Contemporary painting – abstracting the landscape with Steve Humble

Painting - Subject Led

Ref: SSS11653

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2 places available

About this course

Working with the landscape and referencing the work of contemporary painters, extend your own approach to painting, and your understanding of 'abstraction'. Using exercises and tutorials, develop your responses to your subject matter and materials.

Course Description

Through your own painting practice with the landscape, you will be encouraged to develop your technical skills with your chosen media and to extend your responses to your subject matter, whilst exploring your understanding of the processes of abstraction.

Using exercises, the tutor will ask you to develop your technical approaches to your work. Exercises may invite you to work in a particular way, with a specified approach or materials, or both. Exercises may involve drawing, painting, writing, or a combination of these.

By looking at examples of other artists’ work, you will be introduced to various contemporary painters and their working methods. The aim is to show a range of possible strategies, which you might employ in your own work. This will also help to develop your understanding of abstraction and inspire your thinking.

Through group discussions and individual tutorials, you will be pushed to extend your conceptual approaches. You will be required to engage in individual reflection in relation to your practice. Group tutorials will be used as a way of introducing new ideas, to summarise progress in the context of collective feedback and to develop your understanding of your painting practice within the context of contemporary painting. The concept of reflective studio practice will help you to develop the notion of critical thinking in relation to your work.

The course is couched within the broader art-historical context of landscape painting. You will be asked to consider your practice in relation to this history, changing notions of the landscape and concepts of abstraction.

By the end of the course, you will have increased knowledge and understanding of your approach to landscape painting, your idea of abstraction and begun to be a reflective studio practitioner. You will have improved handling of your chosen materials and started to understand your work within the context of contemporary art history.

The first evening’s session will be used for introductions and an overview of the week ahead.

Summer School highlights:

The Summer School week is an immersive learning experience with more time to develop your creativity and embrace opportunities for creative development beyond your chosen course. A detailed timetable for your Summer School week will be given to you on arrival. This will include:

• Short inspirational talks by tutors and displays of their work

• A short creative experience session in another discipline/media or course

• An optional evening at the Chichester Festival Theatre (if pre-booked)

• An optional lunchtime tour of West Dean Gardens, the historic rooms at West Dean College, or West Dean Tapestry Studio

• A celebration dinner on the last evening, with a surrealist theme inspired by Salvador Dalí, who was one of West Dean founder, Edward James’ friends and collaborators. (Feel free to respond to the theme if you wish.)

• Informal end-of-course group reviews and displays of students' work in studios

As evening events are planned as part of the Summer School week, dinner is included in the course fee to enable all students, including non-residents, to participate fully. A detailed timetable will be given to all students on arrival.

(Please note that plans may be subject to change depending on GOV.UK guidance at the time.)


Timetable for Summer Schools

Several evening events are planned throughout the week, a detailed timetable for the summer schools will be given to you on arrival.

Arrival Day

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).

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 should vacate their rooms by 10am please.

Course Materials

What students need to bring

  • Throughout the week you will be working in the studio and outside at times – please bring whatever equipment/clothing you feel is suitable to both situations.
  • The following list is provided as a suggestive guide, please feel free to bring along whatever equipment is suitable to your practice:
  • Any pigments in the medium of your choice – reds, blues and yellows, possibly a black and a white. A range of brushes – large and small. Any other implements for applying pigments. A plentiful supply of papers or supports, suitable to your medium, in various sizes. Sketch pads in a variety of sizes. Water container, 3B, 5B and 8B sketching pencils, water-soluble graphite pencil, lightweight board (if required on location). Gummed tape and/or bulldog clips. Palette, craft knife, putty rubber, tissues, drawing/technical pen(s), biro, camera, writing pad/notebook.
  • *NB. The College has a ready supply of large drawing boards, suitable for studio use, as well as studio and sketching easels.
  • No specific required preparation or reading, however, you may find it useful to have a look at any text about contemporary painting / contemporary art history (1960s onwards). Any other text which extends your thinking about your painting practice and your understanding of what painting is may also be useful. Please feel free to bring these texts with you.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Oil, acrylic and waterbased paints in a large variety of colours.
  • A range of brushes – large and small, pallete knives.
  • A variety of papers, cartridge, watercolour of varying grades and thicknesses.
  • Supports in various sizes, canvas, boards, MDF and ply available.
  • Sketch pads in a variety of sizes.
  • 3B, 5B and 8B sketching pencils, water-soluble graphite pencil.
  • Gummed tape, bulldog clips. Various palettes including disposable.
  • Craft knife, putty rubber, drawing/technical pen(s), biro.
  • Writing pad/notebook.
Wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toes or sandals. Safety boots, if specified.


Steve Humble

Steve is a professional artist and educator, whose practice spans over thirty years. Combining self-taught technical knowledge with an M.A. in Fine Art (York St. John) Steve is an elected Fellow of The British Watercolour Society and The International Guild of Artists.


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

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