Joan Eardley, January Flow Tide, 1961 © Estate of Joan Eardley

Joan Eardley - Land, Sea, People + Place

Mixed Media / Oil / Landscape - Materials included

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Course details

Join artist Jill Eisele on a painter’s pilgrimage into the world of Joan Eardley.  This three day  course taps into the rich seam of Eardley’s work inspiring you to explore place, people, landscape and mark making in your own work. 

Jill Eisele
Jill Eisele

This course will explore how Joan Eardley’s powerful and expressive paintings have made Eardley a ‘painter’s painter’. During Eardley’s life, she produced a prolific body of work which remains an inspiration for artists today. Radical in her approach to both living and working, Eardley’s depictions of wild seas and expressive landscapes, as well as her deep connection to place, resonate with us here in Cornwall. 

Inspired by her contemporaries in American Abstract Expressionism, Eardley integrated the freedom that this movement encapsulated in her approach to painting. Whether Eardley depicted the street scenes of Glasgow or the vast expanses of sea and sky in Catterline, her paintings remain unique and arresting to this day. 

Tutor Jill will take us through Eardley’s artistic journey, exploring how Eardley’s work has inspired her own practice. Following Jill’s own pilgrimage to the coast of Catterline, Jill will share with you approaches and techniques on how to capture a sense of place through bold, expressive mark-making. Jill will encourage you to find your own artistic voice and visual vocabulary through your unique artistic journey, embracing the rich space between realism and abstraction. 

You can find out more about her life and the centenary celebrations on the website

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

Inspired by Joan Eardley’s rigorous but expressive and experimental drawing practice, you will explore working with a variety of materials on different coloured grounds and experimental surfaces. 

Spending some time working outside in the morning, you will gather lettering and graffiti from around St Ives. Then, using archive photos and our research drawings from the morning, you will experiment with thick and thin paint and collage. Jill will show you how to create rich, textured surfaces with layered words and imagery loosely based on Eardley’s paintings of Glasgow children.

Day 2

In the second session, you will focus on Eardley’s land and seascapes of Catterline. Using ink, acrylics and oils, you will work en plein air on the cliffs at Porthmeor in the morning, returning to the studio by the afternoon to continue working. Exploring Joan Eardley’s interest in Abstract Expressionism, Jill will encourage you to find your own painterly and calligraphic response to landscape of St Ives.


Day 3

The final session will be a chance for you to consolidate what you have learnt in the first two days. You are encouraged to explore and experiment using the visual information collected in the first two sessions as well as the the techniques taught by Jill.

What will I learn?

  • Practical steps to discover your own artistic voice 
  • Confidence to explore space between realism and abstraction 
  • Tools around using painting and drawing expressively 
  • How to combine materials such as oils, oils bars and collage
  • Insights into the work of Eardley 

Who would this course suit?

Jill Eisele’s positivity and enthusiasm create the ideal conditions for venturing into experimentation and abstraction. If gestural and luscious paintings appeal to you, this is a wonderful opportunity to learn the tips and techniques for creating textured and intriguing art work.

There will be some walking and working outdoors on day one and two of the course.

Joan Eardley – Land, Sea, People and Place

Mixed Media / Oil / Landscape – Materials included

Book Selected Date

Taught by


View Jill’s Work

My practice begins with drawing, often taking me to wild and wonderful parts of Cornwall, capturing fleeting moments where light and colour create atmosphere and expression. These underpin my largely figurative paintings, which convey a sense of incompleteness; of place and mystery.

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

Jill was an excellent tutor. Very well run course, engaging and insightful. Thoroughly enjoyable and I learnt lots of new techniques. 



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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