Last week RMS welcomed two prestigious art practitioners to share their professional practice and individual work with a group of creative students from Years 11,12 and 13.

In the Art Department renowned painter Sarah Graham, whose work featured in the GCSE Art exam paper a few years ago, was an inspirational guest artist.  Famed for her Pop Art Realism, Sarah captured the imagination and enthusiasm of our students, sharing her beliefs on the importance of following your passions with determination and resilience. 

Sarah stressed that a career in the visual arts is a valid option and, as in any other profession, you can expect a rollercoaster of delights, hardships, difficult decisions and rewarding experiences. After selling her first painting for £150, her work now regularly commands prices of £24,000 and above.

Her most famous pieces include, ‘Sweet Dreams’ that adorns the walls of Roger Federer’s abode and artwork for a Kaiser Chiefs album. Her work is best described as Pop Art Realism, where bursts of saturated hues dance across the canvas with ease.

The workshop started with a warm-up exercise, with students observing their own precious soft toys and recording with charcoal. The whole task was shared, as students worked on each other’s drawings in rotation. A risk-taking activity with the purpose of building confidence with teamwork. Some of the toys joined in too…

After a series of demonstrations and guidance from Sarah students started their own paintings. It was wonderful to see our students making independent decisions, refining for accuracy and most importantly enjoying the day.

In the Textiles Department contemporary embroidery artist Jessica Grady ran workshops for Years 11, 12 and 13. Students spent the day creating bold and tactile samples, exploring colour and pattern through hand stitching and embellishment.

Students experimented with traditional hand embroidery techniques, hand dyeing, printing and embellished surfaces utilising unconventional and recycled materials.

I really enjoyed the workshop as it was a relaxing and therapeutic process. Jessica Grady provided us with a range of unique ideas and inspired my own sample. I was able to alter her sample ideas to fit my current theme in my sketchbook and with Jessica's help. I included some unusual materials like metal washers and chains to create a different and heavily textured sample.

- Tilly, Year 12

Friday was a fun and relaxing workshop with Jessica Grady. She explained her work, sample processes and how she creates her own buttons, beads and sequins out of her own recycled materials. I found this inspiring, when creating my own sample.

- Ella, Year 13