Deborah Petch – Drawing Insight was an Arts Council England funded project in collaboration with University of Chichester, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester and Outside In.  The project ran from October 2016 to March 2017 with an exhibition at Pallant House Gallery. Plus a follow on exhibition at the Regency Town House, Brighton in September 2017.

This is a very short film clip of the project. If you would like to to view the full Drawing Insight Video, please click the link below (film courtesy of Rosie Powell Freelance).

Drawing Insight Published on 6 Mar 2017
A film documenting the Insight Partnership, a collaborative project delivered by Outside In and the University of Chichester. Artists Yvonne J. Foster, Deborah Petch and Rachel Redfern worked in partnership over a three month period to experience each others ways of working. This film was made by filmmaker Rosie Powell and was first shown as part of Drawing Insight, an exhibition celebrating the partnership, which ran at Pallant House Gallery in Chichester 1-26 March 2017.


“It’s a busy old life that is fulfilling and rewarding. I feel independent, enriched and happy. I’ve spent the last nine years of my life juggling a family single-handed, working and studying for a Degree and then a Masters in Fine Art. Through art I have found a new pathway that resonates within me, taking me forward by adding meaning and purpose to my existence beyond my responsibilities. Attaining a Masters Degree in Fine Art from UoC in September 2015 was an absolute high point in my life, my greatest achievement after my four
children. Life is hectic but I endeavour to fit in my art practice as it is what defines me. My art is an extension of who I am.”  DP 2017

Collaboration and the artwork

Authenticity within my art practice is paramount to me. Art is such a personal pursuit. How can two artists with divergent practices come together and still stay true to themselves? When making work it had to feel right and true for both Yvonne and I, and this is where the
challenges of the collaboration were discovered. Working together at the University on concertina books, we practiced mark making that would inform our separate works. We responded to each other by embracing our differences in scale and technique, and this became the form of our collaboration. My response was to produce an ‘Inkscape’ outside on a cold but sunny winter’s day on top of my regular haunt, the Iron Age hill fort at Cissbury Ring.

The ‘Inkscape’ is an enormous ink drawing created on a huge roll of paper. It is a gestural, expressive, intuitive and free piece of work, a celebration of life being lived, engaging with the past, thinking to the future but really embracing and being in the now. Working outside was exhilarating and a highlight of the project, creating an immediate response to being in the landscape at a particular moment in time. In contrast, Yvonne enjoyed working small scale, in tiny boxes, indoors in the warmth and safety of her own space at home. Yvonne and I lined our kitchen floors with paper as a record of our lives over the period of the project.
The paper that lined my kitchen floor, captured the marks and traces of everyday life in my home for over two months. It was then taken outside to “The Trundle”, an Iron Age Hill Fort at Goodwood, and here I made a second kitchen shaped ‘Inkscape’. I reworked the floor piece, layering it with a new landscape of charcoal and ink. With Rachel working alongside, it seemed the perfect climax to the project. This worn, torn, multi-layered and fragmented piece of work reflected life lived, enriched by time and embedded with memory and knowledge. Having the freedom to express ourselves through whatever form is appropriate, unearths truths far beyond words.

The realization that collaboration can mean separate works in response to each other was
liberating and allowed us to work individually, taking this new work to exciting and contrasting scales.

Drawing insight

I began this project one year after completing my Masters degree. Having experienced collaboration during my studies, I thought I had an idea of what to expect. This collaboration was challenging, interesting, stimulating, eye-opening experience. At times I felt frustrated, inadequate and quite ‘the outsider’, but at other times epic and liberated. Perhaps this reflects life, anything worth living has tides, highs and lows, and phases. It also has an end, an aim and a goal to work towards. The roles have sometimes blurred, who was the facilitator, who was the artist, who was the outsider? As an intimate small group of three we wrangled with big issues that were revealed through trust and respect and all responded with some rich and loaded work. Learning of Yvonne and Rachel’s past trauma during the project was emotional. I feel proud to have worked alongside two strong and gifted women. I believe the influence we had on each other’s practices will inform our work for a long time to come. We all gained confidence in our abilities and felt valued as artists.

Cissbury Ring Inkscape and Trundle Inkscape in the making