eye to pencil logo
Suzanne Holtom studio
Drawing 1 for Slingshot
Charcoal Studies
Slingshots and Skyhooks




Tuesday, 18 January, 6.30-8pm


Monday, 24 January, 10am-4pm (1 hour lunchbreak)

Talk Description

I will be looking back over many years to talk about how drawing has been a constant in my practice as a painter. Starting with work from the Slade, I will discuss each body of work; the initial ideas, experiences, influences and developments. As a painter, each body of work is instigated by things I have experienced and want to explore through larger narratives. In doing so, I try to invent new approaches to materials and themes, using eclectic sources and subjects in my work. I like to continually push my paintings into new territories. This however, risks contradictions and inconsistencies and my talk will address how these possible pitfalls seem actually to be a necessary condition of both my drawing and painting practice.

I will describe how drawing has performed a variety of functions in my work; from principles of economy and truth to materials, recording the impressions of an awkward observer, exploring perceptual and sensory experiences, to being a visual detective in the history of paintings.

I will make reference to a wide range of sources in my work, from Baroque paintings to cartoon animations, as I tries to re-imagine ideas of pictorial space, motifs, movement and theatricality. In more recent work I use drawing to transcribe complex, epic themes as well as abbreviated, comic motifs to help with formal invention.

Workshop Description

The morning will focus on a brief analysis and discussion of a particular painting, followed by warm-up activities to consider composition and structure. We will then be drawing timed pencil transcriptions of the painting to investigate space, contour, detail, the relationship of positive and negative elements, and distilling subject and meaning to establish a more personal response. We will then work more collaboratively on those chosen areas of interest to construct a three-dimensional model of the painting, taking inspiration from the current Poussin exhibition at the National Gallery.

In the afternoon we will use this construction to translate and transform the subject to create larger scale drawings. Working with willow charcoal, erasers and brushes we will be using both additive and subtractive methods. The intention will be to explore a variety of techniques to discover motifs through process, as well as intuitive knowledge of the original source.

Materials will be provided.

Top left - A corner of Suzanne Holtom's studio
Second left - Slingshots Drawing 1
Third left - Charcoal Studies
Bottom left - Slingshots and Skyhooks


Suzanne Holtom

Suzanne Holtom

Suzanne Holtom is an artist based in London. She studied at Cardiff, The Slade School of Fine Art and Turps Art School. Her practice is in painting, she was included in The Jerwood Painting prize in 2003, and the the Birth Rites project in 2008. She had a solo exhibition ‘Fortune and Folly’ in London in 2018 and has exhibited regularly in exhibitions in the UK with the Contemporary British Painting group.

Suzanne’s paintings are about the instability of experienced events, past and present, that we suspect underlies the conscious narratives in our lives. Her work is developed from a range of sources, including art history, personal memories, incidental events and children’s tv. More recently, Baroque paintings and the cartoon landscapes of Chuck Jones have been instrumental in ideas of pictorial space, imagery, movement and theatricality.

Each set of found concerns is worked out in the studio, with trial and error as structures are tested as well as composed. Scale is important, epic themes collide with the trivial or commonplace. The aim is to create a kind of painterly aliveness, something that can speak to our need for picture objects in our world of fleeting, disembodied images.


Instagram @suzanneholtom