Drawing and painting the West Dean landscape with Robert A Newell

Drawing Painting - Subject Led

Ref: SLW11896

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About this course

Enhance your perception of the landscape through observational drawing and painting. Learn composition, form and meaning, interpretation, space and light, tone and texture.

Course Description

Drawing and painting provides a way to see that transforms your ability to perceive and experience landscape. Throughout this course you will be guided by your tutor to develop skills in observation that will help you to focus your drawings and paintings. You will be guided through the fundamental processes of drawing and painting techniques, including selection and composition of your subject, form and meaning, space and light, tone, colour and texture all integrated with material techniques.

You will also learn practical tips on how to work outdoors to give you the confidence to continue with this practice after the course. The different aspects of drawing and painting will help you to translate your perception and experience of landscape into your work.

The grounds of West Dean College of Arts and Conservation and the adjacent St Andrew’s Church will provide varied and stimulating subject matter.

There will be plenty of individual tuition as well as group critiques/discussions. Unsupervised evening sessions, with studio access, will provide the opportunity for further development, preparation of materials and informal discussion within the group.

First Evening: An introductory discussion and observational preparatory walk around the grounds.

Day one: selection, composition, observation.

Day two: development of material techniques towards resolution of ideas.

Day three: consolidation

By the end of the course, you will have transformed how you see the landscape, developed material techniques in capturing what you observe and have increased confidence in working outdoors. You will have completed a series of studies dealing with observational perspective, composition, volume, tone, colour and texture.


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


  • Some gummed paper tape (48mm) and some A3 250gsm Bristol board sheets to share amongst the group.

What students need to bring

  • Sunglasses and visor or broad-brimmed hat
  • Water bottle
  • Lightweight portable easel (optional – also available to use from the College)
  • Camping stool (optional – portable chairs available from the College)
  • Clothing suitable for both hot and cold weather
  • Footwear for outdoors
  • Fishing umbrella (with string and tent pegs, hopefully won’t need to use this)
  • Suggested list of painting and drawing materials, including any painting mediums of choice:
  • Graphite pencils – a range of about four, from 2H to 6B
  • Charcoal (willow sticks), compressed charcoal and fixative (or hairspray as an alternative to fixative)
  • Eraser, masking tape, gummed paper tape (50mm)
  • Stanley knife, ruler
  • A2 and A3 pads of cartridge paper or Bristol Board
  • Black and white watercolour or gouache, pens
  • Painting Knife. Medium size (for mixing oils or acrylics)
  • Zest-It, (for use with oil pastels and oil paints) non-toxic, low-odour bio-synthetic alternative to turpentine/white spirit.
  • Containers for mediums, dilutents, water, etc. (with lids where required)
  • Rags
  • Prepared canvas or board (for oil or acrylic painters)
  • Watercolour paper (for watercolour painters)
  • The following list is the most generally needed. Lacking any of the pairs of primaries and white could result in encountering a colour you cannot achieve. This is a guide only, you may have similar colours that will be fine. With developing practice, many artists work with a narrower palette of colours.
  • Titanium White (Use Chinese White or Permanent White gouache with watercolour)
  • Ivory Black or Lamp Black
  • Cadmium Yellow Pale or Cadmium Lemon
  • Cadmium Yellow Middle
  • Cadmium Red
  • Alizarin Crimson or Permanent Rose or Rowney Rose
  • French Ultramarine Blue
  • Cobalt Blue or Prussian Blue
  • Raw Sienna or Yellow Ochre
  • Indian Red
  • Raw Umber
  • OIL PASTELS (A limited range available in the shop)
  • The tutor recommends Sennelier and Caran D’Ache Neopastels.
  • These can be useful for rapid studies outdoors. As with soft or chalk pastels, you find that you accumulate a rather large number of variations and tints. When starting out, one of the standard sets of 24 or so pastels can be useful as a basis (these will include the primary and secondary hues), but you always need to accumulate certain hues and available tints and variations that you find particularly useful. Among these, for landscape, your tutor recommend as many greys as possible, variations in tone and warm to cool (the basic sets will never provide enough of these) plus earth colours, including subtle de-saturated versions. White is important as well.
  • Hog bristle for oils: Filberts – about six or more ranging from small to large. In addition, mongoose or sable or synthetic, round/pointed – around 2 or three. Or about three or four, small to middling sizes, for use with oil pastels.
  • Synthetic hair or hog bristle for acrylics: Filberts – about six or more ranging from small to large. In addition, mongoose or sable or synthetic, round/pointed – around 2 or three.
  • Sable brushes or synthetic fibres for watercolour: Round to a point, a range of sizes. Chinese brushes can be very good.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A good variety of art materials including pencils, charcoal, erasers, masking tape and gummed paper, craft knives, rulers, sketchpads, papers, oil paints, acryic paints, watercolour paints and accompanying brushes. Palette knives and palettes including ones with wells for watercolour, natural sponges, oil pastels, Zest-It, mediums, canvases, Bristol board etc.
Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toes or sandals.


Robert A Newell

Robert Newell is a landscape painter and member of the Royal Cambrian Academy. He studied Fine Art at Wimbledon School of Art and Goldsmiths College, and he holds a doctorate of the University of Wales. Robert was senior lecturer in fine art at Swansea College of Art, University of Wales Trinity Saint David. He has exhibited at Royal Academy Summer exhibitions and other galleries in the UK and abroad. Robert is a member of the Turner Society and Guild of St George.


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

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