Surrealism, Magic + The Spirit of Place

Mixed Media / Abstract / Landscape - Materials included

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Course details

Join environmental artist Greg Humphries for an unusual & enchanting journey to explore the Spirit of Place through the use of art.

Taro collection by Ithell Colquhoun

A selection of Ithell Colquhoun’s Tarot cards, art work in enamel paint (1978) © Ithell Colquhoun

After a brief introduction in the studio to discuss ideas around The Spirit of Place (or Anima Mundi); we will venture out into beautiful St Ives and its surroundings to record our impressions through the use of natural processes and automatic drawing techniques.

We will be looking at the British Surrealist artist, Ithell Colquhoun, who experimented with surrealist automatism, a method where the artist surrenders artistic control over the process; through techniques such as ‘entoptic graphomania’ in which random dots are joined and ‘superautomatism’ or ‘taking a line for a walk’.

Working back in the studio we will interpret our work using ‘psychological morphology’ which is ‘seeing’ imagery in random patterns. Using our own colour palette and the unique and colourful ‘Taro’ collection by Ithell Colquhoun for inspiration we will create our own Tarot spreads, which each artist can interpret further for themselves.

These techniques together enable participants to build a direct communication with Spirit of Place, and is a process that can then be applied in any landscape.

Surrealism, Magic and The Spirit of Place

Mixed Media / Abstract / Landscape – Materials included

Book Selected Date

Taught by


View Greg’s Work

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

All materials are provided. As we may work outdoors for some of the duration of the workshop, please wear sensible shoes and bring a coat or sunhat as appropriate.

Timings and Breaks

The workshop starts at 09:30am and finishes at 12.30pm, please aim to arrive ten to fifteen minutes before the start time. We will serve tea and coffee during the workshop.


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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