Understanding Composition online seminar with Alice Mumford

Drawing / Mixed Media / Still Life

Book Selected Date

Course details

Fire up your creativity with this series of one hour, live online sessions, designed to inspire you to get making and investigating at home. Delivered from Artist Alice Mumford’s Cornish home she will guide you through some of the key concepts around composition that have inspired her own work.

Alice will look at historical paintings to explore how she has learnt from them and show how you can use this knowledge yourself to strengthen your own work. Each one has a different theme so you can enjoy them as a stand alone session or book on for both. There will be an opportunity for students to pose questions to Alice during the session.

She will set you an optional project to work on during the week. This encourages you to make your own discoveries and enjoy doing research based on your fresh insights.

Once you have booked a session, you will receive an invite to register with Zoom. You can put questions to Alice during the session using the question and answer function. We record the session so we can let you revisit the session to refresh your memory for up to two weeks after. You will also be invited to join our brand new Facebook Alumni group so you can share your discoveries with our community of fellow students from around the world.

Day to day plan

Each session starts with a presentation slide show, sometimes this might be illustrated further with a demo. There will then be time for questions from the audience and then a task set for you to do at home. Webinars start at 4.30pm BST/London time and last for 1 hr.

Thursday July 30th

Poussin and the Triangle

The French Classical painter Poussin makes a world of order, steadiness and clarity. Yet there is also mystery and unease. How does he paint two worlds in one picture? We will delve into his paintings to gain insights that will help us with our own compositions back in the studio.

If you miss session 1 there is an option to buy a recording available to view until 13th August.

Thursday August 6th

Mirrors used in compositions & breaking the ‘Fourth Wall’

Artists often use mirrors in paintings but they can be more than just a clever use of reflection. It can be a device that unsettles and challenges us as viewers. How do artists from Velazqueth, Manet, to contemporary artists like Steve McQueen use this device to engage the viewer and what can we learn from them to help with our own painting.

What will I learn?

Recognise when artists use triangles in compositions to animate a painting.

Understand how a sense of gravity works in a painting and how you can harness this in your own work.

See how mirrors have been used to communicate different ideas in paintings.

Understand how the “triangle” between viewer, painter and subject works and how this creates tension.

Who would this course suit?

Anyone with an interest in art, not just painters. Great for those who would like to get more out of their visits to galleries.

How Does an online session work?

Once you have booked a session, we will send you an invite to the session so you can register with Zoom and join us. It’s a good idea to register straight away and Zoom will then send you a link that you keep safe ready to use to get access to the webinar on the day.

You can put questions to Alice using the question and answer function during the webinar. We plan to record them so you can revisit the session to refresh your memory for up to two weeks after. You will also be invited to join our Facebook Alumni group so you can share your discoveries with fellow students from around the world.

Understanding Composition online seminar with Alice Mumford

Drawing / Mixed Media / Still Life

Book Selected Date

Taught by


View Alice’s Work

“The school of painting is an oasis; a place to share ideas, enthusiasm and adventures into painting. Teaching has helped me to translate my thoughts and reflections about art into practical courses. In doing this I have learnt so much and shared in that adventure. It’s an opportunity to pass on the wonderful sense of being part of a bigger ‘family’ of painters.”

What to Bring

You don’t need to bring any materials to the session. Later you can follow the exercises and Alice encourages you to do experiments using whatever you have to hand. i.e., paper and glue, charcoal, paint as well find examples of paintings. You can share this work on the School’s dedicated Facebook Alumni page.

You will need access to the internet and ideally a PC or laptop or a tablet with audio. Phones are not really suitable to watch a webinar on as the presenter will be hard to see when she shares her screen with you. But we will be sending you a recording of the session so you can revisit it. The exercise to do at home we will also email to you afterwards.

Timings and Breaks

As soon as you receive your confirmation from us make sure you follow the link and register with Zoom. Zoom will then send you a second link. Keep this safe. At about 4.15pm follow this link to go to your session’s waiting room. We will play a video with audio of students artwork we have collated so far in response these session. So you can check you are connecting ok. Any issues get in touch via email at [email protected], we will do our best to help.

We will start the session at 4.30pm. We expect each session to last about one hour. If you have any problems receiving your link email from us or from Zoom email us and we can get that sorted before the start time. In the session if you have questions you can use the chat function and we will do our best to advise.


Online Broadcast

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

Do I need a webcam/any equipment.

For our webinar sessions which are broadcast on the internet and no webcam or microphone is needed as you just need to be able to see/hear hosts and you can communicate using the chat function. You can watch using a PC, Smart TV or tablet. A phone isn’t ideal as you will struggle to see enough unless you can miracast to a screen or smart TV.

For the longer online courses on Zoom you will need a laptop or tablet with audio and camera enabled so you can have a screen near where you are working. If you have a PC without camera or speakers, you can purchase a plug and play webcam for approx £25 which connects to a usb port. You will also need reasonable broadband connection and speed.

All the art materials and equipment needed to participate in the course will be listed in full on the online learning platform, for live webinars this will be a minimum of two weeks before the session starts.

I have registered for the webinar but I can't find my joining link

You can access all the resources and joining link for your webinar via our online learning platform. You will need to have set up an account on our online learning platform in advance. You can do this during the checkout process when purchasing your webinar. If you are having trouble accessing your online account, please contact [email protected]. You can use a PC or tablet or even cast from your phone to watch on your Smart TV.

I paid for the session but missed it, how can I watch?

Currently all our online sessions are recorded and you can access the recording on our online learning platform until it expires. Usually 60 days for a webinar, 90 – 180 days for multipart webinars or online courses.

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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