Barbara Hepworth's Garden

Drawing / Mixed Media / Abstract / Landscape - Materials included

Book Selected Date

Course details

Join us for this three-day course working in Barbara Hepworth’s beautiful sculpture garden in St Ives.

Hilary Jean Gibson, Barbara Hepworth
Sketching in the Barbara Hepworth’s Museum Garden
Hilary Jean Gibson, Barbara Hepworth
Painting by Hilary Jean Gibson

Following the outbreak of war, Barbara Hepworth moved to St Ives with her partner, the artist Ben Nicholson, and family in 1939. Ten years later, she moved into Trewyn Studios – the place where she would live and work until her death.

Now known as Barbara Hepworth’s sculpture garden, and managed by Tate, these studios provided a sanctuary for Hepworth to live and work, writing of them: ‘Finding Trewyn Studio was a sort of magic’. At Trewyn, there was a studio, a yard and a garden where Hepworth could work in ‘open air and space’ The home, garden and studio is now preserved as a museum, and the sculptures are much in the same place they always were. Providing a sanctuary for artists and visitors, Hepworth’s garden is full of impressive sculptural objects amongst leafy green foliage; an ideal spot for sketching.

On this three day course, enjoy spending time in Hepworth’s beautiful sculpture garden, developing a journal of sketches to develop further back in our historic Porthmeor studios. Led by artist Hilary Jean Gibson, this course explores Hepworth’s sculptures through pencil, mixed-media and watercolour. Let Hilary guide you through the historic garden and spend some time gathering information through sketching and note-taking to bring back to the Studio.

Back in the studio, add colour using a limited palette, and see how to capture the colours, textures and stones of the sculptural shapes against plants and buildings. This course is ideal if you have some experience of drawing and watercolour, but this is not essential.

Day to day plan

This is a rough indication of what to expect over the course. However sometimes the structure of the days may alter depending on the nature of the group.

Day 1

On day one, we will spend time in Hepworth’s Garden in St Ives; gathering information to take back to the Studio through sketching and note-taking. Using pencils and water-soluble pencils, you will develop a journal. Hilary will show you how to create tonal and colour notes.

Day 2

Back in the historic Porthmeor Studios, we will work from these journals developed on day one to create drawings, mixed-media studies and watercolours. Using a limited palette, you will discover how to mix the bronze colour of the sculptures, and the green verdigris colouring of the patinations found on their surfaces. (Hepworth had her own recipes for these).

Day 3

Developing your work even further, on the third day, we will experiment with superimposing, wet in wet and variegated washes. You will leave the course with a number of ‘finished’ pieces inspired by Hepworth’s Garden and using the techniques learnt on the course. There will be a chance to share your work with your tutor and peers at the end.

What will I learn?

  1. Learn about Barbara Hepworth and her history in St Ives.
  2. Increased confidence working ‘en plein air’, gathering material to take back to the studio.
  3. Explore themes in Hepworth’s work such as realism and abstraction.
  4. Experiment with a variety media and techniques used in watercolour.

Who would this course suit?

This course would suit artists at any stage in their creative journey; whether you have an established practice or are just starting out. Ideal if you are looking for ways to increase skills, experience and attitude as well as interests and mobility.

Barbara Hepworth’s Garden

Drawing / Mixed Media / Abstract / Landscape – Materials included

Book Selected Date

Taught by

In 1995 I became a tutor at the St Ives School of Painting. Offering inspiration through my passion for drawing, water-based media and art history, I strive to liberate a creative vision by teaching skills and techniques through direct observation and en plein air.

What to Bring

Our studios are fully equipped and we provide you with all the materials you need for your course. However, if you have a favourite set of brushes or any specialist materials that you would prefer to use, please bring them with you.

Timings and Breaks

The first day starts at 10am and finishes at 4.30pm, please aim to arrive ten to fifteen minutes before the start time.

All course days after that start at 9.30am and finish at 4pm and there will be an hour for lunch. There are plenty of nearby places to eat and we will serve tea and coffee at break times during the day.

What our students say

Exceeded expectations! Venue, location, beautiful materials were all just right. Small friendly group of students and a tutor who inspired and really knew her subject and how to deliver and encourage us. I will be checking out your online courses because I live overseas.

Alison W


Studio Courses

How can I get help in choosing a course?

Our friendly expert staff are always happy to discuss your needs and our courses in more detail to help you with your decision. Please call us on 01736 797180

How do I get my work home?

Tutors have special techniques for transporting oil paintings and the school has plastic folders available in our shop for £3.50 or do bring a portfolio.

For international students we are happy to arrange transportation of your work back home.

What do I need to bring?

Absolutely nothing! All materials and aprons are provided although some people do like to bring their own set of brushes.

What do I do for lunch?

Courses allow an hour’s break for lunch and there are numerous places nearby or you are welcome to bring a packed lunch into the studio.

What times do courses run?

Most of our courses start at 10am and end at 4.30pm on the first day. Subsequent days we start at 9.30am ending at 4pm.

Weekend Courses run 10am – 4pm on the first day but the final day starts at 9.30 and ends at 3.30 with a short lunch break to enable people to get home that evening.

Do you have to be experienced to come to the School?

The School is a very friendly and welcoming place for all ages and experience. Our drop-in life classes and August half-day workshops are ideal for those wanting to have a go for the first time. Most of our longer courses are also fine for novices.

If any of the courses do need a bit of experience we flag this up in the brochure and on the website.

Booking a Course

Can I pay by cheque?

Please get in touch by phone and we can hold your place for a few days whilst you post your cheque (made payable to: St Ives School of Painting) to us at St Ives School of Painting, Porthmeor Studios. St Ives TR26 1NG

How can I reserve a place?

We will hold a provisional reservation for 24 hours if you give us a call whilst you find accommodation. Otherwise please book online or by telephone 01736 797180.

You can reserve a place with a £100 deposit; balance is due 12 weeks before course start date.

About St Ives

Where do I park?

The nearest long stay public car parks are the Island and Barnoon both 5 minute walk away. In the peak summer months it may be easier to park at the big top car park by the leisure centre and walk down into town. If you don’t fancy the walk up the hill at the end of the day there is a shuttle bus which runs from outside the cinema.

How do I get there?

Public Transport: If you are coming from further afield the main train line runs into St Erth which is a 15 min taxi ride away or you can take the St Ives Bay Line which runs approx. every 30 minutes. The School is a 10 minute walk from St Ives station.

Driving: M5 will take you to Exeter where we recommend that you take the A30 across Bodmin Moor and into Cornwall. After passing Hayle, leave the A30 at St Erth roundabout for St Ives. Turn right at the second roundabout. This road will take you through Lelant and Carbis Bay into St Ives.

Where can I stay?

St Ives has a huge selection of hotels, guest houses and self catering accommodation to choose from. Please browse the art holidays St Ives section on our website and give us a call if you would like any help.

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