Press Release: Explore a future in the arts, short courses at West Dean College

West Dean College short courses in drawing, painting and sculpture range from beginners to advanced levels. Experiment with one day Taster Courses and explore a new speciality. For a more in-depth experience choose from a wide range of courses that run for a weekend or a few days. Under the guidance and instruction of highly qualified specialist tutors, students can develop a rich and varied body of work that reflects individual areas of interest and talents to focus on future career aspirations. The college offers clear pathways for beginners to progress on to advanced courses and many students then go on to the Foundation Diploma in Art and Design (FDAD) to develop their portfolio. The Diploma can prepare students for an Art and Design related degree programme.

"Before coming to West Dean I hadn't done any art since the age of 16. I attended a weekend course in beginners acylics and really enjoyed the experience, the college atmosphere and surroundings, so I decided to embark on a two yeaer Foundaton Diploma in Art and Desgin" says Sally Gordon. "I am now studying for an MA in Fine Art".

Be inspired as you learn a series of dynamic approaches to mark-making and painting from a live model. A variety of long and short dramatic poses offer you the time to explore rich, vibrant colour and light. Portrait Painting - drama, colour and light with Christopher Gilvan-Cartwright. (12 - 15 May long weekend £362 suitable for all).

An introduction to sculpture - modelling and carving (20 to 22 May weekend £240 beginners) with sculptor Jon Edgar provides a practical introduction to sculptural form which explores 'building up' (modelling in wax and clay) and 'taking away' (carving clay and introducing soft stone).

By inspired by a natural object and explore sculptural carving in soft, easily-shaped Maltese Limestone. Stone carving with Simon Keeley (12 June Taster Day £125 beginners).

Explore drawing at its most experimental. Create a series of layered drawings with different sources and materials. Use acetates, photocopier, scanner and projector to bring about new ways of looking and inspire fresh ideas in your work. Experimental drawing with light and mixed media with Emily McLennan (8 to 10 July weekend £230 suitable for all).

Collect subject matter and make visual research to inspire your composition and enhance your skills in painting fine detail in watercolour. Learn the dry brush technique expressing a myriad of colour, tone and texture. Investigate accenting and glazing to create depth and add luminosity to your painting. Watercolour painting - flora and fauna of the Sussex Downs with Suzanne Balchin (6 to 12 August Summer School £682 suitable for all).

Visit Sussex sites and West Dean College and Gardens to record observations and develop visual ideas for your sketchbook. Back in the studio, exercises in perspective and composition with advice on media, will provide structure to develop your interpretive skills. A Sussex sketchbook - drawing course with Paul Cox (12 to 15 August long weekend £325 suitable for all).

Take the dynamism of collage and paint and explore a myriad of possibilities. Enjoy unexpected outcomes as you implement new processes, approaches and resources. Dynamic collage with paint with Katie Sollohub (11 to 16 September five days £526 suitable for all).

For further information on the Foundation Diploma Art and Design contact [email protected] orcall+44 (0)1243 818262.


Treat a friend or family member with a gift voucher for £10, £25, £50 or £100, which can be used as full or part payment towards a short course. Email bookings [email protected].


Wake up to beautiful views over the Sussex Downs. The bedrooms are a mixture of contemporary and traditional styling. From £102 per person for two nights (twin occupancy).


To browse the digital Short Course brochure and to book visit First time bookings receive a 10% discount (telephone bookings only call +44 (0)1243 818300).

If you are passionate about the creative arts and conservation join the vibrant community and enjoy all West Dean has to offer by becoming a Friend of the college


Notes to editors

  • Media places on Short Courses are available for review subject to availability.
  • West Dean College is part of The Edward James Foundation, a charitable trust, also comprising West Dean Gardens, West Dean Estate and the West Dean Tapestry Studio. Charity No. 1126084.
  • All photography is free to use for editorial purposes.
  • West Dean College is situated on the A286, six miles north of Chichester and within easy access of Portsmouth, Guildford, Brighton and London.