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Expressive watercolour at Slapton Ley

Expressive watercolour at Slapton Ley

About the Course

This course is ideal for those who wish to loosen up their watercolour or use watercolour in a more expressive way using this beautiful translucent medium en plein air, in and around Slapton Ley. There will be plenty of demonstrations, and one to one guidance, whilst we explore using resists, lift off and wet on wet and play with other intriguing methods. We will spend time acquiring skills and techniques which lend themselves to a more atmospheric way of painting, with space to experiment in the studio but there will also be optional opportunities for those who wish to start with a more traditional approach.

Whilst exploring the medium of watercolour we will also be able to paint en plein air in and around Slapton’s beautiful Nature Reserve, the sea and beaches of Slapton Sands and Torcross and in the picturesque village of Slapton. We will have use of the FSC minibus for trips to paint the surrounding stunning Devon coastline. The evenings will be spent working up the days paintings and include colour workshops and stimulating slideshows of watercolours. A trip to paint at sunset or twilight will provide an exciting opportunity to paint using atmospheric techniques. Most of the painting locations involve minimal walking but sometimes we use country or coastal footpaths, which can be rough so please bring stout shoes. A folding stool and a watercolour easel would be useful as are a sun hat/ cream, midge repellant and rain gear.

Book on Hilary’s Summer Painting en Plein Air class 24th July – 27th July as well and receive a £125 discount.

Course tutor: Hilary Jean Gibson
Hilary Jean Gibson is an experienced illustrator and tutor who teaches for the St Ives School of Painting, Cornwall and delivers guided tours for Tate St Ives and the Barbara Hepworth Museum. She has a 1st Class BA Hons degree in Graphic Design, an MA in the History of Modern Art and Design and an MA in Illustration: Authorial Practice. In 2010 Hilary wrote, illustrated and self-published a book about Godolphin (NT). In 2017 she completed 6 large drawing commissions for Trelissick (National Trust). She is about to self publish a book about the Leach Pottery St Ives where she has been drawing and painting since 2012. Hilary has taught art since 1980 and run FSC art courses since 1999.

Start and Finish Times
Resident participants are requested to arrive for registration between 1:00pm and 4:00pm on arrival day, after this time self-directed arrival information will be posted on the front door. There will be an introductory talk at 5:00pm. Supper is usually at 6:30pm. Non resident bookings should arrive just before 5:00pm. A non resident booking also includes dinner during your course as teaching does progress into the evening. Breakfast, for resident participants, will be from 8:00am. The course will end after supper on Thursday, with departure after breakfast on Friday for resident participants. On the final day please vacate your room by 9:00am, storage is provided for your luggage.

What to bring - suggested list:
Sketchbooks of assorted sizes (A6-A3) for drawing in pencil/pen/wash/ watercolour.
Stretched watercolour pads. (If you prefer you can bring watercolour paper, gum strip, sponge and a board on which to stretch the paper yourself).
Coloured pastel paper.
Watercolours - artist’s quality in pans and/or tubes .
Optional - watercolour inks e.g. Dr.PH Martin’s radiant concentrated watercolour ink recommended.
It is highly recommended that you bring one each of the 3 primaries also called – Permanent Rose (Quinacridone) and Process Yellow (also called Winsor or Hansa Yellow) and Pthalocyanine Blue (also called Winsor Blue or Thalo Blue).
Large tube of Chinese white/ White Gouache/ body colour.
Additional colours as well as a selection of earth colours such as – Cadmium Red, Cadmium Yellow, Lemon Yellow, Alizarin Crimson and blues such as Prussian, French Ultramarine, and Cobalt, Naples Yellow, Raw Sienna, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Raw and Burnt Umber will be useful. A Watercolour colour wheel is also recommended.
Good selection of drawing materials: pencils from HB-8B, and good quality artist’s brushes in assorted sizes (At least 2 or 3 round brushes and 1 flat brush).
Quink Black ink (black label with gold writing) permanent black Indian ink, dip pens, permanent black drawing pen.
Rotring Sketching Pen if you have one.
A carbon or charcoal pencil.
Compact paint sets, small water bottle, small (individual serving) jam jars, small spray and palettes are recommended, as are a portable watercolour easel/stool and small backpack or similar.
Resists – birthday candle, wax crayons, masking fluid, masking tape.
Salt, cling film, old credit card/ palette knife, old stiff brushes, tooth brush/nailbrush.
Natural and synthetic sponge, a straw, ruler and craft knife.
Pritt or similar and a roll of kitchen towel.
Because we are working en plein air during the day it is necessary to consider how much you can carry (including your lunch).
I suggest however, that you do not limit what you bring but be selective each day during the course. Also don’t forget that this is the chance to indulge in experimentation!
Come prepared for the terrain and weather: bring stout footwear; sun cream and hat; midge repellent; warm clothes and light weight waterproofs. (Waterproofs and wellingtons can be borrowed from the centre) lunch/salad box and flask/drink bottle.
For painting courses easels and chairs can be borrowed from the centre.

If you will be redeeming a CraftCourses gift voucher on this course, the voucher code must be provided at the point of booking.

What's included in the price?

Expert tuition
Free Wi-Fi
Full board accommodation
Hot and cold drinks
In course transport
Personal and travel insurance


Field Studies Council, Slapton Ley Field Centre and Nettlecombe Court
Slapton Ley Field Centre
Sands Road
Slapton, Kingsbridge
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Suitable for

  • Public transport
  • Residential
  • UK Holiday
  • Wheelchair users

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5 days

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