Dynamic Botanical

Drawing / Mixed Media / Still Life - Materials included

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Course details

Exploring the dynamic floral paintings of David Hockney, freshen up your approach to botanical drawing and painting.

David Hockney, Antheriums, 1995 © The David Hockney Estate

Take a fresh approach to botanical drawing and painting with this three-day course exploring the wonders of botanical forms from the micro to the macro. Harnessing both the power of black and white monochrome and intense exhilarating colour, artist Liz Luckwell introduces you to new ways of capturing the shoots and saplings of Cornwall in Spring. Draw the indigenous flora found in St. Ives, as well as work from a mixture of fresh and dried plants brought into the studio.

Starting with a series of guided exercises that aim to loosen your approach to materials, you will have a chance to explore various techniques over the following days.

Weather permitting we will spend a morning collecting reference drawings in sketchbooks along the St. Ives coast path. These studies we then develop in the afternoons back in the studio, in a more fluid approach on large sheets. Building your confidence by a process of ‘listening’ to materials, learn to work in a looser, more experimental and versatile way on a large scale using inks and resists. This is a course that will open the door to just how exciting, dynamic and immediate botanical drawing can be. 

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

We will start with a series of guided exercises that aim to loosen your approach to materials by exploring various techniques of drawing and mark-making. We will take David Hockney’s vivid and spontaneous sketches of flowers as our starting point.

Day 2

We will compose arrangements of plants and flowers with an aerial view looking down and experiment with viewfinders to help to select parts of the compositions so you can zoom in and focus. We will also be looking at artists such as Ellsworth Kelly.

Day 3

Developing our sketches and observations from days one and two, we will transfer these onto large sheets using inks and resists.

What will I learn?

  1. An approach to simplifying botanical drawing so you capture the essence.
  2. A more intuitive approach to still-life drawing and painting.
  3. Approaches to help you successfully scale up your work.
  4. Encouragement to look more closely at the world around you.
  5. Inspiration for working with botanical drawing in experimental ways.

Dynamic Botanical

Drawing / Mixed Media / Still Life – Materials included

Book Selected Date

Taught by


View Liz’s Work

Linking my method to the landscape, I take students on Porthmeor Beach to make experimental drawings in the sand, bringing them back to some of man’s first marks and symbols. My teaching is grounded in an understanding for people and their desire to learn. I feel I have a genuine understanding of how nervous and apprehensive prospective students can sometimes be and am able to help them relax and enjoy being creative.

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 3.30 on Sunday after a short lunch break to try an enable people to get home that day.
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

Very well structured with excellent tuition and overall a wide, diverse, and interesting course.

Robert M

Explored a range of techniques in a safe creative environment nurtured by the school itself and Liz’s deft personal guidance.


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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