve never bothered since, as it’s a bit out of the way, up an extra flight of stairs, and there’s only so many steps I’m prepared to take to before being refused entry.

So on Monday I made it part of my mission to break in.  And very pleasant it was too.  One outside space looks over the building sites to the rear of the building, but another, smaller one, grants a view out over the River, the City and St Paul’s.  I sat imagining how I might draw the view, capturing the lines, shapes and patterns of the arrangements of the architecture.

It sounds verging on the utterly obvious, now, but it was only last week that I understood how differently each person sees the world.

I’ve known it in the writing context as long as I’ve been reading and writing: everyone has a unique point of view and experience of life, but in writing we hope that by presenting our peculiar view, we might chime a chord with our readers.

It was only when I saw the drawings of my class mates and what a range of visual experience of the same objects they showed in their drawings that I appreciated that while my attention is drawn to the patterns and lines, other people see shades and shapes.

I didn’t draw the view, largely because I was so fascinated by the conversation of the people at the adjacent table; a sort of Harold Pinter meets Tony Hart.  I think my writer instinct still trumps the neophyte sketcher.

Leave a comment


  1. Jill

     /  July 28, 2011

    How about a blend of words and images? I recently reread Breakfast of Champions – Vonnegut wasn’t shy with a pencil…


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