Sue Preston ‘Marks and Surface’ course review

Artist, Sue Preston, ran a fascinating course at Rabley last week delving through primed surfaces to reveal, explore, remove and exhaust layers with various means of mark making and drawing.



To begin the course Sue took her students up to the agricultural farm buildings to gather resources and inspiration. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t exactly ideal for drawing outside, so everyone gathered quick sketches, photographs and found objects back to bring back to the studio to work from.

Working on gesso primed paper Sue firstly took everyone through various means of applying monochromatic, dry material such as charcoal and graphite.

By building up layers, scraping and rubbing back into the surface it opens up huge potential for drawing and mark making. The studio was quiet with concentration as everyone was totally engrossed in experimenting and feeling their way through the layers.

By Days 2 & 3 Sue had introduced colour and wet media, extended time was spent on developing select drawings. Sue encouraged all to experiment and persevere, to work things through to exhaustion.

Over the three days everyone built up an armoury of various techniques to push tone and create great movement and depth in surface. What was expressed visually through the work produced occupied this hinterland between drawing and painting.

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The group worked really well together to engage, support and absorb from one another. We look forward to seeing how your work develops and hopefully see you at Rabley again soon. As Sue said ‘Workshops generate ways of working’, now all your have to do is ‘Stay on the bus!’

IMG_3996Sue’s exhibition Panel Paintings is currently on show at the Rabley Contemporary Gallery, this was extremely useful for everyone on the course to begin to understand Sue’s approach, and she was able to give valuable insight into her methods, influences and points of reference.

See some of Sue’s Panel Paintings and her new print in her exhibition on our website:




Rose Splash /25


25.7 x 19.2 cms

Edition of 25
Printed on Somerset Satin white 300gsm


18 May – 20 June

Thurs & Fri  10-5pm

Sat 10-1pm

All other times by appointment.

*EXTRA WEEKEND OPENING TIMES  – Sat 14/ Sun 15 June   11 – 4pm*


Contact Meryl or Amy-Jane if you would like information about future courses: / 01672 511999


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