David Wojnarowicz

Alumni Workshop: The Writer’s Notebook: Drawing for Writers with Douglas Culhane

The practice of drawing develops powers of observation, grows the imagination and builds a person’s ability to compose visual memory. Spend five days in Bennington's Word & Image Lab with writer and visual artist Douglas Culhane exploring hybrid forms.

In this five-day workshop designed for writers of all genres, students will work through a series of hands-on studio projects that will provide a foundation of drawing fundamentals, and address the keen interplay of drawing and written language. The practice of drawing develops powers of observation, grows the imagination and builds a person’s ability to compose visual memory. Writers such as Günter Grass, Emily Dickinson, Sylvia Plath, Teju Cole, Ann Carson and William Blake have all worked with visual forms that combine with their writing, and for some of these writers there is only the finest separation between their visual and written work. A number of visual artists have also used text extensively—Jenny Holzer, Carrie Mae Weems, Sophie Calle and David Wojnarowicz, among many others.  Students will sharpen their skills of visual perception, develop visual and written narratives, and depict specific images from memories and their own imaginations. Student will draw from a written text, combine images and text in hybrid forms, collage and fill notebooks with bold new work, all while looking at maps, manuscripts, illustrations and calligraphy that makes up the rich history of writers’ notebooks.

No studio experience is necessary; in fact, this course is designed as an opportunity for those who think they “can’t draw,” or who believe they are bad at it, but who wish to challenge themselves and learn new skills.  Those with advanced skills as visual artists will also find new ways of entering into and revivifying their practice. 

Materials fee: $75 (approximate: for purchase in campus bookstore on arrival)

Materials fee covers (per student): Sketchbook, Charcoal, Pencils, Conte crayons, Erasers, Glue, Paint brushes, Ink, Fixative

Enrollment deadline: May 30 (12 student maximum enrollment)

Tuition: $1,200

Payment: $200 non-refundable deposit to register, balance owed by May 30, 2019

Details

Dates of Workshop: June 13-17, 2019  |  Location: Bennington College campus

  • Includes tuition, plus room and board for four nights/five days
  • Housing is dormitory-style, single room on the Bennington College campus
  • Dining is at the Student Center
  • Participants may attend all Writing Seminars events
  • Quiet writing time or off-campus dinner/activities are on your own at your discretion

Workshop Schedule (subject to change):

Each day will begin with a discussion of writers and art, with lots of examples. This will be followed by a drawing lesson that focuses on some fundamental elements of drawing. We will then develop a conceptually themed project that relates visual art to the concerns of writers. Workshops will be held in the Word & Image Lab.

Thursday, June 13

Noon–3:00 pm
Registration | Barn 100
Pick up packets/keys/IDs

3:00–5:00 pm
Introductory Workshop | Word & Image Lab
Relationships between writing and visual arts. Examples of visual art by writers, writing by artists and hybrid forms. Drawing from memory. Drawing from observation, scale and composition. 

5:00 pm                     
BWS Happy Hour (cash bar) 

6:00 pm                     
Dinner | Student Center

7:00 pm                     
BWS Writers Reading Series | Carriage Barn

8:00 pm                     
Activities on your own or join BWS activities | Various locations

Friday, June 14: Beyond Illustration

8:00 am                      
Breakfast | Student Center

9:00 am–noon         
Drawing and writing based on observation | Word & Image Lab
Working from drawing to writing, and writing to drawing. Drawing lesson: Value and shading, developing form. Materials: charcoal on paper. 

4:00-5:00 pm             
Studio time or down time | Various locations

5:00 pm                     
BWS Happy Hour (cash bar)

6:00 pm                     
Dinner | Student Center

7:00 pm                     
BWS Writers Reading Series | Carriage Barn

8:00 pm                     
Activities on your own or join BWS activities | Various locations
 

Saturday, June 15: The Seen and the Not Seen

8:00 am                      
Breakfast | Student Center

9:00 am–noon        
Kafka’s Odradek and Durer’s Rhinoceros | 
Word & Image Lab
Working from a text description to create an image. Drawing lesson: Mark making and texture, cross-hatching. Materials: pencil and pen and ink on paper. 

Noon–1:00 pm           
Lunch | Student Center

1:00-5:00 pm             
Time for reflection/writing time/down time

5:00 pm                     
BWS Happy Hour (cash bar)

6:00 pm                     
Dinner | Student Center

7:00 pm                     
BWS Writers Reading Series | Carriage Barn

8:00 pm                     
Activities on your own or join BWS activities | Various locations

Sunday, June 16: Image as Text/Text as Image

8:00 am                      
Breakfast | Student Center

9:00 am-noon            
Working with calligraphy, rebuses and hieroglyphs | Word & Image Lab
Drawing lesson: Contour drawing and line. Materials: pencil and pen on paper.

4:00-5:00 pm
Time for reflection/writing time/down time

5:00 pm                     
BWS Happy Hour (cash bar)

6:00 pm                     
Dinner | Student Center

7:00 pm                     
BWS Writers Reading Series | Carriage Barn

8:00 pm                     
Activities on your own or join BWS activities | Various locations

Monday, June 17

8:00 am                      
Breakfast | Student Center

9:00 am—noon         
Hybrid Forms | Word & Image Lab
Discussion of the use of photography and digital media as sources for hybrid forms. Collaged document incorporating visual elements with writing. Drawing lesson: Foreshortening and perspective, creating a visual environment on the page. Materials: Pencil charcoal and charcoal on paper.

Noon–1:00 pm          
Lunch | Student Center

1:00-2:00 pm             
Pack, return keys and IDs | Barn 106 (BWS offices)

2:00 pm                     
Participants must be moved out of dorms, and keys and IDs must be returned to BWS office.

douglas culhaneAbout Douglas Culhane

Douglas Culhane is a visual artist and writer who works in drawing, sculpture, poetry and hybrid forms. His work has appeared in the Colorado Review, Viz. Inter-Arts (UC Santa Cruz), Broadsided Press and in galleries and alternative spaces nationally. He recently exhibited his installation “Ghost House” at the Chesterwood Historic Trust in Stockbridge, MA. He is the recipient of awards from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation. He holds a BA from Colgate University and an MA from the University of Iowa. He teaches drawing, image and text and sculpture at Amherst College.