Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche declared, “All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.” Boost your creativity and step out with us into West Cornwall’s landscape with inspirational tuition in drawing and painting.
Creatives have long since favoured walking as a nourishing tonic for the imagination. Situate yourself in time and space. Open up possibilities for the unexpected to inspire and motivate you to get painting and drawing. Journey through dramatic swathes of West Cornwall’s landscape with supportive and inspirational tuition that opens the door into creativity.
Sketching and painting the stunning coast path scenery and panoramic estuary views on foot is an extraordinarily freeing experience. Greg introduces you to the technical methodologies of iconic portrayals of the Cornish landscape – such as those by JMW Turner – as well as intuitive exercises to help you unplug from distractions and connect to your surroundings.
After a short trip along one of the most stunning stretches of railway in the country, you’ll walk the golden stretches of Porth Kidney Sands and the Hayle Estuary. As this course includes coast path walking with some steep inclines and stretches over rough ground, a reasonable level of fitness is required. Guided by artist tutor Greg Humphries respond to this stunning environment using mixed media to collect figurative and abstract visual material in a sketchbook. Diverse and structured exercises ensure you enjoy the challenge of stepping outside your comfort zone. You’ll work mostly outside, with timings organised to optimise the weather conditions. The latter part of the course will be based in our studio. A chance to consolidate sketchbook material into more considered paintings that capture the essence of place.
If you have any access questions do please call the School to find out more.
“What worked for me was masses of individual attention and encouragement and positive support, the opportunity to sketch outside. These 2 days have opened doors I have been longing to open. Thank you Greg.” – Debs Blyth.
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.
Walk south along the coast path, using sketchbooks out in this dramatic clifftop landscape to explore techniques favoured by JMW Turner using charcoal, pencil and watercolour. Returning to the studio in the afternoon, you’ll translate these early sketches into more considered pieces using acrylic on board. Greg will offer his expertise in this medium via demonstrations, focusing on layering and glazes.
Spend the day outside, taking a short trip on the historic St Ives trainline to Carbis Bay. From there, walk along the golden stretch of Porth Kidney Sands and the picturesque Hayle estuary to Lelant (approx 3km). On the way you’ll explore ideas of abstraction and simplification to create more expressive work using gouache paint, graphite and collage en plain air. Exercises are based on the work of Kurt Jackson, Henry Moore, John Miller, Ben Nicholson and Piet Mondrian.
The final day of the course is based in the studio. Making decisions based on artists, techniques and exercises from previous days, Greg will support you in creating your own response to the South West Coast Path.
What will I learn?
- A reviving few days spent outside away from distractions to reinvigorate your creativity.
- Expert guidance from an environmental artist on techniques historically deployed by artists to collect visual material outside, as well as some innovative intuitive exercise to help you connect to place more deeply.
- A creative journey through one of the most stunning stretches of the English countryside.
- Tips on the use of a variety of media including gouache paint, charcoal, graphite and collage.
- One-on-one advice on the decisions that evolve sketches and source material into a consolidated painting.
Who would this course suit?
If you love the outdoors and would like to translate that inspiration into expressive landscape paintings, this is a fantastic opportunity to get expert advice on how to accumulate and develop visual information. As the course includes a significant amount of walking outdoors, a reasonable degree of fitness is required; do not hesitate to contact the school if you have any questions about this. Whether you’re a beginner or have a little more experience, this is course helps you draw on a powerful connection with the elements and the environment with techniques and exercises to get the most out of your paintings.
I try to connect people to their environment with my art. I started out as a landscape painter, but it was only through undertaking a masters degree in 2009 that I realised the best way to connect people to their environment was to take them into that environment and get them to make the art! This is now the core of my practice and through my work I specialise in outdoor education and woodland management.
What to Bring
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 like to use, please bring them with you.
It may also be useful to bring a plastic folder or portfolio to transport your work home (although we have these available to buy from £3.50). If your course involves working outside we would recommend you bring warm, waterproof clothing and sturdy walking shoes or boots.
- Packed Lunch for the first two days of the course
- Waterproof and windproof coat
- Sturdy walking boots / walking shoes (not trainers)
- Hat (for sun protection)
- Sun cream
- Water bottle
- Binoculars (optional)
- Camera (or phone camera)
- Watch or suitable timepiece
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. Please wear a mask on arrival.
All course days after that start at 9.30am and finish at 3.30 on Sunday after a short lunch break to try an enable people to get home that day.
There are plenty of nearby places to eat and we will serve tea and coffee at break times during the day.
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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