St Ives in Watercolour - weekend

Waterbased / Watercolour / Landscape - Materials included

Book Selected Date

Course details

Join artist David Webb for this exploration through the streets and thoroughfares of St Ives. Working in watercolour, learn how to capture the character of this unique location. 

Watercolour painting on an easel

Be inspired by the iconic cobbled streets and fisherman cottages of St Ives. On this three-day course, David will take you to some of the town’s most famous sites as well as it’s hidden gems, capturing its unique sense of place through the medium of watercolour. 

Gathering information on location through sketching, you will learn how to capture the character of its streets from various locations around St Ives. You will learn basic principles of linear perspective and aerial perspective, helping to give your drawings the illusion of depth. Back in the studio, David will show you how to transform these sketches into bold watercolour paintings.

Learn how to create vibrant paintings with a limited palette as well as several techniques to freshen up your practice. These include painting wet-into-wet and developing your paintings with transparent washes. Suitable for beginners and more seasoned painters alike, this course will help you tackle some of the common problems that arise when drawing and painting buildings. Although based around St Ives, you can apply these more widely to portray village and town scenes more accurately. 

Day to day plan

Day 1

In the morning we will cover some basic techniques on linear perspective before going outdoors with our sketchbooks to put these skills into practice.  

The aim is to gather enough information to enable us to create paintings in the afternoon. Obviously, the weather will dictate how long we will be able to sketch outside but, hopefully, we’ll be able to stay out for a couple of hours. 

Back in the studio, David will show you how to interpret your notes and sketches for using as reference for paintings. 

Day 2

A combination of onsite sketching and more considered work painted in the studio, where we will also cover the techniques of watercolour and how we can use it to create paintings of the buildings and side-streets of St Ives. 

Day 3

A last sketching trip outdoors before heading back inside to create new paintings, or complete unfinished ones. 

Taught by

Watercolour is my medium of choice. I love its fluid nature and the way it can be pushed around and mixed on the paper to create transparent washes. To maintain that transparency, I endeavour to complete my paintings in no more than three washes, building up the layers from light to dark, whether I’m painting animals, boats, landscapes, flowers or still life.

What will I learn?

  • Lessons on watercolour techniques, such as wet-in-wet 
  • Developing your painting with transparent washes 
  • Colour mixing and working with a limited palette 
  • How to draw buildings and streets convincingly, with use of linear and aerial perspective 

Who would the course suit?

Anyone with an interest in drawing and painting buildings. Experience and skill in drawing would be advantageous but not essential, as tuition will be provided.

There will be some walking involved around the town, when we are outdoor sketching, which will probably involve some hills/slopes. We will be working outside most days for a few hours so come prepared with warm and waterproof clothing.

St Ives in Watercolour – weekend

Waterbased / Watercolour / Landscape – Materials included

Book Selected Date

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 end at 4pm. There are plenty of nearby places to eat and we will serve tea and coffee at break times during the day.


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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