Contemporary Landscape Painting

Acrylic / Mixed Media / Landscape - Materials included

Book Selected Date

Course details

Working both en plein air and in the studio create landscape paintings that are authentic, evocative and original, in the unique surrounds of the coast in St Ives.

Oil painting by Vicki Gilman

This illuminating course will combine en plein air response to landscape with in-studio reflective practice to hone your skills and personal approach to painting. Victoria Gillow will help you to harness a sense of place and your relationship with it to create paintings that are authentic, evocative, and original. 

Engaging with other acclaimed artists’ work including Sir Terry Frost, Patrick Heron, Alfred Wallace and John Constable, you will learn about composition, colour, tonality and upscaling during three days of immersive and mindful practice. Time will be spent outside, working in sketchbooks, creating thumbnail drawings and making paintings that capture the weather and energy of a place. Then moving in to the studio, you will start to upscale work into larger pieces and explore a variety of materials such as pitt pencil, graphite stick, soft pencils, charcoal, pen, ink, acrylics and mixed media.

Victoria will expertly help you to navigate the entire process from idea progression and line drawing to colour mixing and paint layering, through a combination of demonstration and individual guidance. Focusing on these technical aspects while also facilitating connection and free flow will result in unique and personal paintings, as well as the ability for you to continue with your work as progressive pieces once the course is completed. 

From drawing exercises and studies on the spirit of place to visual mapping, thumbnails, and equipment guides, you’ll develop a toolkit for developing your skill, knowledge, and confidence.

What will I learn?

  1. How to liberate your ideas, begin your work, and fine-tune your decision-making 
  2. How to work outside e.g. framing techniques, abstracting, refining, and an equipment guide 
  3. Develop drawing exercises in mark-making, tonality, constraints (eg use of negative), and free, continual line drawing. 
  4. How to use sketchbooks and drawing materials to capture your interests and develop ideas  
  5. Work with colour: mixing and usage 
  6. Discover how to upscale and develop your work  

Who would this course suit?

This course is suited to all levels, from beginners to those with experience. An interest in landscape/seascape painting would be beneficial (but is not essential), though the emphasis is on enabling reverie and access to creativity through artistic practice – so is the perfect fit for anyone wishing to experience this. 

Participants must have some mobility to manage some basic walking and working on the beach or headland.  However, working from, or through a window or from a comfortable place alongside Porthmeor beach may be possible by prior arrangement.  

Contemporary Landscape Painting

Acrylic / Mixed Media / Landscape – Materials included

Book Selected Date

Taught by


View Victoria’s Work

I am a Cornish painter, based in Falmouth. My practice derives from a lifetime of looking and belonging. My Cornish heritage and love of the land and sea has informed a practice of landscape and coastal paintings, generating work mainly on site.

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

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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