Watercolour Painting en plein air

Watercolour / Seascapes - Materials included

Book Selected Date

Course details

Learn the skills of painting en plein air with watercolours, observing and painting what you see, outside in the St. Ives landscape with watercolour artist David Webb. 

Watercolour painting of rocks and fauna, Elberry by David Webb

Painting outdoors in watercolour and trying to translate on to paper what you see, in a single sitting, can be very rewarding. Knowing what to paint and, more importantly, what to leave out is the key to success. 

Over three days, watercolour artist David Webb will show you many useful techniques and ways of working in watercolour, which will help you to gain confidence in your abilities to work en plein air.  To successfully paint the transient effect of light, while it’s happening in front of you, requires some planning and a certain amount of economy with the brushstrokes.

Through discussion, demonstrations and learning clear methods of working, David will teach you all about the materials required for en plein air painting, how to find the right subject to paint and how to create a composition that will be interesting to the viewer. 

There will be exercises in the importance of tonal values and working with a limited palette to control your colour mixing, and discussion around simplifying what you see to help with completing a painting onsite.  Then there will be plenty of time to venture outside and put what you have learned into practice in various locations in St. Ives and time to reflect in the studio on the paintings that you have made. You will leave the course with valuable experience of painting outside on location and a collection of en plein air watercolour paintings.

What will I learn?

  1. Gain experience from painting outside on location
  2. Understanding of tonal values – light, medium and dark
  3. How to use a limited colour palette to control your colour mixing
  4. Compositional tips to find the right subject to paint
  5. Working methods for en plein air painting

Who would this course suit?

This course will suit students who want to try the experience of painting outdoors.  Some previous experience would be advantageous but not essential as there will be plenty of advice, one-to-one help and demonstrations. 

There will be some walking involved and students will have to carry their own equipment. 

Watercolour Painting en plein air

Watercolour / Seascapes – Materials included

Book Selected Date

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 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

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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