Open Studio — Portfolio Preparation Course,
Creative Practices 2020–2021

We Lost You For A Moment There

It gives us great pleasure to share the work of this year’s students who have studied with us on our Portfolio Preparation Course – Creative Practices. All have shown a prodigious amount of dedication to their studies during very challenging times and have embraced working online with us, establishing remote working spaces, with continued enthusiasm and commitment. They have all been remarkably abundant in their making and created portfolios of work that are diverse and engrossing; whilst supporting each other in their learning, being extraordinarily good natured and kind throughout.

Our primary focus is the creation of a unique and distinctive fine art, design or architecture portfolios of work, for both ‘Digital ‘and ‘Full’ Portfolio submissions for Further and Higher Education Courses and other directions. Students studying on the Portfolio Preparation Course work in a Studio Environment this year online, within which every student is supported in developing their creative skills, through the application of a wide-range of imaginative, technical and practical processes. The diverse online studio-based learning and teaching activities, have been and are designed to assist students in simultaneously developing experimental and innovative work as well as acquiring a strong work ethic.

This year being online has given the students this opportunity to showcase their work via the GSA Website at the end of their studies, self-selecting and curating their own work and promotional material, providing a professional experience where the emphasis is on learning and thinking through doing, and the site will be available for the public to view for a year.

The majority of our students go on to study Undergraduate Degrees, plus some Postgraduate Degrees in either Fine Art, Design or Architecture, at institutions across Scotland, the UK and Europe. Other trajectories include being self-employed, running their own creative businesses and undertaking internships.

This year’s students are all currently being invited for interviews and receiving offers, considering other and all their options and we would like to take this opportunity to thank them for choosing to study with us and we wish them all the very best for their futures.

Deborah Holland + Joanie Jack

Joint Course Leaders

Portfolio Preparation Course – Creative Practices
Open Studio

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Capturing the transformation which time effects upon interior surfaces. Oil paint and charcoal.

Age and Decay

Exploring the narratives which emerge through the insult of the environment and the passage of time.


Oil painting abandoned outside to observe its transformation. Work displayed in a deserted house.

Drawings of Sculptural Form

Exploring ways of evoking surfaces and materials within sculpture. Charcoal and pencil/watercolour.


Altering the appearance of sculptural form using light and shadow. Ink/bleach and soft pastel.


Experimenting with sculpture on the human form, linking to the abstract qualities of typography.

Treasuring Decay

Exploring the juxtapositions of growth and decay existing in the natural world. Collage and linocut.

Found Piece of Wood Exploration

Evoking the form and texture of a piece of wood, found on a walk. Ink, oil pastel and acrylics.

Tree Tells a Story

Sculpture made whose inner layers reveal the illustrated imagined story of the piece of wood.


Imagining a future forest mutilated by the effects of climate change and deforestation. Oil paint.


Using my childhood shoes to explore themes surrounding our intimate relationship with footwear.

Walks of life

Buckle-holes in strap evoke the shoe’s history, fingerprint drawing reflects unique identity of shoes.

The Refuge of Sleep

Drawings of my brothers sleeping explores the sense of escape found in dreams during the Pandemic.

Ubiquitous Eggshells

Investigating the physical qualities of eggshells and their place in an everyday setting. Oil paint.

Abstraction and Colour

Manipulating the abstract qualities of the eggshells and using colour to transform their appearance.


Eggshells crushed with chalk and glue to create ‘paint’, used to create surfaces and sculptures.

Thinking Outside the Box

Exploring the physical constraints of lockdown, and their impediment to creative freedom. Oil paint.

Living in Lockdown

The fluctuating nature of lockdown existence, and the boundaries by which we are divided and governed.

Like the Back of my Hand

Probing how we perceive our hands, creating grotesque forms and ‘mapping’ hands through colour.

All Join Hands

Juxtaposing anxiety about viral transmission with our need for physical contact.