Have you ever wondered how to maintain the freshness of your sketchbooks while doing a painting? It's not enough simply to copy. Instead the sketchbook itself has to become the subject, a fresh source of inspiration, to be walked through like a landscape, to surprise and inform you, to pick and choose what you want from it. This course is suitable for those with some drawing and painting experience and a basic understanding of their materials, or those willing to experiment from the outset.
During this five day course you will be working in the house and grounds of West Dean College. You will spend two days working directly into sketchbooks, followed by three days painting in oils and acrylics.
You can expect to fill a concertina sketchbook, and begin two or three paintings, working towards completion of some or all of them, if this feels appropriate. Or with discussion, taking work away to complete at home.
You will be encouraged to experiment and take risks throughout, both in your sketchbooks and in your paintings. The aim is to bridge the gap between the freedom we often feel in sketchbooks, being unprecious and immediate, and the constraints sometimes felt in the process of painting. By repeating exercises in the painting process already executed in the sketchbooks, you will practise taking risks with your work, accepting accidents and surprises as a way of moving forwards, rather than following a predictable path. Just as you take your sketchbook with you, gathering different viewpoints from around the location, layering, mark-making, using mixed media, throughout the pages of the concertina book, so you can take different viewpoints from your sketchbook into your paintings, layering, changing as you go. You will work on three related paintings simultaneously, for the last three days of the course, treating them more like pages of a sketchbook than as finished paintings.
As is my own practice, daily meditation and breathing exercises will be introduced. Connecting the breath and body to the art of painting will help loosen up, focusing on the process rather than the product, being surprised by what emerges.
On the first evening you will start with a practical exercise in a miniature sketchbook to introduce the course. You need only bring a pencil and pen.
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.
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.
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)
You do not need to prepare for this course, as all sketchbooks work will be done on the first two days. You can come with nothing but the necessary materials. However, if you have previous sketchbooks you wish to refer to, or discuss with the tutor, you may bring them. Likewise any paintings. These could potentially be worked on during the course if relevant, but are mainly for reference only. Please do not expect to work on them until after discussion with the tutor.
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.