Hilary Jean Gibson

In 1995 I became a tutor at the St Ives School of Painting. Offering inspiration through my passion for drawing, water-based media and art history, I strive to liberate a creative vision by teaching skills and techniques through direct observation and en plein air.

Hilary’s drawings, watercolours and prints capture the atmosphere of the windswept cliffs of the Cornish coastline as well as interiors of abandoned old buildings. Hilary’s passion for drawing and perspective evolved at Saint Martin’s School of Art in the 1970s, and after many years as a freelance illustrator she moved to St Ives in 1994 when she became inspired to explore the space between fact and fiction.

Her fascination for narrative and history continued with a Residency at Godolphin and Trelissick National Trust. She has exhibited her work widely including at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibitions and the Mall Galleries in London. Hilary has also written and illustrated books including, most recently, Illustrations of the Leach Pottery, St Ives (2018), which won an Holyer an Gof Publishers’ award in 2019.

Click here to view an online book of Hilary’s botanical drawings and paintings.

What our students say

Great course – I have learnt so much that I will take home with  me and enjoy creating art with. 

Sandra Warren

With no painting experience whatever – this course was relaxed and inspirational. A small group so personal attention from a very patient tutor. I really enjoyed the course and I learnt a great deal. Thank you Hilary! 

June Briggs

As a cook, to see the magic of the process of paint choices, applications, washes and light in a “recipe”, develop inspired by great painters from this very place and Hilary’s patience teaching us all about technique, colour, materials in 3 days was fantastic!

Angela Collins

Fascinating and fun – thank you. Best art course I’ve ever been on! 

Mark Wills

I thoroughly enjoyed this three day workshop – would love to stay for another three! Hilary was relaxed, informative and inspiring and I feel invigorated to continue to develop the new skills i’ve learned. 

Sandra Apps

A big thank you to Hilary and Liz – a fantastic course! I look forward to continuing at home all I have learnt and will certainly be back for future courses. 

Janet Jones

Practising and experimenting with watercolour and trying different techniques has given me the confidence to develop my own style and detect the pleasure of painting. 

Gisela Borkert

A great course. Very useful. Packed with good tips and trials to progress ones work. 

Chloe Gerhardt

Absolutely love the way the course is designed and taught. Very encouraging, compassionate and multifaceted experience, and most definitely coming back! Thank you for your support, light energy and smiles.

Yulia Krautsova

I cannot believe how much I have learnt on this course. Watercolours are so versatile and I cant wait to explore this further. Thank you so much Hilary!

Erika Vessey

Hilary led us through the techniques to pencil portrait from a live model. I learnt a lot from her. It was very hard work but the results were amazing at the end of the two days!

Trevor Newton

Great course – covered all the basic elements and techniques and gave me the confidence to experiment and develop going forward.

Jim Bren

I loved my tutors! The range they showed – between accurate drawing and having fun with different materials – was superb! 

Andrea Huggenberger

Hilary has a really excellent manner. I had been worried about being an absolute beginner but she put us all quickly at our ease and I was able to really enjoy the course.

Ruth May

Excellent session with Hilary. The model was always in a super pose and all of us students got a lot of thoughtful help. Looking forward to the next time!

Susan Thomas

It was a rare opportunity to focus entirely on drawing, without the distractions of working from home. I enjoyed going over the fundamentals of drawing because there was no thorough teaching of this on my degree course. I will certainly be more aware of these aspects of drawing as I develop my work at home. The course gave me a boost of confidence and i feel inspired to draw more regularly than I had been doing for a couple of years.

Sarah Nelson

I’ve really loved watching and doing the watercolour practice sessions with Hilary over the last 4 sessions. I’ve watched again several times via the recordings which was so helpful when practicing at a slower pace. Thanks so much for running these.

Nicky Grove

Thank you for the smashing sessions, I shall definitely look out for more!

Marilyn

Wonderful drawing session with the incredibly knowledgeable and talented Hilary Gibson. Thanks to all the team!

Jill E

Hilary was knowledgeable, patient and inspiring. She led us on a structured journey to understand watercolours. Thank you.

Caroline

Hilary gave attention to each of us when needed and encouraged our efforts when we needed a bit of support. 

Sheila

Hilary is clearly an experienced practicing artist and teacher who gave a good balance of input and support without overwhelming us.

Lynn

I enjoyed the drawing and painting activities indoors and outside very much I learnt a lot and already started to practice at home. Inspiring teacher. Lovely people on the course. 

Michele 

Thank you profoundly for your fantastic, encouraging, gentle, brilliant, lively, intelligent, deeply informed from so

many sources and resources  and creative teaching.

Suitable for beginners or the more experienced. Inspiring. Very well taught. Good quality, plentiful, materials to work with .

Susan

Hilary was a great teacher and took care and time to make sure everyone was understanding. The outside air painting taught me a lot and was very good even in cold and rainy November! The course gave me a great start in understanding watercolours and the confidence to now explore on my own.

Claire

Hilary’s enthusiasm is infectious and I have found myself trying out techniques way outside my comfort zone.

Susan

I really enjoyed the drawing and painting activities indoors and outside. I learnt a lot and have already started to practice at home. Inspiring teacher, and lovely people on the course.

A thoroughly enjoyable weekend. A small and friendly class group, knowledgeable and encouraging tutor, lovely learning environment, and nice people working at the school.

Our tutor Hilary was wonderful. The course outline was exactly what was delivered. I felt I’d been carefully taken through some basic knowledge and skills, so that I was able to approach more challenging tasks. I felt pushed beyond my comfort zone to just the right degree! Very inspired now to practice and build on what I learnt.

Exceeded expectations! Venue, location, beautiful materials were all just right. Small friendly group of students and a tutor who inspired and really knew her subject and how to deliver and encourage us. I will be checking out your online courses because I live overseas.

Alison W

I enjoyed this class very much, and learned some great techniques.

Janet

Courses with Hilary Jean Gibson

Grid Wide

A Botanical Journal: Painting Flora by the Sea

Hilary Jean Gibson

Art Courses - Waterbased - Still Life

Active sort order:
Course ID: a00Nz000005Jk2j
Active Instance: a02Nz000001UpkTIAS, 24-May-2024

Using water based media in the breath-taking St. Ives landscape, learn how to draw and paint the indigenous Cornish Spring flora set against the colours of the sky and ocean. 

View

24 - 26 May - 3 days - £395 Book

Barbara Hepworth's Garden

Hilary Jean Gibson

Weekend Art Courses - Mixed Media - Abstract

Active sort order:
Course ID: a004J00000QqC6h
Active Instance: a024J00000DzNQkQAN, 26-Jul-2024

Join us for this three-day course working in Barbara Hepworth's beautiful sculpture garden in St Ives.

View

26 - 28 Jul - 3 days - £395 Book

Beginners Watercolour

Hilary Jean Gibson

Weekend Art Courses - Watercolour - Beginners

Active sort order:
Course ID: a004J00000K5elA
Active Instance: a02Nz000002ZYwvIAG, 23-Aug-2024

An ideal first step to watercolour painting. Discover the essential techniques of this luminous and rewarding medium. Build confidence through demonstrations, theory and practice, using different papers, tools and approaches.

View

23 - 25 Aug - 3 days - £395 Book

Developing Drawing Skills

Liz LuckwellHilary Jean Gibson

Art Courses - Drawing - Beginners

Active sort order:
Course ID: a00w000000bCVj2
Active Instance: a024J00000DzNl3QAF, 18-Nov-2024

Learn to master the power of the simple line. Working from subjects in and around the studios, create compelling observational drawings and equip yourself with an entirely new creative toolbox.

View

18 - 21 Nov - 4 days - £495 Book

Experimental Approaches to Watercolour

Hilary Jean Gibson

Art Courses - Watercolour - Landscape

Active sort order:
Course ID: a004J000002hKnB
Active Instance: a024J00000DzNJZQA3, 24-Jun-2024

Develop a free and energetic approach to painting with watercolour to depict land, sky and boundless seascapes. Learn to create contemporary, striking pieces, launching you on a whole new adventure in watercolour painting.

View

24 - 26 Jun - 3 days - £395 Book

Postcards from St Ives - Patrick Heron

Hilary Jean Gibson

Online Pre-recorded - Mixed Media - Landscape

Active sort order:
Course ID: a004J00000FGzYu
Active Instance: a024J00000CkZNRQA3, 31-Jan-2025

Join us for this Patrick Heron-inspired webinar. See how Heron's aerial approaches to depicting the landscape of St Ives in gouache can be integrated into your own way of working.

View

£27 Book

Postcards from St Ives - Victor Pasmore, Line + Space

Hilary Jean Gibson

Online Pre-recorded - Mixed Media - Landscape

Active sort order:
Course ID: a004J00000FFkBC
Active Instance: a024J00000ChJUYQA3, 31-Jan-2025

Capture the Cornish landscape in simplified shapes, lines and motifs in this Victor Pasmore inspired recording. See how this seminal artist pioneered a new way of working with abstraction.

View

£27 Book

Postcards from St Ives - Wynter & Rooftops

Hilary Jean Gibson

Online Pre-recorded - Mixed Media - Landscape

Active sort order:
Course ID: a004J00000IQ6iH
Active Instance: a024J00000BlFQoQAN, 31-Jan-2025

Enjoy creating abstract and experimental paintings and drawings inspired by the iconic Downalong rooftops of St Ives, with drawing, simple printmaking and waterbased painting.

View

£27 Book

Postcards from Wilhelmina Barns-Graham

Hilary Jean Gibson

Online Pre-recorded - Drawing - Landscape

Active sort order:
Course ID: a004J00000G1wAu
Active Instance: a024J00000BQj0lQAD, 31-Jan-2025

Follow in the footsteps of St Ives artist Wilhelmina Barns-Graham and explore her unique approach to painting and drawing the rocks and waves of the famous rugged coastline of St Ives. 

View

£27 Book

Turner Sea + Sky

Hilary Jean Gibson

Art Courses - Watercolour - Landscape

Active sort order:
Course ID: a00w000000dogvP
Active Instance: a024J00000DzF0mQAF, 15-Apr-2024

Reveal a fresh and immediate approach to watercolour, emulating Turner's rapidly made and highly expressive studies, known as 'colour beginnings'. Create vibrant seascapes that evoke the boundlessness of sea and sky.

View

15 - 17 Apr - 3 days - £395 Book

Turner Sea + Sky

Hilary Jean Gibson

Weekend Art Courses - Watercolour - Landscape

Active sort order:
Course ID: a004J000002gjmX
Active Instance: a024J00000DzNhmQAF, 18-Oct-2024

Reveal a fresh and immediate approach to watercolour, emulating Turner's rapidly made and highly expressive studies, known as 'colour beginnings'. Create vibrant seascapes that evoke the boundlessness of sea and sky.

View

18 - 20 Oct - 3 days - £395 Book