Arts University Plymouth student awarded distinguished residency at Royal Drawing School
The residency, taking place from 1 September to 14 September 2023, will see Charley housed within artist accommodation at the school, with full studio access for the two weeks of residency.
Third-year student Charley said, “I’m really excited, this residency feels incredibly important to push forward with. The Royal Drawing School is somewhere I want to go in the future, so it feels good to be associating with them for this residency. Drawing has become important to me recently, so it feels like the residency will be a great place to explore and push that further.”
“I’d been thinking of visiting Scotland so when this came about it felt meant to be. I’ll have full studio access for the two weeks and there’s no set agenda, it’s up to me how I spend my time there. I’ll be taking limited materials, just charcoal and ink. I plan to keep it minimal. Charcoal has a fantastic workability, you can rub it out or redraw it. It’s got hardness yet it’s soft at the same time. It’s definitely one of my main drawing mediums. Ink is also a great tool, I use it for immediate drawing when I’m out and about. Ultimately though, pigment has become my passion.”
The artists’ residencies provide a private studio and self-catering accommodation on the Dumfries House estate for up to four artists at any one time. With an emphasis on working from observation and the development of new work, this opportunity is open to painters, textile and furniture designers, illustrators, practice-based researchers and applied artists who use drawing in their practice.
'Green Field, Yellow Field, Does The Land Sing' by Charley Dyson
Charley said, “I’m hoping to develop new work, in the past I have been focussing on the landscape of Somerset. It would be really nice to push into some new thoughts and slightly different subject matter. I’m really interested to go and see the working farm land as well and immerse myself in the surroundings. It’ll also be a great time for thinking - just to be in a different environment and take some time to reflect on everything I’ve done in the last three years at Arts University Plymouth. It’s been a really intense time, with non-stop constant creation so it’ll be nice to take a slower approach. Even with the short duration, it’ll be a chance to think with a different perspective. It feels important for maturing as an artist. I’m really passionate about residencies, I’ve done one before and it provided a really solid platform for the work I do now, so I definitely want to continue doing them in the future, especially abroad.”
“All of my work is based on one field in Somerset, five minutes from my parents’ house. I’ve walked through it so many times. It was summer last year where I was walking through it alone and I made some drawings and something just stuck with me. It almost became an obsessive memory, I found myself constantly returning to the same field. I’ve drawn it and redrawn it and reimagined the memory.”
Growing up in Somerset but born in Plymouth, 27-year-old Charley returned to the city to study at Arts University Plymouth.
'Deconstructed Landscape, Yellow Field' by Charley Dyson
“Plymouth was the only place I really wanted to go, it felt like a calling to come back to my birthplace. My grandad is a printmaker and my great grandad was a painter, so art is something I’ve always dabbled around with but never invested in. Being a bit older, I realised I wanted to take it a bit more seriously and discover more. The course has been fantastic, it’s really unique. It’s so passionate about the making, process and materiality, that it stands out from other art schools and courses. The lecturers are really supportive, I feel very grateful to have done this course, there’s been lots of personal growth along the way.”
Inspired by the likes of renowned abstract artist Joan Mitchell, Charley’s practice also involves painting with oil paints, particularly abstract landscapes.
“I am a painter, but I didn’t come to the university with the intention to paint. I came to discover printmaking and learn a new skill in that sense, but I got pulled into painting and that’s my main practice now. I think of printmaking and drawing as tools for problem solving as they help me gain a different perspective on my paintings. My oil paintings are abstract and made with my own paints, mixing pigments and linseed oil. That’s something I’ve learnt from studying at Arts University Plymouth, I didn’t even know you could do that. Richard Webb, our subject leader, has an extraordinary wealth of knowledge.”
'Standing II' Initial Drawing by Charley Dyson
Charley was recommended for the residency by Richard Webb, Subject Leader for BA (Hons) Painting, Drawing & Printmaking with the announcement made at the 2023 Summer Shows Award Ceremony.
Richard Webb said, “Firstly I recommended Charley for her constant and passionate commitment towards her practice as an artist, such as how she explores her creativity, play and innovation to challenge and be changed by each of the different disciplines of painting, drawing and printmaking. This is what has been the most remarkable to be seen in her work. It singled her out for me as the student studying Painting, Drawing & Printmaking who would use this award most thoroughly and professionally to engage in developing her practice as an artist in the pursuit of excellence.”
“I’ve been so lucky to be awarded this residency, Richard very kindly recommended me and I’m very grateful. He’s been a fantastic support in what I’m doing and has believed in me and my work.”
'Standing V' Initial Drawing by Charley Dyson
Looking ahead, Charley plans to apply to the Royal Drawing School’s postgraduate-level programme, The Drawing Year, focusing on painting and furthering her education in the arts. Her dedication to her craft and commitment to artistic growth serve as an inspiration to students, and Charley offers valuable advice as she approaches the end of her studies: "Work hard, don’t waste a day. Immerse yourself as much as you can and experience being around your classmates. Listen to your lecturers, but know your own mind at the same time, and always ask more of yourself.”