Mixed and other media

Liminal light – pastel drawing at night with Mark Cazalet

Ref: SLW09307


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About this course

Working in liminal light conditions allows you to interpret what is barely visible. Thus freeing your mark-making sensibility, producing extraordinary colour and tonal combinations. A course for adventurous artists to respond to dawn, dusk and candlelight conditions.

Course Description

For many artists the real subject of painting is light and colour. These two interlinked elements create the mood, space and form within a pictorial world. Mostly this has been seen as a daytime practice, with the direct or ambient sunlight modelling highlights and shadows. However there is an alternative nocturnal approach, which has fascinated artists such as Domenichino, Salvator Rosa, Turner, Atkinson Grimshaw, Bonnard, Nash and Klee. For example the lunar light of a full moon which utterly transforms the usual perception of chromatics and produces strange, unexpected relationships between tone and hues. Nocturnal light is obviously slight when compared to daytime lux levels but as the pupils adjust the imagination steps in to generate new sensations and interpretations which radically liberate our mark-making and colour sensibility.

You will explore working with the margins of daylight at dawn and dusk, as well as what it means to work in full darkness or by candlelight. There will be sessions reworking nightscapes from memory the following day. This is in every way an adventurous and experimental course that aims to produce extraordinary works of power and subtly. It would be ideal for people who want to find a new and unexpected side to their creativity.

You will look at specific aspects of colour theory, tonality, and mark making. The timetable for the course will be highly unusual so we are unlikely to eat breakfast or dinner at routine times.

On the first evening there will be practical sessions drawing outside with oil pastels, oil markers, pencils on black paper. There will be early morning drawing sessions each day (5.30 - 7.30am) followed by breakfast at 8am (non-residential students requiring breakfast can either book this in advance with the Bookings Office or online at the same time as booking the course online). Tea will be at 4pm with dinner at 6.30pm (non-residential students requiring dinner will need to book this) followed by dusk drawing (7.30 - 9.30pm) and night drawing (10.00 - 11.30pm). There will be a final review of course work with individual directions after lunch on the last day.

We appreciate that you will need to have periods of rest in the mornings and afternoons before the night time sessions, but you will be free between to continue working on previous projects

Please bring warm wet weather clothes and boots/waterproof shoes, hat and fingerless gloves as it is still cold this time of year.


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


  • Black paper, oil pastels (gold, silver, bronze, copper and black), a set of metallic pencils, gold and silver marker pens.

What students need to bring

  • Very warm clothing including waterproof trousers/boots/shoes, hat and fingerless gloves as it is still cold this time of year
  • We would suggest wellingtons and a torch may be useful

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Ten sheets of various A2 dark coloured papers i.e. black, maroon, navy, sap green, dark brown - do choose papers that have a good surface ie Canson Mi-Tients papers, Fabriano or Hahnemuhle.
  • Black and white Conté sticks
  • A range of gold, silver, bronze, copper, brass drawing media to include:
  • Neopastels, pencils, oil marker pens - the greater the range the better and more varied the results!
  • A range of colours in oil pastel, soft pastel, or pencils
  • Bull dog clips (to attach paper to boards)
  • Waterproof (cheap) plastic portfolio to store paper in or finished drawings
  • Glassine paper to put between finished drawings to protect them

"The course was really interesting. Drawing in the dark is a very different experience; going out to draw very early or very late in all weathers made one realise there are really no valid excuses for not doing it. In the dark you create interesting marks and colours, and it was surprising what you could see or remember. In changing light you had to work quickly. The tutor was very inspirational and gave supportive feedback, and the reworking sessions in the studio were great not least because warm and proximity to cups of tea!"

Sarah, 2018


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.

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