Exploring 'Alla Prima' Painting

Acrylic / Still Life

Book Selected Date

Course details

Join us for this fast, experimental webinar taking the objects we know and love around us as a starting point.

Iona Sanders

Join Cornwall-based artist Iona Sanders for this fun and intuitive online webinar using acrylics to explore various techniques. Iona encourages a wet-on-wet approach – her take on an ‘Alla Prima’ technique – working quickly around the painting as sections dry. For the webinar, Iona will bring her own ‘objects of desire’ to our Porthmeor Studios, but you are encouraged to find your own points of inspiration. Encouraging you to loosen up your approach and to ‘find your inner voice’, Iona asks, what makes you tick? What drives us to make art?

Starting by looking at your selected objects you will ask, how does it make you feel? And where do you start when depicting it using colour, texture or tone on your paper or canvas? Approaching a sheet of blank paper can be daunting, but Iona encourages you to let go and give yourself permission to explore.

Using a variety of short exercises and working towards a larger piece, this course is ideal if you are looking for ways-in to creating images, fast and intuitively. This is not about ‘accuracy’ or realism but rather a chance to absorb yourself in the process of drawing and painting. Looking at the work of artists such as Winifred Nicholson, Rose Hilton and Van Gogh, amongst others, see how other artists have selected colour through what they are drawn to, emotionally, rather than realistic depictions. Work quickly and without judgement – see what emerges. Don’t worry if you draw a blank; that’s why we are here!

Iona will guide you, live from our historic studios in St Ives, but you can join us wherever you are in the world. 

Who is this course for?

This course is suitable for both absolute beginners and those with more experience, looking to build confidence in new ways of working. Aimed to help you step out of your comfort zone and loosen your approach to drawing and painting. 

What will I learn?

1. Build confidence working quickly and playfully with acrylic paint.

2. Experiment with new ways of working, loosen your approach to painting.

3. Work more intuitively – trust the process!

4. How to find your own colour palette.

5. How to find ways into painting when you have a creative block.

How does an online session work?

We record the sessions so you can watch on demand, as often as you like, for up to 60 days after purchase. This way you can pause a scene, rewind and finish your painting.

You will be invited to join our Facebook Alumni group so you can share your discoveries with fellow students from around the world. You can also share your work live with others on social media using the #schoolofpainting

You can watch on a PC, laptop or tablet and if you have chromecast or miracast you could even cast to your SmartTV from your phone.

Exploring ‘Alla Prima’ Painting

Acrylic / Still Life

Book Selected Date

Taught by


View Iona’s Work

My approach to teaching is to give students the confidence to be free and intuitive in their practice, to lose themselves in their creativity, and to find their inner voice. Focusing on their own journey, banishing doubt and building positivity will be key to their enjoyment and fulfilment on the course.

What to Bring

We will send you a handbook on setting up ready for the course covering equipment and materials. There will be a task sent to you before the webinar to help take photographs and make quick sketches.

You will need access to the internet and ideally a PC, laptop or a tablet with audio. Phones are not really suitable to watch a webinar on, unless you can cast to your Smart TV, as the presenter will be hard to see when they share their screen with you .

Timings and Breaks

Live broadcast, 4:30pm, Thursday 19th January (1.5 hours)

During the session please pose questions to the artist using the chat function.

You can revisit as often as you like for up to 60 days after purchase via the same links as the live events.


Online Broadcast

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

Do I need a webcam/any equipment.

For our webinar sessions which are broadcast on the internet and no webcam or microphone is needed as you just need to be able to see/hear hosts and you can communicate using the chat function. You can watch using a PC, Smart TV or tablet. A phone isn’t ideal as you will struggle to see enough unless you can miracast to a screen or smart TV.

For the longer online courses on Zoom you will need a laptop or tablet with audio and camera enabled so you can have a screen near where you are working. If you have a PC without camera or speakers, you can purchase a plug and play webcam for approx £25 which connects to a usb port. You will also need reasonable broadband connection and speed.

All the art materials and equipment needed to participate in the course will be listed in full on the online learning platform, for live webinars this will be a minimum of two weeks before the session starts.

I have registered for the webinar but I can't find my joining link

You can access all the resources and joining link for your webinar via our online learning platform. You will need to have set up an account on our online learning platform in advance. You can do this during the checkout process when purchasing your webinar. If you are having trouble accessing your online account, please contact info@schoolofpainting.co.uk. You can use a PC or tablet or even cast from your phone to watch on your Smart TV.

I paid for the session but missed it, how can I watch?

Currently all our online sessions are recorded and you can access the recording on our online learning platform until it expires. Usually 60 days for a webinar, 90 – 180 days for multipart webinars or online courses.

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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