Talkative colour with Maxine Relton

Painting - Subject Led

Ref: S3D11983

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About this course

Examine how colour can express emotions, influence, alter mood and communicate ideas. Develop a sound grasp of colour mixing, colour theory and an awareness of colour in all its contexts.

Course Description

This is a hands-on practical and exploratory course.

The tutor offers you an opportunity to play with colour through a series of imaginative projects. These are designed to look carefully at the way in which colours can express a range of emotions, influence each other, alter mood and communicate ideas. Reference will be made to their use in symbolic, cultural and historical contexts. Time will be given to colour theory to develop a sound grasp of colour-mixing.

The course is suitable for all abilities, including beginners, and for those with an interest in learning more about colour in all contexts within and beyond fine and applied art.

By the end of the course, you can expect to have gained a broader understanding and greater awareness of colour in general, as well as greater confidence in colour-mixing. The principal aim of the programme is to awaken an increased awareness and appreciation of colour.

Some optional, unsupervised evening projects are suggested. The tutor will bring a number of books for inspiration.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • The course fee includes the cost of providing some general materials for this course.

What students need to bring

  • Students are asked to bring any painting and colouring materials of their own, a sketchbook A4 or larger, basic drawing materials, glue stick, painting overalls and some old colour magazines.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Drawing, painting and colouring materials
  • Papers including tracing paper, A4 sketchbook or larger
  • Glue stick
  • Brushes
  • Available from tutor:
  • The tutor will be bringing additional materials of all kinds for students to experiment with, and specific items will be available to purchase at cost.
The tutor always likes to have a chat with students personally on the telephone when planning her programme for each course. This gives her to the opportunity to find out about any special interests or focus areas you have, to tell you a bit more about the course and to answer any questions you might have about it. Your email and phone number will be passed to the tutor. If you would prefer the tutor not to contact you, please let the Bookings Office know ( Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no open toes or sandals).


Maxine Relton

Teaching at West Dean since 2005, Maxine works across drawing, painting, printmaking, bookmaking and mixed media. Exhibits widely, runs a 3-floor gallery of her work in Gloucestershire, included in public and private collections around the world. Trained in London at Camberwell and the Slade. An elected member of the Royal West of England Academy.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or a Diploma in Art and Contemporary Crafts (10 three-day study blocks, over two years). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.

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