Painting - Subject Led

Drawing and painting interiors – colour and light with Katie Sollohub

Ref: S4D09023


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About this course

Be inspired by the rich and varied interiors of West Dean College. Make observed and sensitive drawings about space, light and atmosphere, before exploring the subject in paint. Increase your awareness of details, colour and pattern. Experiment with marks and composition in a series of studies and finished paintings, using oil or acrylics.

Course Description

You will be exploring the interior spaces of West Dean, in and around the house and studio. After initial warm up exercises in the studio using charcoal and drawing materials in a contemporary way, making marks, layering and rubbing out, you will then be applying a similar experimental approach to drawing from observation.

On the first evening there will be an introductory drawing session. Then, for the first two days, you will work in charcoal on A1 paper, using rag and rubber. Where only dry materials are appropriate in the house you will be given alternative exercises including collage with coloured paper, pens, pencils and felt tips, sometimes working in sketchbooks. You will be specifically looking to record the details, colour and pattern in your research.

You can expect to complete five or six A1 drawings as well as several smaller studies, before starting on paintings from the same subject. Over the following three days, using writing and memory to trigger a personal response, you will be working from your drawings and studies to start at least two or three paintings (on board, canvas or paper) about the house and your own personal experience of it. You will be given at least two different ways into starting a painting, so that each painting, although from the same subject, may lead to a different feeling or emphasis. You will learn about personal choice, and how colour, composition and details can affect the visual meaning of a painting.

On day four there will be a talk by the tutor about her work and approach to drawing and painting from interiors. This will include references to her artist in residence project at Turner's House and Strawberry Hill House, and the artists that have inspired her such as JMW Turner's gouache interiors at Petworth House.

At the end of the course you will have developed your drawing skills, approaches to painting, confidence in your voice, knowledge of colour, composition and mark making, enjoyment of interior spaces, and will take with you both studies and completed works.


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

  • Old clothes and/or overalls/aprons so you don't worry about getting clothes dirty
  • Glass jars for water and solvents (with lids)
  • Rags for working with charcoal
  • Baby wipes. Olive oil soap is great for washing brushes

Available to buy

  • Willow charcoal, scene painters
  • Paints: either oil paints or acrylics (your preferred medium)
  • Colours:
  • A range of colours, at least 2 blues, 2 yellows, 2 reds (warm and cool of each) and white.
  • e.g. Ultramarine and Cerulean Blue, Cadmium and Alizarin red, Cadmium and Lemon Yellow, plus any other colours you like - Turquoise, Magenta, Indian Yellow, Burnt Sienna, Rose, Naples Yellow, Paynes Grey
  • For oil paints:
  • Linseed oil
  • Gloss medium (e.g. damar varnish)
  • Non-toxic thinner e.g. Zest it for oils.
  • For acrylic paints:
  • Mixing mediums eg. Matt/gloss mediums for acrylic to use in place of water
  • Water-based white primer for preparing paper and other surfaces
  • Oil bars
  • Paper A1, 220gm cartridge (or thick watercolour, A2 350gm)
  • Canvas or board of a size that suits you, minimum three of the same size
  • Palette
  • Brushes - a range including very small rigger brush, to large household brush or similar
  • Brush cleaner
  • Drawing - coloured paper, pens, pencils and felt tips, plastic rubber
  • Sketchbook
  • Some additional specialist paper can be purchased from the tutor.

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


Katie Sollohub

Katie studied Anthropology and Fine Art. She teaches freelance and in 2014 she received an Arts Council Award for a residency at Turner's House. Working in charcoal and oils, her work has been shortlisted for the Jerwood Drawing Prize, the Lynne Painter Stainers Prize and the RA Summer Show.


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

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