Understanding Composition Webinar with Alice Mumford

Drawing / Mixed Media / Still Life

Book Selected Date

Course details

Fire up your creativity with this webinar designed to inspire you to get making and investigating at home. This series of live sessions delivered from Artist Alice Mumford’s Cornish home will guide you through some of the key concepts around composition.

Alice Mumford

Sign up for one or all three sessions.  The sessions include a demo from Alice and looking at paintings to explore how composition works. After each session Alice 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. You can share this with your fellow students on St Ives School of Painting Alumni Facebook group.

The St Ives School of Painting is a charity and we rely on our students’ fees to run. Can you help us reach our 83rd birthday next spring? Alice has generously donated her time for free to deliver these sessions. There is a small charge and we invite you to donate on top of this whatever you feel you can afford. Anything you can donate we can gift aid. It will help ensure the School can keep operating at this difficult time when our loyal students are unable to visit us.

Once you have booked a session, we will send you an invite to the session so you can register with Zoom and join us. You can put questions to Alice during the session using the question and answer function during the webinar. We plan to 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 fellow students from around the world.

Day to day plan

Alice will start each class with an introduction followed by a demonstration done in real time. Webinars start at 4.30pm BST/London time.

Week 1, Thursday May 7th

Spatial Tension; The first four lines. We will look at paintings with straight or undulating lines exploring where the lines create spatial tension.

week 2, Thursday May 14th

Static and Movement; what do we mean by the power of repetition, left to right, bottom to top, narrative and Zig Zag.  

Week 3, Thursday May 21st

Focal point, or top trumps. We will look at people, the Golden Section and high contrast. 


What will I learn?

  1. Understand better why composition works in some paintings and not so well in others so you can use this understanding in your own work.
  2. How to avoid composition clangers
  3. Grasp better the core areas of composition -spatial tension, focal points, movement
  4. A better understanding of how composition underpins an art work helping you read paintings with more confidence.

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.

Understanding Composition Webinar 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

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.


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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