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It was with some degree of trepidation that I put forward an idea for a drop-in drawing workshop quite some time ago inspired by a drawing by Anthony Gross, done in 1941, at the time when the recently uncovered Fan Bay Deep Shelter was used by troops in WW2. The background to the workshop was an invitation from the National Trust in Dover for Dover Arts Development (DAD) to organise an arts event for them as part of the Up On The Downs Big Summer Festival. They were very keen that Joanna and I, as Dover-based artists, did something ourselves under the DAD umbrella.

So last Thursday (30 July) the day came to actually facilitate the workshop, and though I’ve organised lots of workshops I haven’t run many myself, hence the ongoing nerves. Fortunately I had a couple of helpers and a fabulous photographer. I had been expecting to feel cold in the tunnels, which are a constant 10 degrees regardless of season, but I was so busy I hardly noticed. I did need a warm shower when I got home though!

The participants – walkers along the White Cliffs – were mostly rather surprised to find themselves taking time out of their walk to work on a drawing. The atmosphere in the tunnels was one of quiet concentration – given this opportunity everyone, even the reluctant drawers, explored  the space in a way that is only possible through close observational drawing. I was quite sorry that I didn’t get to do it myself!

More about the workshop and lots of photos here.

Photos by Sebastian Edge.