Poetry of Process

Oil / Abstract / Beginners - Materials included

Book Selected Date

Course details

This mixed media course liberates you from expectations and encourages you to embrace the happy accident. Develop your painting in several directions simultaneously, and invest your creative energy more wisely.

student in St Ives art studio painting course

Artist tutor Kerry Harding will open up a world of possibilities for you when it comes to working with paint. Through experimenting with tone, viscosity and texture, a whole new creative language unfurls. Discover how using unconventional tools and alternative paint consistencies can shape ideas in a way that feels fluid and instinctive. 
Learn how to find starting points from diverse source material. This could be from sketches you bring with you as well as what you gather while on the course. We will use St Ives as our starting point to guide you through the process. This will be brief forays out to gather quick sketches. You’ll be encouraged to invest your observations with your own narrative. The process you will learn through responding to landscape you can then transfer to any subject matter. As you work faster and freer, a visual sense of your personal narrative becomes clearer – a unique creative dialect with its own inflections and idiosyncrasies.  
Finally, begin to consolidate and condense your creative yields, gaining insight into the crucial final decisions that pull a painting together. This course empowers you to have control over your creative output. Learn more about what conditions help you to flourish creatively, taking inspiration out of the unknown and into your control.  

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

An introduction to shifting your perspective on inspiration and expectation. Then experiment and explore with oil paints using unconventional tools and media, focusing on creating your own consistencies rather than using paint straight from the tube.  Order your experiments into a chart of textures and marks to refer to during the course. Brief sketching sessions outside depending on weather. 

Day 2

Develop your experiments from the previous day, layering them and building them up as well as cutting and taking things away to reveal hidden potential. Consider source material, starting with your immediate surroundings in St Ives but also bringing in some of your personal narrative.

Day 3

Use a series-based approach to extrapolate your ideas using techniques from previous days. Build spontaneity into your practice and focus less on the finished project. Gain insight into making the final decisions that pull a painting together.

Day 4

A day in the studio to pull all your learning together and keep on experimenting.

Who would this course suit?

This course would suit anyone looking to gain a better understanding of the process of painting. Whether you’re a beginner looking to demystify making art, or you already have a practice of your own, this is a great opportunity to ensure that your creative energy is used in the most productive way.  This course involves working in oils. We use low odour white spirit and a turps alternative called Zest It. However if you have a sensitivity to solvents and oil based products the course might not be suitable.

Poetry of Process

Oil / Abstract / Beginners – Materials included

Book Selected Date

Taught by


View Kerry’s Work

‘Giving permission’ and ‘making transparent’ is what I try to do every time I teach. This inevitably leads to the reward of witnessing a small epiphany or pivotal direction change in a student’s approach. I enjoy teaching at the school as it has no set ‘school’ approach, each course is put together and taught from the tutors own practice. This has the benefit of enabling me to be both tutor and student within this process.

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

It completely transformed my understanding of painting. From working obsessively on single canvases in a derivative realist manner, I’ve been given the confidence to experiment with techniques completely new to me. It was an incredibly rich and exciting experience.

Greg Hall

It completely transformed my understanding of painting. From working obsessively on single canvases in a derivative realist manner, I’ve been given the confidence to experiment with techniques completely new to me. It was an incredibly rich and exciting experience.

Greg Hall

Kerry’s enthusiasm was amazing – she engaged with everyone giving great instructions and good one to one advice. The location is faultless and workshop space wonderful to work in.

Susie Harris


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.

You might also like...