About the D+P Studio
The Drawing and Painting Studio encourages people to relax into drawing, express themselves, be inspired and enjoy creative adventures.
Free community art groups in Glasgow help individuals to have fun making artwork, de-stress and try out new ways of working, providing varied art materials and plenty of guidance and enthusiasm. Our art groups in and around central Scotland offer inspiration and new artistic and cultural possibilities, and our One to One Tutoring and feedback works with folk to develop their artwork or to help people find a peaceful way to settle and express themselves.
The D+P Studio began in 2008 in central Glasgow, U.K. We are run by a mix of enthusiastic full time, sessional and volunteer staff. Blair Thomson is the lead facilitator (is part of the PVG scheme working with children and also vulnerable adults, and has Enhanced Disclosure certificate), he is an experienced artist. The D+P Studio works with community groups, charities and individuals on creative and health and wellbeing projects, and with various experienced collaborators to develop creative groups which are approachable, participatory, fun, cultural and educational.
Creatively supporting health and wellbeing
We have a friendly, gentle approach with no stressful expectation on individuals to come up with creative pieces – as we guide and inspire individuals. Our projects people relax, be less anxious, settle and be more mindful of their environment and others.
Several of our groups works with expression and the senses through drawing, markmaking, words such as creative writing, experimental mixed media, printmaking, painting, craft, land art and natural objects and materials. Individual and large inspiring group pieces are joyful and bring people together, and there is time for people to doodle, discuss the process and feeling with others. In some groups we combine mindful meditative elements with making artwork.
Art in the community and widening access to the arts
We inspire communities and community cohesion through inspiring and unique groups.
In 2016 we began free community art and creative writing groups initially in the north and east of Glasgow, helping young people and those disadvantaged in some way to get creative and have fun with artwork, providing free materials such as sketchbooks.
Many participants in our groups have experienced barriers to participating in the arts – this can be to do with cost, travel, health conditions, mobility needs, confidence, an assumption that there is a skill level needed (at the D+P Studio we don’t believe any participants need to have skills to take part).
Several groups we run are open to any individuals (please note certain event locations may have age restrictions or restricted accessibility, please contact us in advance if you are unsure or have specific requirements) where we welcome vulnerable adults and children, refugees and asylum seekers, support workers, anyone from marginalised groups.
Locations we work
Also in 2016 we began providing One to One sessions at the KSD buidling in Glasgow Woodlands area, and at students’ homes. KSD – Kagyu Samye Dzong (also known as Rokpa) is a centre run by Tibetan Buddhists whose rooms are used by yoga, meditation and Buddhist groups, such as Glasgow Zen Group of which Blair Thomson is a member. It is a quiet building with comfortable rooms ideal for relaxing and making artwork in a peaceful environment.
Depending on the type of group, we have been active in various locations including community centres, care homes, in the outdoors with specific groups such as schools, arts workshop spaces, youth group spaces. Regular places we are active are Maryhill Hub centre, Ruchill Community Centre and in Lenzie with Margaret Kerr.
Working with funders, partners and organisations
The D+P Studio works closely with funding bodies, charities and partners to support their work and aims as well as our own creative aims. Recently we have worked alongside the North United Communities, Centre 81 Steering Group (Clydebank), Community Safety Glasgow, Glasgow Life (part of Glasgow City Council), Glasgow CAN, the Flightpath Fund (Glasgow Airport), The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, and others such as Housing Associations and private donors. In the past Blair has also worked with the Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Art (board member and trustee), and schools such as Hamilton College and Largs Academy.
Blair began learning Japanese Shodo calligraphy with Wakabayashi Shujo, Toyama from 2002, after meeting him when working on a series of drawings in Japan after he graduated from Glasgow School of Art in 2002. They explored markmaking together and exhibited together in Toyama and Tokyo. A few years after Wakabayashi Shujo passed away Blair began looking for a new teacher and in 2017 met two teachers in Tokyo, and practiced Shakyo as well as zen meditation at temples such as Daijouji Temple.
Nurturing artistic practice and portfolios
When we meet individuals such as young people who are keen to develop a career in the arts, we are there to guide and encourage along the way.
We have worked with portfolio preparation students who have gone on to join art school courses in Scotland and around the U.K., or have returned abroad to continue their art practice and studies. Students have specialized in fields such as design, visual communication, illustration, fine art and photography, architecture and technical drawing. As well as giving practical advice and demonstrations of making works, from the ins and outs of combining warm and cold colours to simply how to hold a brush or marker or palette knife, we also try to inspire each student, with varied examples of artist’s works, and tips and learning from art history movements from the old masters to post modernism. We encourage and assist creative people to develop their artwork and design, learning new artistic skills along the way and taking these forward innovatively in a positive, structured but enjoyable way.
Testimonial to Blair’s teaching and work on art projects:
Blair annually helps me with our school field trips to the Cairngorms and Abernethy where he leads lessons for Higher and Advanced Higher pupils. These range in methodologies and he is excellent at describing and demonstrating the strategies of making. He presents slide shows with talks which describe his own working methods within a broader context of art practice, both contemporary and traditional. These are informative and engaging and the pupils are stimulated to always ask questions and probe into the life of a working artist. His diction and vocabulary is rich and clear which gives his lessons impact and the reward for the pupils own artistic and imaginative experience is invaluable. He knows how to set targets and yet often plans lessons that will give the possibility of unexpected paths. In terms of character he is trustworthy, very amiable and funny and he is especially capable of helping and encouraging weaker students.Alan Wilson
Head of Art, Hamilton College
Blair has been successful in applying for grant funding related to arts and community activity, and has been responsible for liaising with the trusts and organisations providing the funding, reporting regularly on progress. He has developed tutoring projects to suit various groups and has worked to inspire individuals from various backgrounds to draw, paint and create. Blair is also a commentator on art and provides stimulating and insightful reviews of artwork and art exhibitions in Scotland and beyond.John
Chartered Teacher, Business Education