St Ives In Oils

Drawing / Mixed Media / Oil / Landscape - Materials included

Book Selected Date

Course details

Paint like an impressionist, learning to build lusciously layered oil paintings in a single sitting, inspired by the iconic harbour of St Ives.

Boats in the sea.

This weekend course helps you capture the beautiful working harbour of St Ives. The fishing boats, the reflection of blue skies and clouds in the rippling wet sands. Work en plein air and experience the energy of a subject that changes from one moment to the next, and the intrigue it brings to your painting.

You’ll spend time building sketches, enhancing your focus on your subject and discovering the hidden glimpses that reveal themselves the longer you look. Experiment with alternative materials – watercolour, pastel and coloured pencil – to capture strong lines, subtle flickers of light and vibrant tone. You’ll find that unlike a photograph, these sketches become a piece of the place and process, helping you savour that inspiration from home or the studio.

Learn about colour, from its value in the early stages of recording and sketching outside, to working with limited cool and warm palettes to explore the atmosphere of landscape. This knowledge is invaluable to your development as a painter, helping you unify your paintings, mix colours and set the tone of your images.

You’ll gain insight into oil painting techniques that enable you to work faster, more instinctively and bring hidden depth to your paintings. One of these is working alla prima, or wet-on-wet. It can be a tricky technique to master, Andrew shows you how to approach it with confidence and control, teaching you strategies for how to create impasto layers without your colours becoming muddy.

Spend a revelatory few days working with landscape to bring vibrancy and focus into your practice, creating paintings that don’t just decorate, but captivate.

Day to day plan

Day 1

In the morning, we’ll walk from the studios to the harbour, sketching with oil pastels, watercolour and coloured pencils in our sketchbooks.

In the afternoon, we will begin with some colour mixing exercises using a three colour palette. Utilising the location sketches, we will begin an alla prima painting in oils. This will be on a white panel in a very limited palette, to explore the impact of a few colours on the atmosphere of a painting.

Day 2

We’ll spend the morning back in our plein air location to capture the subject. Back in the studios in the afternoon, we’ll develop some monochromatic oil studies using work from the sketches and create another alla prima painting honing in on subject and tone.

Day 3

Working in the studio we will look at the paintings from the previous days and choose 1 or 2 to develop further. We will look at ‘cool’ and ‘warm’ colours for landscape painting and how a limited palette works to unify a painting. There will be some colour mixing to explore complimentary colours and their use in a painting – helping bring it to life.

What you will learn

  • Techniques for working en plein air
  • How to work quickly in oils using the alla prima technique.
  • How and why to use ground colours in your painting.
  • How to make sketches using different materials to use as resources in the studio in place of photographs.
  • How to establish and capture a subject using observational skills.

Who would this course suit?

Whatever your skill or experience in oils, this course offers an instinctive and atmospheric way to engage with landscape. In particular the challenges of boats and water. We will working outside so be prepared for changes in weather and wrap up warm!

St Ives In Oils

Drawing / Mixed Media / Oil / Landscape – Materials included

Book Selected Date

Taught by


View Andrew’s Work

Landscape painting in Cornwall, Andrew Barrowman paints en plein air and in the studio using oils as his chosen medium. He tries to convey the feeling and atmosphere of a landscape onto canvas for the viewer to have an idea of what it was like to be there. His paintings often start with ideas found whilst walking his dog. He usually carries a small sketch book with him, making quick sketches and colour notes. These will sometimes be developed into paintings.

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 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.

What our students say

Andrew was excellent, lots of personal attention and great tips. 


The course was managed very well for mixed abilities. The tutor was extremely patient and created a relaxed and informal environment, putting everyone at their ease. The whole group were lovely and it was both a creative and positive experience in which I re-kindled my love of painting after a few years’ gap. Thoroughly enjoyable!

Kirsty G

Andrew was able to cater for everyone and was most encouraging. He was able to see peoples strengths and also where they needed support, a sensitive tutor.

Gillian B

Fantastic course lots of ground covered. Especially great if you are new to oil painting & needing guidance on mediums, mixing & adding layers.



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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