Be Colour Confident

Acrylic / Oil - Materials included

Book Selected Date

Course details

Nothing says confidence like a bold use of colour. Your cure-all remedy for common colour quandaries like muddiness and overmixing, this course gives you the confidence to make it work for you.

When it comes to painting, nothing says confidence quite like a bold use of colour. Your cure-all course for common colour quandaries like muddiness and overmixing, Be Colour Confident shows you how to accurately mix fresh and radiant colour through engaging practical tasks.

Colour is all about relationships. Our own relationship with colour is instinctive. Colour is what draws us to a painting, and colour is one of the first things we notice when it doesn’t work. Discover the secrets to creating harmony and discord in your paintings by simply combining the right colours.

Artist tutor Marion Taylor leads you through a series of experiments that reveal how and why artists use colour. Explore high-key painters like Henri Matisse, Patrick Heron and Sandra Blow; low-key painters like Gwen John, Ben Nicholson and Paul Feiler and learn to create a palette based on the local St Ives surroundings. Experimenting with these influences gives you an excellent understanding of what draws your eye. This becomes the foundation of your own painting on the second day. 

This is a wonderful opportunity to focus completely on colour in all its boldness and subtlety and have the confidence to make it work for you.

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 and weather.

Day 1

Begin with a brief introduction to the science of colour. Look at examples of artists that use low-key and high-key colour ranges in their work. Working in acrylics, explore the relationships between colours: harmonic ranges, discord and complementary colours for example.

Day 2

Put your colour theory into practice, using oil paints to capture a studio scene as well as drawing on the local St Ives colour palette to master grading and mixing.



  1. An understanding of the science and theory behind colour
  2. An understanding of the techniques of mixing colours and how to avoid muddiness and overmixing.
  3. An understanding of how to tone colour without losing its radiance.
  4. Insight into the diverse ways different artists use colour and their emotive qualities
  5. Insight into your instinctive relationship with colour and how this can guide composition and style.

Who would this course suit?

This course would suit anyone looking to have greater confidence and control in their use of colour. The course is designed to open the door to a wide range of artistic styles and uses of colour, from figurative to abstract and from high-key to low-key. We invite participants of all kinds of experience and interest to get mixing and be colour confident!

Be Colour Confident

Acrylic / Oil – Materials included

Book Selected Date

Taught by


View Marion’s Work

I have enjoyed teaching at The School for over 25 years and this has always gone hand in hand with my own practice, as I find sharing ideas and techniques stimulating and rewarding. My approach is to give students the confidence to develop their skills, to think for themselves and so extend their visual language and find their own path.

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.


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

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 Long Stay Car Park, both a 5 minute walk away. In the peak summer months it may be easier to park at Trenwith 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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