The Woman in the Window

Oil / Figure - Materials included

Book Selected Date

Course details

Join us for this three-day studio course exploring how to depict the figure in an interior setting. Learn techniques to help you compose a visually compelling painting .

Working from a live model in our Porthmeor Studios, learn how to capture the figure against the backdrop of a window looking out over the rooftops to the sea. Over three-days, Eleanor will guide you through a series of exercises, demonstrating how to explore composition, tone and colour. Designed to encourage you to find your own visual language, look to artists including Degas, Sickert, Gwen John and Diebenkorn, and see how to break down a complex set-up into various elements.

Starting with this theme, you will initially explore composition, and how to depict a figure in an environment. You will work from a live model, and Eleanor will demonstrate how to tackle the challenges this presents. Using shorter sketches and studies before moving on to longer, larger works, Eleanor will demonstrate how to mix a colour palette in oils, and how to add tone and depth to your compositions. This will also be a chance to experiment, and to see what working style suits you – whether that be more accurate and detailed or open and expressive.

Ideal if you are looking for new ways to approach the figure as well as fresh approaches to composition. Although some experience using oil paints would be helpful, it is not essential.

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

Starting with an introduction, we will look at various examples by a range of painters including Degas, Sickert and Gwen John. Working directly from the model, explore composition to set out your painting. Start with loose charcoal and graphite drawings; moving into a colour palette in oils.

Day 2

Using traditional colour mixing, work on a couple of smaller studies to explore the compositional, tonal and colour challenges presented as you capture the model and the surrounding environment. Progress to a larger piece.

Day 3

With lots of individual attention from your tutor, work towards a final, larger piece.

What will I learn?

  1. Explore ways to capture the figure against busy backdrops.
  2. Build confidence in working with oil paints.
  3. A greater understanding of composition.
  4. Adding tone, depth and luminosity to your paintings.

Who would this course suit?

This course is suitable for anyone. Ideal if you have some experience working with oil paints, but not essential.

The Woman in the Window

Oil / Figure – Materials included

Book Selected Date

Taught by


View Eleanor’s Work

My teaching of drawing and painting is all about understanding what we see , and how we engage with it. Working with line, colour, form, shape, composition, I’m interested in how we communicate through painting and mark-making, and the multiple ways in which people have responded to and painted the people, places and things around them.

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.

What our students say

Eleanor is a brilliant teacher, she managed to spend plenty of time with us individually as well as in a group and was encouraging and inspired us to make the most of our own individual styles.



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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