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.

What our students say

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

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

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 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

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

Andrea Huggenberger

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

Jim Bren

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

Jill E

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!


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


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


Courses with Hilary Jean Gibson

Capturing St Ives

Hilary Jean Gibson

Art Courses - Waterbased - Landscape

Active sort order:
Course ID: a001r00000nKF2g
Active Instance: a024J00000BEKLgQAP, 28-Mar-2022

Use the simple yet powerful technique of line and wash to study St Ives' buildings, cottages and cobbled streets and bring them to life in the studio.


28 - 30 Mar - 3 days - £345 Book

Developing Drawing Skills

Liz LuckwellHilary Jean Gibson

Art Courses - Drawing

Active sort order:
Course ID: a00w000000bCVj2
Active Instance: a024J00000AdoglQAB, 21-Feb-2022

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 a entirely new creative toolbox.


21 - 24 Feb - 4 days - £460 Book

Expressive Watercolour Landscape

Hilary Jean Gibson

Art Courses - Watercolour - Landscape

Active sort order:
Course ID: a001r000010QvnF
Active Instance: a024J00000AdtTZQAZ, 16-May-2022

Inspired by the cliffs and rock formations of Porthmeor, enjoy the dynamism and energy of watercolour.


16 - 20 May - 5 days - £495 Book

Life Drawing

VariousSteve DoveIlker CinarelMarion TaylorLiz LuckwellHilary Jean GibsonGary Long

Life Drawing - Drawing - Figure

Active sort order:
Course ID: a004J000002gGIZ
Active Instance: a024J00000BwIakQAF, 19-Mar-2022

Drawing from the figure is a classic, traditional skill and these tutored life drawing classes are ideal for those wanting to learn and improve, build a portfolio or for beginners who would like to just have a go.


19 Mar - 2.5 hour(s) - £25 Book

Postcards from St Ives - Wynter & Rooftops (Recording)

Hilary Jean Gibson

Online recording - Mixed Media - Landscape

Active sort order:
Course ID: a004J00000IQ6iH
Active Instance: a024J00000BlFQoQAN, 04-May-2022

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


Available until 4 May - 1hr 30min - £25 Book

Postcards from Wilhelmina Barns-Graham (online recording)

Hilary Jean Gibson

Online recording - Drawing - Landscape

Active sort order:
Course ID: a004J00000G1wAu
Active Instance: a024J00000BQj0lQAD, 04-May-2022

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. 


Available until 4 May - 1.5 hours - £25 Book

Turner Sea + Sky

Hilary Jean Gibson

Art Courses - Watercolour - Landscape

Active sort order:
Course ID: a00w000000dogvP
Active Instance: a024J00000AdoloQAB, 07-Mar-2022

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.


7 - 9 Mar - 3 days - £355 Book