Press Release: Capturing the Great Outdoors, drawing and painting short courses

Learn to draw and paint landscapes, or improve existing skills, using a variety of mediums to capture the outdoors. Short courses at West Dean College, located in the beautiful South Downs, are taught by expert tutors who are all practising professionals with impressive reputations. Experience the unique atmosphere of the internationally renowned college, which is the former home of Edward James, poet and patron of the Surrealist Movement.

Record your experience of the landscape through observation, drawing and mapping as you walk through it, bringing these together in the studio to create personal and expressive compositions. Transcribe landscape through drawing and mapping with Caroline Wendling, multi-disciplinary artist and print specialist (NEW 5 - 7 May, weekend, £227, intermediate/advanced).

Develop your own expressive responses with studies made in the landscape. Guidance is given on composition and gesture, lights and balancing tones, colour traditions with reference to British landscape painting, 20th century techniques and developments in abstract picture making. Abstract values in landscape painting with artist, John Meaker (21 - 26 May, five days, £526, intermediate/advanced).

Capture the South Downs landscape through sketches as you enjoy short forays into the ancient farmlands, village and rural setting. Learn how to frame strong compositions, connect with the land and distil your immediate responses to develop a personal drawing style. Sketching across the South Downs with artist, Maxine Relton (4 - 9 June, five days, £535, suitable for all).

Explore a pattern-based interpretation of West Dean Gardens through drawing from observation. Consider how patterns, rhythms and textures can represent a sense of place, feeling, movement, light and atmosphere. Drawing in the gardens - pattern and place with Rosie Maccurrach, artist illustrator and textile designer (18 - 21 June, three days, £329, intermediate).

Be inspired by the award-winning West Dean Gardens and bring some summer colour into the studio as you learn essential watercolour painting techniques and gain the confidence to produce colourful plant portraits. Summer colours at West Dean - botanical painting with Sandrine Maugy, botanical artist (9 - 13 July, four days, £438, suitable for all).

Hugh Dunford-Wood is an artist and printer - on fabric, paper and wallpaper. Learn how to fill your sketchbook as a starting point, and make sense of the details and the atmosphere as you define your drawing style, supported by experienced tutor. Fill your sketchbook with life will give you an opportunity to experience your surroundings differently as you draw spontaneously and intuitively, responding to different locations (20 - 23 August, three days, £329, suitable for all).

Visual Arts and Crafts Summer Schools

West Dean's popular Summer Schools are a creative and social highlight of the year. Extend your stay on one of the three separate week-long courses which allow you to encounter a broad range of creative insights and immerse yourself in the unique atmosphere at West Dean. Courses range in level of ability. From beginners to advanced. Week One (29 July - 4 August). Week Two (5 - 11 August) and Week Three (12 - 18 August).

For students who would like to pursue their studies further The School of Creative Arts offers a comprehensive programme of study.

Creative and Professional Development

A programme of four short courses designed to help advance your practical and professionals skills, supported by creative industry and mentoring experts who will help you to set and meet your goals and ambitions. The first of the series is suitable for writers, visual artists, performers and makers. The authentic creative self - finding your power with Veronique Maria, artist, creativity coach and mentor (23 - 28 April, five days, £541, suitable for all).

Foundation Diploma in Art and Design (FDAD)

Achieve your diploma at a pace to suit you upon successful completion of the introductory course, nine short courses, two tutorials, submission of a portfolio, research and a 2000 word essay. Bursaries are available for some students aged 18 to 30 who would like to complete the FDAD but cannot afford the fee. For further information on the diploma and FDAD bursary email

NEW Diploma in Art and Contemporary Crafts

A programme for artists and makers who have completed the FDAD and wish to progress their professional practice and to develop a portfolio in order to apply for the Graduate Diploma in Visual Arts at the college. It is completed on a two-year part-time basis.

To browse the latest courses and to book online visit


Notes to editors

  • West Dean College is part of The Edward James Foundation also comprising West Dean Gardens, West Dean Estate and West Dean Tapestry Studio. Charity No. 1126084.
  • All photography is free to use for editorial purposes.

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Artist and printer Hugh Dunford-Wood also teaches printing on fabric, paper and wallpaper
Artist and printer Hugh Dunford-Wood also teaches printing on fabric, paper and wallpaper
Drawing short courses with  Caroline Wendling
Drawing short courses with Caroline Wendling
Painter, Emily Ball, working in the ‘Great Outdoors’
Painter, Emily Ball, working in the ‘Great Outdoors’

Media Contact Information

For further information, high-resolution digital images of filming opportunities contact

Irene Caswell, Senior Media Officer, +44 (0)1243 811301


West Dean College, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 OQZ