Nik Pollard – Drawn to Nature 2014 course review

Rabley artist in residence for 2014, Nik Pollard, ran his annual course at Rabley ‘Drawn to Nature’ at the weekend. The weather was fantastic this year (for once!) and this enabled everyone to fully immerse and attune themselves to the surrounding landscape of wild flower meadows and woodland.


Since the start of his residency at the beginning of the year Nik has been in and around Rabley observing, recording and recalling his observations of the local flora and fauna. On this course Nik emphasised the importance of drawing outside and capturing that energy and excitement of the immediate response.

On the first evening we all took a visit to Cherhill downs, an area of natural beauty and registered site of special scientific interest. Owned by the National Trust and farmed by the Ainslie family, it is home to an array of wild flowers, orchids and insect species – not to mention 30 grazing in-calf heifers!!

Amidst the wild poppies and hedgerows everyone could appreciate a micro view of the landscape. By enveloping themselves with such a wealth of sensory information this resonated in the vitality and evolution of discovery in their drawings. After long periods of observing, drawing and then revisiting, everyone became so familiar with their subject matter that every nuance became engrained in their psyche.

Nik introduced monotype printing and his favoured methods for developing his drawings and recalling information. Using an offset and off press printing method he references his drawings without directly copying them. This involves a certain degree of control, yet is unpredictable at the same time which keeps the drawing energised. Wiping and drawing into a surface of ink Nik compares to the work of an archaeologist. By excavating your way through the ink to find your drawing is a great way to play with contrasts, echoes and various means of mark making.

Nik also brought along a range of his sketchbooks and prints, which was a really inspiring insight into his practice.

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After three days of ‘interviewing nettles’ and hanging out in shrub corner to fully understand and engage with their subject matter everyone produced very energised and informed works on paper – a visual language for all the senses!

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We hope this course has inspire you and will help you to continue to develop your own practice, come visit us again at Rabley soon!

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

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