Due to Covid-19 we have had to cancel courses from March to 1st August, we hope you will find an event later in the year that you can attend.

This outside-based course provides artists working in any chosen media with the opportunity of working within Slapton Ley National Nature Reserve, Slapton village and various coastal locations. The aim is to build up confidence in various skills, through both direct observation and studio based workshops whilst receiving a balance of theoretical and practical advice.

Daily demonstrations will include drawing, mark making, pen and ink with wash, watercolour, (and if appropriate for the group acrylic and how to prepare supports for oil painting).. whilst tips and advice, including using sketchbooks will be given with both group and individual tuition ‘en plein air’, where we will experiment with representation, spontaneity and abstraction. Inspiring evening slide shows, looking at the work of artists, will prompt a variety of approaches, as well as workshops.

These will include:

  • the use of perspective,
  • aerial perspective,
  • how to convey depth and distance,
  • tone,
  • exploring colour theory,
  • colour mixing with gouache or chosen media.

The possibility of painting at sunset or twilight will provide inspiration for atmospheric paintings. Most of the painting locations involve minimal walking but sometimes we use country or coastal footpaths, which can be rough so please bring stout shoes.

Join Hilary on her Expressive Watercolour class 27th July – 31st July and receive a £125 discount.

Tutor: Hilary Jean Gibson

Hilary Jean Gibson is an experienced illustrator and tutor who teaches for the St Ives School of Painting, Cornwall and delivers guided tours for Tate St Ives and the Barbara Hepworth Museum. She has a 1st Class BA Hons degree in Graphic Design, an MA in the History of Modern Art and Design and an MA in Illustration: Authorial Practice. In 2010 Hilary wrote, illustrated and self-published a book about Godolphin (NT).  In 2017 she completed 6 large drawing commissions for Trelissick (National Trust). She is about to self publish a book about the Leach Pottery St Ives where she has been drawing and painting since 2012. Hilary has taught art since 1980 and run FSC art courses since 1999. For examples of Hilary's artwork please visit www.hilary-jean-gibson-illustrator.co.uk 

Example Timetable

Friday Afternoon: Arrive late afternoon. Supper will be followed by an introduction to the Centre, the course and Slapton Ley National Nature Reserve and a short walk to a local viewpoint, where we will explore ways of recording a ‘visual diary’ using quick line drawings, annotations of colour notes and written impressions.

Saturday Morning/Afternoon: The day will start with a talk on mark making and colour theory followed by a watercolour demonstration, followed by colour mixing workshops in green and grey in our studio.

We will then walk through farmland to the top field to paint various views in any medium you wish to bring.

Lunch at the Slapton Ley FSC centre.

In the afternoon we will have a minibus trip to Slapton Sands or Start Point depending on visibility to paint sea and sky, with opportunities to study the light, shadow, movement and reflections of water and skies around Start Bay.

Saturday Evening: Developing the day’s paintings and working from sketchbooks.

Art Slideshow or power point of landscape paintings.

Sunday Morning/Afternoon: Slideshow with examples of paintings in various media of rocks at sea followed by a minibus trip to paint at

Thurlestone Rock, South Milton Sands. Opportunities for longer works in situ.

Sunday Evening: We will paint at Torcross. An outside workshop full of quick impressions of sunset, twilight and dusk,  if the weather is poor we will look at slides back in the studio.

Monday: The day will start with a pen, ink and wash demonstration, although any medium can be used during the day.

Following a talk and demonstration about perspective the day will be spent painting and drawing in Slapton Village with its two pubs, the Tower, Church and attractive cottages, optionally meeting for lunch in the village pub.

A Review and exhibition of work will take place at 3.30pm.

This is not a rigid agenda and can be adapted according to the weather or individual preferences.

What's Included

  • Expert Tuition
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Full Board Accommodation
  • Hot and Cold Drinks
  • In Course Transport
  • Personal and Travel Insurance

Before You Attend

Start and Finish Times

Resident participants are requested to arrive for registration between 1:00pm and 4:00pm on arrival day, after this time self-directed arrival information will be posted on the front door. There will be an introductory talk at 5:00pm. Supper is usually at 6:30pm. Non resident bookings should arrive just before 5:00pm. A non resident booking also includes dinner during your course as teaching does progress into the evening. Breakfast, for resident participants, will be from 8:00am. The course will end on Monday at 4.00pm. On the final day please vacate your room by 9:00am, storage is provided for your luggage.

What to Bring

Suggested list:

  • Sketchbooks of assorted sizes (A6-A3) for drawing in pencil/pen.
  • Medium of you choice, including watercolour, inks, acrylic, oil, pastel etc..
  • Also sketchbooks (A6-A3) with appropriate paper suitable for preferred media – e.g. stretched watercolour pads, pastel paper pads for charcoal/conte/pastel or acrylic pads for acrylic etc. (If you prefer you can bring watercolour paper, gum strip and a board on which to stretch the paper yourself).
  • If using watercolours/inks it is recommended that you bring one each of the 3 primaries also called – Permanent Rose (Quinacridone) and
  • Process Yellow (or Winsor or Hansa Yellow) and Phthalocyanine Blue (or Winsor Blue or Thalo Blue).  White Gouache/ body colour.  A
  • Watercolour colour wheel is also recommended but not essential.
  • Additional colours, in any medium might include – Cadmium Red, Cadmium Yellow, Aureolin, Lemon Yellow, Alizarin Crimson and Paynes
  • Gray, and blues such as French Ultramarine, Cobalt and Prussian, and earth colours such as Raw Sienna, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Raw and Burnt Umber will be useful.
  • Black Quink ink is great fun (black label with gold writing) and a dip pen.
  • For oils/acrylic also recommended are three primaries, together with a good range of colour, including a selection of earth colours.
  • Good selection of drawing materials:  pencils from HB-8B, drawing pens and good quality artist’s brushes in assorted sizes.  (At least 2 or 3 round brushes and 1 flat brush).
  • It is suggested that a combination of black and white drawing materials are brought.
  • Compact paint sets, water bottle and small (individual serving) jam jars, and palettes are recommended, as are a portable sketching easel/stool and small backpack or similar.
  • For watercolour, resists - candle, masking fluid, and masking tape will be useful.
  • Pritt or similar and a roll of kitchen towel.  Sponge, ruler, palette/ craft knife.
  • Because we are working en plein air during the day it is necessary to consider how much you can carry (including your lunch).
  • I suggest however, that you do not limit what you bring but be selective each day during the course. Also don’t forget that this is the chance to indulge in experimentation!
  • Come prepared for the terrain and weather: bring stout footwear; sun cream and hat; midge repellent; warm clothes and light weight waterproofs. (Waterproofs and wellingtons can be borrowed from the centre) lunch/salad box and flask/drink bottle.
  • For painting courses easels and chairs can be borrowed from the centre.
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Pay a deposit of £100.00 per item