Local artist Andrea Schell spent April & May 2023 in the SSAC Artis in Residence Studio.
A Room of One’s Own
Spending two months in a small studio with a high ceiling gave me time to look up and breathe. I could close the door to spend uninterrupted time exploring my interests with fresh eyes, allowing time to just experiment and create for pleasure. My initial plans for painting and drawing my surroundings felt empty and forced. Rather than work towards an expectation, I needed to unravel and unknot these plans to follow my curiosity and love of thinking through drawing.
I drew anatomy, explored the work of Edgar Degas by copying, and made quick observational sketches in the studio. To learn more about the anatomy of the hand, I created a sculptural sketch with terracotta clay. Slowly building up the structure of the hand in clay from bones to layers of muscles allowed me to think with my hands in a way that drawing didn’t address. Clay gave me an opportunity to draw in three dimensions, exploring pictorial space in bas relief tiles, using actual rather than implied light and shade. This unexpected reimagining of how I work, using a medium and technique I am quite unfamiliar with, has been a pleasant surprise.
The residency was an important time to re-evaluate where I was at and where I wanted to go in my own practice. It was a breathing space that allowed me to make technical and conceptual connections I hadn’t anticipated.
Andrea regularly teaches classes for adults and children at Stirling Street Arts Centre and will exhibit her work in the new building in July.