Experimental, Abstract Landscapes

Drawing / Mixed Media / Abstract - Materials included

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Course details

Join contemporary artist Natalie Day for this playful and collaborative course using natural pigments to build confidence developing abstract artwork.

As artists, are we supposed to work alone? This course challenges the idea of the lone artist in the studio and encourages you to explore a more collaborative approach. An exciting chance to experiment with new ways of working and materials, as well as to learn from other people’s approaches and practices. Use natural pigments alongside cyanotypes, and see how to incorporate playful ideas, themes and working practices into your painting.

On the first day, Natalie encourages you to work on collaborative drawings; seeing how sharing, swapping and reworking can encourage a bolder and less inhibited approach to image-making. Head out to the coast and see which aspects of the St Ives landscape you are drawn to – details of splits in rocks or panoramic stretches? Then, returning to the studio, work back into these drawings from memory and develop them further using a variety processes. On the final day, consolidate your own artwork or work collaboratively with another student. An exciting, fast-paced new course encouraging a new way of working.

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

Head out into the landscape of St Ives and work on a series of collaborative drawings in the morning. In the afternoon, continue to work back into these drawings through memory; encouraging and developing a more abstract way of working.

Day 2

Working with dried earth pigments, water and oil-based binders and cyanotype printing techniques, work back into these drawings, developing them further through experimentation and play.

Day 3

On the final day, you will have the opportunity to either develop these pieces into more finished pieces or to develop ideas to take forward into future works. You will also have the chance to work together or apart – the choice is yours! End the day by sharing your work with your tutor and other group members.

What will I learn?

  1. Learn new techniques and experimental ways of working.
  2. Build confidence developing more abstract artworks.
  3. Learn that painting and art-making needn’t be a solitary activity! See how working collaboratively can spark ideas and inspiration.
  4. Learn about natural pigments and cyanotypes.
  5.  Gain confidence in building a composition. .

Who would this course suit?

This course is suitable for anyone. If you are interested in finding new ways of capturing the environment around you, this course is for you. Most importantly, this will be a chance to explore and experiment without judgement.

Experimental, Abstract Landscapes

Drawing / Mixed Media / Abstract – Materials included

Book Selected Date

Taught by

Letting go of attachment to outcomes is an important element of my practice and teaching. I begin by gathering visual and sensory information, recording what I can on paper, then editing and simplifying back in the studio and using this to inform new pieces. By keeping myself curious I can step away from the idea of ‘making a painting’ and simply enjoy the process of exploring and letting the materials guide me. 

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

Natalie is a great teacher, I appreciated how she kept checking in with how people were doing and encouraging them along too. I have been interested in using overhead views for a while so it was motivating to see Natalie working with that.


Clear, well demonstrated exercises by Natalie… a lovely simple way of embarking on abstraction in the landscape.


Enjoyable and empowering. Natalie was clear and engaging and I would love to do more sessions with her… I have learned so much.



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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