Experimental landscape drawing with Caroline Wendling


Ref: SSS12045

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About this course

Observe and record your sensory experiences of walking through the landscape. Experiment with mark-making, materials, tools, ideas and chance encounters to produce drawings that will inspire and transform your work.

Course Description

Learn how to observe and record your sensory experiences of walking through the landscape using different drawing techniques. From your primary studies, experiment with mark-making, materials, ideas and chance encounters. Develop the skills and tools to produce drawings in and out of the landscape, that will inspire and transform your work.

Artists in the past looked at the landscape and drew it as they saw it, and sometimes they interpreted it. On this course you will learn how to interpret the landscape using experimental drawing techniques and tools.  The tutor will help you to discover ways to express your sensory experiences in the landscape through drawing.

There is no better way to experience the landscape than to walk into it.  Through guided daily walks (you need to be able to walk unaided through the countryside) you will be provided with sensory prompts to begin your drawings.  The tutor will take you step-by-step, through a set of drawing exercises in which you use chance and control to generate works.  You will be encouraged throughout with different ways of drawing.  You will be taught how to use line, tone, form and pattern and gain confidence and understanding of how to best use them.  The process of drawing itself will be studied as you reflect on your experiments and expressions, and build confidence in your approach. 

You will record many aspects of the landscape, refining your observational skills and use of your senses to produce artwork.  You will also be taught how to work from memory using your bodily experience of the landscape.  You will learn to work with unusual mediums, mark-making and tools to create exciting outcomes.  You will be inspired to forget about the everyday as you are alerted to your surrounding environment both in and out of the studio, with a clear mind. 

You will use aspects of the landscape to work with directly in your drawings.  You will be encouraged to develop and find ways to draw into the landscape, and to make drawing interventions in the landscape. The course embraces ideas of in situ expression.  You will have the chance to discuss your ideas in groups and individually with your tutor. 

Ian Odin, West Dean Estate Forestry Manager of nearly 40 years and Jackie Herrington, PR to many directors at West Dean College over 30 years and oral history gatherer will join us on two of the walks. Both have knowledge and experience of the locations and provide an additional resource of information about land, history and signifiers to help you in your research. 

At the end of the course, you will have developed your own way of responding to the landscape.  You will have been on a personal journey and produced a series of drawings.  You will be able to use walking as a way to generate and inspire artwork.  You will have learned to draw from memory, and be able to translate the experience of the landscape into drawings.

First Evening – A stroll near the house 
Day 1 – a two hour walk to St Roches Arboretum on the West Dean site
Day 2 – A 5 miles walk over 7 hours (with drawing sessions including pack lunches and snacks) on the wider West Dean estate starting with a short bus journey)
Day 4 – A 5 mile walk over 5 hours (with drawing sessions including pack lunches and snacks) on the wider West Dean estate starting with a short bus journey)

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

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.


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


The course fee includes the cost of providing some papers shared amongst the group to get started. 

What students need to bring

Drawing equipment and materials you like to work with – on this course students often need to replenish their materials or try out new ones from the shop. The list isn't definitive, it is about exploring and experimenting, taking inspiration from peers, artists, the walks and responding creatively and intuitively.
A camera or your phone camera
Very important - please bring a portable flask, a water container and a portable bag or backpack to carry your lunch, drawing media and sketchbook.
Walking shoes and adequate clothing for the weather.
To prepare yourself for this course, start going on walks near your home or use one of your regular walks, repeat the walk and record your thoughts in a notebook, in sketches or writing, about what you noticed and what was different from your previous walk.
Look up a few artists who take or have taken walking as the starting point of their work, for example:
Marina Abramović and Ulay: The Lovers: The Great Wall Walk.
Hamish Fulton who said: ‘I am an artist who walks, not a walker who makes art.’
Richard Long
Francis Alÿs
Artists that make use of their environment:
Joseph Beuys: 7000 Oaks project
Ulrike Arnold
Agnes Denes:  Wheatfield -- A Confrontation
Ian Hamilton: Finlay Little Sparta
Philippe Parreno: C.H.Z., Continuously Habitable Zones, 2011

Available to buy

Available from shop:
A selection of paper and drawing equipment

The course will include several walks, two of which will be for the full day.  You will need to be physically able to walk at a leisurely pace for approximately 5 miles on uneven ground with very little equipment plus your packed lunch and a drink in a back pack.


Caroline Wendling

FDAD Core Team Tutor and Short Course Tutor

Caroline Wendling's work explores ideas of place and belonging through layered projects that draw on history and explore local myths, inviting re-imagings of sites. She takes her audience on a physical, sensory and emotional journey leaving them with a poetic encounter and a story to tell. In 2012, she created her first walk near her studio. Subsequent walks took her to New York City, Norfolk, Suffolk and Scotland where she created White Wood, a living monument to peace that will develop over the next 900 years. 


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

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