Drawing in the landscape – pattern and light with Rosie MacCurrach

Ref: SLW10444


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About this course

Drawing from observation, create an atmospheric pattern-based interpretation of the landscape. Learn to work with repetition, rhythm and composition in your drawings to represent a sense of place .

Course Description

"The relationship between ‘Nature’ and ‘Man’ results in cultivated land, farms, gardens, arboretums and is an on-going theme within British art."

On this course, you will explore a pattern-based interpretation of the landscape around West Dean through drawing from observation. You will discover how composition can reflect a sense of place and atmosphere.  Referencing to artists such as Samuel Palmer, Van Gogh, David Hockney, Eric Ravilious and others, you will be encouraged to experiment in finding your own visual language through composition, patterns and rhythms. 

Each session will have a group introduction followed by individual support. There will be a strong focus on learning to look for patterns, textures and rhythms; identifying shapes and compositions.  Drawing with pencils, charcoal and ink, you will explore different ways of interpreting the landscape through experimental mark-making. You will also look at how you choose what to draw, pulling out of the scene the patterns and shapes that draw you in. You will explore composition as the counterweight to pattern, using it to express what is important in your drawing. Following this, you will work from memory as a way of understanding how you interpret what you see.

By the end of the course, you will have a series of drawn textures and patterns, short compositional working sketches and some more finished pieces. You will also know how to identify what you are looking for in a drawing, and what moves you about a specific place or landscape and how composition and pattern play their part in this. You will have a range of marks to equip you to tackle any field or foliage, and to see the potential of drawing from memory and drawing from your drawings as a way of developing your practice. 

At the end of the weekend, there will be an informal group review of the work with a focus on group discussion and learning from each other.


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

Please bring any of the items listed in the available to buy list below if you have them and in addition: 

  • Appropriate clothing for working outdoors (extra warmth for sitting, sunhats for shade if necessary)  
  • 4 x jam jars with lids for water and ink of varying dilutions, rags
  • Any other materials you really love to work with.

Available to buy

Available from shop:

  • A2 pad of cartridge paper and a selection of different papers with interesting textures and colours
  • Pencils (softer ones are best) 2B - 8B
  • 1 box of charcoal (range of widths), thin charcoal is great
  • 1 bottle of indian Ink at least 100ml and brushes or ink pen
  • White chalk pastel 
  • Rubber (a hard rubber is better), scalpel, pencil sharpener, bulldog clips, masking tape
  • Fixative spray to fix charcoal
  • A plastic folder to carry your drawings

"Rosie was an excellent tutor. There was a good balance of instruction, trying out new materials and sketching in the garden."

Laura, September 2020


Rosie MacCurrach

Rosie Maccurrach studied at Chelsea College of Art and Royal Drawing School. She has worked as a print designer and artist in fashion, film, illustration, and recently spent a year as Artist in Residence at Great Dixter.


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

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