Finding your Viewpoint

Acrylic / Mixed Media - Materials included

Book Selected Date

Course details

If paintings that appear effortlessly profound seem like the work of an elusive genius to you, you’re not alone. Learn to turn observation and intuition into perceptive and personal paintings.

Armed with a sketchbook, you’ll roam St Ives gathering visual source material to use over the rest of the course. This experience acclimatises you to your creative context; elevating you above distraction and self-critique so that you can see clearly what resonates with you. This could be the minutiae of sand and stones on the beach, the sweeping swathes of Cornish landscape or figures bundled against the breeze. You’ll begin to comprehend the story your sketchbook is telling you of your viewpoint on the world. 

Back in the studio, your tutor, artist Ilker Cinarel, will guide you through applying process to your sketches. Begin by examining them for recurring themes and motifs that offer visual clues into how you frame the world around you. Ilker will explain the more formal considerations of painting, such as form, structure and composition, as well as offer his seasoned approach to working with acrylics. He will then lead you in a liberating collage exercise, transforming your sketches into narratives of your individual response to place. You’ll combine these with representations of your own experience to produce compelling paintings that capture your unique lens on the world.

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

Spend time out in St Ives freely gathering information in a sketchbook. Back in the studio, Ilker introduces you to the formal considerations of painting: form, scale and composition, as well as how to use acrylics. Use collage exercises to process and transform your source material into narrative compositions.

Day 2

The second day is about accessing what is significant to you. Combine your insight from the previous day into what motifs resonate with you with internal source material from your life.

Day 3

Based on the technical information and source material gathered over the previous two days, work on a painting that tells the story of your unique viewpoint, weaving together your observation with other more personal elements.

What will I learn?

  1. Confidence in trusting yourself when collecting source material and recognising recurring styles and motifs that emerge from it.
  2. A straightforward method of using collage to build narrative in your paintings.
  3. Technical guidance on the formal structure of painting such as composition and form.
  4. Confidence in using acrylic paints.
  5. An understanding of ways to layer observational landscape with more personal symbolism.

Who would this course suit?

This course is open to painters of all levels – from beginners to those with more experience. It would benefit those that want to build more personal narrative into their painting and would like insight on how this could be possible. It offers you a useful window of introspection, so if you find it tricky to see things clearly on your own, this course can help.

Finding your Viewpoint

Acrylic / Mixed Media – Materials included

Book Selected Date

Taught by


View Ilker’s Work

I love sharing my knowledge and life experiences with others. My unique approach is to try to create individual, authentic voices in the curriculum within a conceptual and non conceptual framework. It’s great to be part of an historical, internationally renowned school.

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 9.30 am and finishes at 4 pm. Please arrive ten to fifteen minutes before the start time

All course days after that start at 9.15am and finish at 3.45 pm and there will be an hour for lunch. Occasionally these times may be changed if required by the tutor. There are plenty of nearby places to eat and we will serve tea and fresh ground coffee at break times during the day.

What our students say

Ilker being a great listener made everyone feel important, talented and able. His excitement was truly infectious. Making me feel all is possible. Gently pushing and challenging in a way that made me feel – yes! He never felt flippant – his comments never generic – always 100% giving of his own creativity. What a great mentor.

Lydia Knights

For a first experience at St Ives school of art I was so impressed with the quality of tutorship for this course! Ilker gave such a huge amount of energy and passion to challenge each one of us but from a place of playfulness and encouragement. It was just what I needed at this time in my practice and I feel a surge of courage and inspiration to push deeper into the ´content ’ of my art practice and move beyond the safety of the commercial appeal to a place of truth, vulnerability and honesty. Excellent value and investment.

Isabelle Roberts


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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