Painting - Subject Led

Expressive painting from nature with Melanie Rose

Ref: S4D09022


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About this course

Use mark-making to produce a rich tapestry of sensations and textures from nature, then create expressive paintings of your experience. Work in black and white with acrylics, inks, oil bars, graphite powder and felt tips to explore light, space and atmosphere and to loosen up your mark-making. Please note that this course will now be taught by Melanie Rose rather than Emily Ball.

Course Description

You will be working outside as much as possible using black and white drawing and painting materials on both primed canvas and papers to create rich and experimental drawings to capture these qualities.

The tutor will encourage and demonstrate experimentation with materials and mark making. There will be helpful exercises and processes offered to help you move away from just copying what you think you see and instead to produce drawings and paintings that are alive in their own right, poetic responses to the nature in the landscape and gardens at West Dean.

The tutor will then help you to develop work from your studies back in the studio.

You will come away from the course with a series of finished pieces of work that explore working with mixed media in black and white. You will be more confident about the practicalities of working on location and understand the huge benefits of having a first-hand experience of the subject to inform your work. These two outcomes will result in the development of your versatility in drawing and painting, and give you many processes that you can apply after the course.


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, 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

What students need to bring

  • Lots of pots with watertight lids, layers of warm clothes (as we will work outside as much as possible, weather permitting). Plenty of rags and baby wipes.

Available to buy

  • Black inks, brushes, charcoal, paper, acrylics, masking tape, white and black chalks, felt tip pens, oil bars, graphite powder, plastic portfolio carriers, bulldog clips, palette, plastic portfolio carrier.
  • Available from the tutor:
  • Paper to purchase by the sheet, and drawing materials to try out and experiment with.
  • Primed canvas off a roll to purchase by the metre.

Please note: This course runs alongside Katie Sollohub's painting course. There will be joint tutor talks, and oppportunities to visit the other course studio.


Melanie Rose

Melanie Rose is a visual artist. She graduated from Trent Polytechnic with a BA Honours degree in Fine Art in 1987, then Central Saint Martins with MA in Fine Art in 2002. Melanie is a member of the practice-led research group Land2, has exhibited extensively, and has work in both public and private collections.


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

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