Gestural Landscapes

Acrylic / Mixed Media / Abstract / Landscape - Materials included

Book Selected Date

Course details

Join us for this for this four-day course and learn how to interpret the landscape using bold, gestural marks.

See how Cornish-based artist Maxine Hart translates her everyday walks and meanderings into bold, abstract compositions. Using colour, shape and line, see how Maxine interprets her dramatic surroundings through dynamic mark-making and expressive multimedia paintings.

Over three days, Maxine will take you on walks along the cobbled streets and coastline of St Ives. Weather dependent, see how to capture this iconic backdrop through swift gestural mark-making in a range of media. Taking these observations back to the studio, explore various ways of composing a landscape – how to select particular parts of a study, how to crop as well as expand a composition and how to select, or ‘bring out’ the most interesting parts.

Using your studies and explorations, Maxine will demonstrate how to translate these into larger pieces. You have the chance to experiment and play with a range of mediums, testing which colours and marks ‘work’, and which ones can be discarded. This is a multimedia, fast-moving course designed to help you to loosen your approach as well as to capture the ‘essence’ of a particular landscape, wherever you’re based in 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

A short introduction to Maxine and other artists work will be followed by a trip into St Ives and the surrounding coastline. Gathering sketches, you will gain a ‘feel’ for the landscape, which will feed into your own interpretation.

Day 2

Weather dependent, there might be some more drawing outside. Back in the studio, Maxine will show you a range of mark-making and experiments with various media. This day will be a chance to play and to explore various compositions.

Day 3

Studio-based, work across one, or multiple compositions. Using the work from previous days, explore your own visual vocabulary and loosen your approach to capturing the landscape.

What will I learn?

  1. Experiment with mixed media and mark-making.
  2. Loosen your approach to capturing the landscape around you.
  3. Simplify a landscape to gestural marks and elements.
  4. Learn how to make effective and dynamic compositions.

Who would this course suit?

This course would suit artists at any stage in their creative journey; whether you have an established practice or are just starting out. Ideal if you are looking for ways to increase skills, experience and attitude as well as interests and mobility.

Gestural Landscapes

Acrylic / Mixed Media / Abstract / Landscape – Materials included

Book Selected Date

Taught by

I approach teaching in a relaxed style. I love to share my enthusiasm, joy and knowledge of the physical process of drawing and painting; embracing happy accidents and experimenting with different materials.

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

Maxine created a relaxed and welcoming experience for all students of all experience level. I came away feeling ready to experiment and expand the skills learnt without fear.

Absolutely adored this course and didn’t want it to end. Maxine is a wonderful and inspiring teacher, so full of energy and passionate about painting. A great group of people on the course and feel like I learned so much and confident to get practicing on my own. Thanks, I will definitely be coming back for more courses in future.


I wanted to free up my art. I hoped my choice of course ‘Gestural Landscapes’ would do this, and it really did. I learnt new techniques and took away lots of ideas that I can use in my art.

Sue S

It completely exceeded my expectations. I had told myself that if I wasn’t enjoying it, I’d leave at lunch time on day one! I loved it and wished it wasn’t over, apart from being shattered! I feel lucky to have had the opportunity and would definitely recommend and hope to come back for more. Thank you to all involved at the school and to Maxine. Brilliant!

Annabel H


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

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 Long Stay Car Park, both a 5 minute walk away. In the peak summer months it may be easier to park at Trenwith 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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