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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Penny Gonlag


Self-portrait in oils conveying a common mood throughout this year.


Exploring the ‘gaze’ of the subjects.

Mask Folds

Abstraction of the common mask.

Hiding Behind the Mask

Wall hanging of mask paintings hung at height of subject’s mouths.


Abstraction of the mask through close-up photography.

Masks in our Environment

Photographing mask drawing outdoors.


Cut up and tied together mask pencil study.

Spaghetti Measure

Photography of spaghetti measure and paper garland.


Abstracting the spaghetti measure.


Pencil studies of everyday items and childhood toys.


Pyramid structure made from scrap material and working with a monochromatic colour palate.


Self-portraiture experimenting with various surfaces.


Self-portraiture, layering on top of book and newspaper clippings.

My Sisters

Portraits with oils on scrap wood.


Comparing paint thickness and texture.

Pears in Conversation

Group of collaged pears.


Acrylic pear paintings and line drawing.


Exploring texture with home-made mark making tools, and orange and pear descriptions.

Life Drawing

Warm-up drawings in oil pastels.

Life Drawing

Exploring capturing mood through colour.