Unfolding Sea + Sky

Mixed Media / Landscape - Materials included

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Course details

Make your own concertina sketchbook, panoramic sea and sky unfolding freely across the pages. Make gestural work in a range of media, capturing the movement of light, air and water.

This two-day course makes the abstract approachable, working from the vast expanses of sea and sky that sit just outside our studios. Create and bind your own concertina sketchbook to work into, allowing the shifting shadows and shapes to unfold freely across the pages. Use experimental materials such as salt, spray, ink and wax to evoke air, light and water.

Working out in the St Ives landscape attunes you to the moments that go unnoticed – a flicker of light or a halt in the breeze, that bring the landscape to life. Inspirational artist Jill Eisele leads you through structured drawing tasks to record and collect these to bring back to the studio with you.

There, you’ll use inks, resists and waterbased media to develop your drawings. These become the covers for your concertina sketchbook, a cocoon for your work to emerge from. The expansive pages of the book are an ideal place for happy accidents to occur, as experiments with different media and techniques reveal the unpredictable, much like the sea and sky themselves.

Learn from the likes of Turner and Constable how to make broader, more gestural strokes that still feel authentic to you. See how bringing movement into your painting style translates to more suggestive painting, capturing transiency and fluidity.

Your sketchbook is an invaluable tool, both during and after the course, allowing you to think pragmatically as an artist by framing, fragmenting and cropping compositional elements to inspire larger paintings. This course is a unique opportunity to develop a looser, more experimental way of expressing seascapes.

Day to day plan

This is a rough indication of what to expect over the course. However sometimes the structure of the days may alter depending on the nature of the group and weather.

Day 1

Outside in the St Ives coastal environment, tutor Jill Eisele guides you through drawing tasks en plein air. Back in the studio, use inks, resists and watersoluble paints in free and expressive ways, referring to your earlier drawings and focusing on the movement and colours of sea and sky. Use select pieces to make a concertina sketchbook to experiment in throughout the course.

Day 2

Looking at Turner and Constable as artistic reference points, begin making broader, more gestural marks. Consider aerial perspective, translucency and transparency before going to the beach to experiment further with materials freely across the pages of your concertina sketchbook, developing its structure and texture


What will I learn?

  • 1. Learn to make your own concertina sketchbook
  • 2. Experiment with unusual combinations of materials
  • 3. Explore gestural, expressive mark-making
  • 4. Learn about aerial perspective and how to portray light, movement and fluidity
  • 5. Learn techniques for noticing and recording details when you’re out sketching.

Who would this course suit?

The course would suit anyone that would like to develop a confident and free approach to seascapes. It is an opportunity to experiment with a range of alternative media as well as develop more technical confidence in gestural mark-making and expressive approaches to light, air and water.

Unfolding Sea and Sky

Mixed Media / Landscape – Materials included

Book Selected Date

Taught by


View Jill’s Work

My practice begins with drawing, often taking me to wild and wonderful parts of Cornwall, capturing fleeting moments where light and colour create atmosphere and expression. These underpin my largely figurative paintings, which convey a sense of incompleteness; of place and mystery.

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 4pm and there will be an hour for lunch. 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

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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