Fragment of 'Eames House' © Beth Rodway

Student Spotlight: Beth Rodway, Royal Drawing School
October 23, 2019
The latest artist to be featured in our Student Spotlight interview series is Beth Rodway, who won a £500 prize awarded by ACS at the Royal Drawing School in 2018.

This particular prize for drawing marked the first time that ACS has worked with the Royal Drawing School to support their students. Over the course of the past year, ACS has been able to partner with more institutions than ever before to award a record £33,750 in educational bursaries and prizes to students throughout the UK.

Ahead of her upcoming solo show at Artisan Space, Putney we spoke with Rodway to find out more about how she uses linework in her highly detailed drawings.



Q. How would you define your work in three words?


Descriptive, whimsical, critical.


Q. What does winning the ACS/Royal Drawing School Prize mean for you as an artist?


If you’re wanting to exhibit as an artist or even just have a conversation around a piece, then you need eyes on it. The ACS prize has helped me to reach out to a further audience. The prize money will contribute towards travel costs to create studies on new subject matters. Although I adore London and it provides me with most of my content, a change of scenery can be very influential and keep you challenged as an artist.


Q. What medium do you mainly work with and why?


Linework is extremely important in my practice. For me to incorporate a high level of detail, I predominantly use technical drawing pens.


This medium allows me to story tell with the focus on line, form and subsequently the narratives embedded. More recently I have been exploring the use of colour through the medium of Gouache and Inks, adding further depth to my storytelling.


‘Glass House’ © Beth Rodway


Q. Where do you find most inspiration for your work?


I studied an Architecture BA and unsurprisingly many of my drawings are heavily influenced from those years. Throughout my Undergraduate degree the subject of narratives and the influence they had on design became very important to me and subsequently led me to the spending the last year on the Postgraduate Scholarship at the Royal Drawing School.


Numerous days spent in the National Gallery introduced me to late 15th century artists such as Hieronymus Bosch and Henri Rousseau whose detail drenched narrative renditions have had a strong influence on my compositions. I am instantly drawn to beautiful things.


‘Hampstead Heath’ © Beth Rodway


Q. Take us through your working process.


The way in which Henri Lefebre critiques the subject of everyday life is a subject I’ll always refer to when making new work. I enjoy documenting the activities of everyday and combing them with more unusual scenarios to create a more dream like scenario.


I think I subconsciously treat my drawings as one would a stage set: working in layers to create more depth to my storytelling. These narratives are often framed in a mid-century modernist building that I’ve visited or has influenced me in some way. I find the forms produced in this period especially beautiful.


This subject matter is the main focus of my upcoming solo show ‘Line and colour define volume’, taken from the poem by Ray Eames for the Arts and Architecture magazine, 1943. I regularly look to the Eames duos works for content and incentive.


Inspired by experiences this past summer exploring mid-century modernist buildings in Europe and New York, these new works explore the relationships between art and architecture. Many mammals and nudes feature regularly amongst the series of architectural landscapes: I love layering the angles of a model 122 cabinet or a Hans Wegner dining table over the curves of a bare breast or a tiger’s paw.


Detail of ‘Eames House’ © Beth Rodway


Q. Can you remember the first work of art that you created? What was it and why was it so memorable?


Less so a particular piece, but a particularly memorable approach to making art was the technique of using your toes to draw. Up until this point I had always drawn tonally with pencil and this exercise changed the way I viewed and made drawings completely. The freedom and lack of control over a pen allowed me to recognise and appreciate imperfections in drawing.


Rodway’s upcoming solo exhibition ‘Line and colour define volume’ will be on display at Artisan Space in Putney between 12 December 2019 to January 2020.