Capturing St Ives

Waterbased / Landscape - Materials included

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Course details

Use the simple yet powerful technique of line and wash to study St Ives’ buildings, cottages and cobbled streets and bring them to life in the studio.

St Ives town

Capture the unforgettable essence of St. Ives harbour and town, its buildings, cottages and cobbled streets that have changed little over the centuries.

Join artist Hilary Jean Gibson on this three-day course exploring the picturesque town of St Ives. Let Hilary show you more familiar sites of the town alongside hidden gems. Learn about St Ives’s fascinating history as a hub for artists and visit some of the famous locations where artists lived and worked. For inspiration, you will be looking at artists including Paul Hogarth, David Gentleman, Eric Raviliious, Edward Bawden, John Piper and Edward Ardizzone.

Learn how to use the deceptively simple approach of line and wash to capture these locations in situ, as well as drawing with coloured inks, pencils and pens on coloured papers.  Create annotated studies to return to the studio to develop into larger pieces in pen, ink and wash.

This course is ideal if you want to learn to realistically capture buildings and streets from simple and straightforward techniques. Using minimal materials, you will build confidence in capturing a sense of place wherever you go!

Day to day plan

Day 1

Working en plein air, we will create a series of quick drawings for 10-15 minutes. Hilary will demonstrate how to simplify an overwhelming view by using a jigsaw of shapes and other selective methods into a simple drawing. Also, how to create an invaluable working sketch annotated with tone, textures and colour notes. 

Day 2

On the second day, continue to work outside and build these rapid sketches into more complete drawings. other days we would take a stool to sit on as the drawing would take longer in situ, perhaps up to an hour

Day 3

Adding colour, develop the your drawings further again and create A4 drawings. Looking back at the previous days work, select the strongest pieces to to crop or scale up. Ending the course back in the studio, this is a chance to gather feedback from Hilary and other participants on the course.

Who would the course suit?

This course is for anyone interested in drawing and illustration using pen, ink and watercolour wash techniques. As we will be using the buildings of St Ives as inspiration, it would also suit anyone interested the architectural landscape and history of St Ives.

There will be some walking involved around the town, when we are outdoor sketching, which will probably involve some hills/slopes. We will be working outside most days for a few hours so come prepared with warm and waterproof clothing.

Capturing St Ives

Waterbased / 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 end at 4pm. 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

I really enjoyed the drawing and painting activities indoors and outside. I learnt a lot and have already started to practice at home. Inspiring teacher, and lovely people on the course.


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 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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