Vision of colour with Mark Cazalet

Painting - Subject Led

Ref: S5D12049

Book now

Places available

About this course

Colour is at the heart of painting; it is used to create light, space, mood and movement, yet it is rarely understood. Five contrasting approaches and a structured series of practical projects will build your confidence in handling and understanding colour in this challenging week.

Course Description

This course is about breaking down prejudices about colour, both in the timidity of its habitual usage and in discovering subtler unexpected palettes. Colour is such a stimulating and exciting area that it is easy to become either fearful or brash in our approach. This course will give you the confidence to discover your own chromatic voice within the rules that govern colour practice, enabling you to find your own sensibility.  There is no prescribed house style but a desire to experiment and analyse differing aspects of colour is essential. Using the work of artists who are considered above all to be colourists provides a scaffold to systematically cover a broad range of adventurous chromatic visions.

This is a fast moving course with distinct morning and afternoon sessions complemented by two video presentations and the tutor's own slide show of recent work in the evenings. There is also the possibility of an evening drawing project.  Nine projects will be completed and a final group tutorial emphasising where each student could take their colour investigation after the course.

We will explore some of the major developments in colour theory by using examples taken from the working methodology of such figures as Joseph Mallord William Turner, John Constable, John Sell Cotman, Pierre Bonnard, Georgia O’Keefe, Paul Klee, Henri Matisse, Richard Diebenkorn, and Howard Hodgkin.

Working in oil, acrylics or gouache, you will study a balanced structured sequence of projects exploring the potential of colour to become a subject in its own right – from local colour directly observed to the more subjective realms of imaginative associative mood colour, to the formal relationships of abstract colour.

You will be working extensively from the stunning landscape environment of West Dean Gardens and walking to and from locations around the estate throughout the course every day, subject to weather conditions.  Please bring warm clothes and if you have mobility issues we recommend a studio based course instead.


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

What students need to bring

Each student should bring three paintings of colours that represent to them a distinct mood or place.
Warm clothing (for working outside)
Any items you may have from the available to buy list 

Available to buy

Available from shop:
A basic range of coloured chalks/pastels (12 hues)
Coloured papers, one black sheet of drawing paper
A range of conté sticks including: white and browns (Terracotta, Sanguine, Umber, Burnt Sienna etc x 5)
PVA glue, scissors
Pencils: HB, 2B, 4B, and 6B
A variety of brushes

Acrylic painters:
White cartridge paper – 5 sheets A1
Black cartridge paper – 2 sheets A1

Oil painters:
Oil primed boards x 10 or oil primed paper
Odourless solvent, such as Zest It  – 1 litre
Pure turps

Oil or Acrylic paints, in the nearest colour (note manufacturers use different names for the same hues)
But you really will need all the colours below, plus any others that you may have beyond this list:
Cadmium Red, Alizarin Crimson
Cadmium Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Lemon Yellow
Raw Umber, Burnt Umber, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna
Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Blue, Cerulean Blue
Terre Verte Green, Sap Green, Viridian Green
White and Paynes grey (do bring any extra colours if you have them)


Mark Cazalet

Mark had an eclectic training which has influenced his broad range of media and working processes. He is particularly interested in colour and markmaking which he has explored in glass, textile, printed books, murals and traditional materials.


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

Courses of interest

Sign-up to be the first to know

Sign up to our Short Course enews to hear about new courses, late availability and get creative inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.