Press Release: Winter landscapes, Short Courses at West Dean College

Take inspiration from the winter landscape as you immerse yourself in a creative environment on a short course at West Dean College. Be inspired by the architecture, art and history of the country-style mansion and award winning gardens as you wrap up warm and explore the beautiful South Downs. Many of the courses are suitable for all levels of ability including beginners. Enjoy a relaxing creative break at West Dean, with delicious homecooked food and mix with like-minded creative people.

West Dean Gardens in winter provides fresh inspiration to explore the world of neutral colours, including the hard to mix creams and taupes found in fallen foliage and twigs. Also paint the dark and glossy hues of evergreens such as holly and camellia. Colours of the winter garden - botanical painting Sandrine Maugy (NEW 8 - 12 November Four Days £434 Suitable for all).

Work in the arboretum at West Dean and Kingley Vale woods painting directly in the landscape. Look at how to get a sense of form and growth in paintings and approaches to form, texture and light with Tom Benjamin. Studies are also made in the studio of tree branches and roots. Painting trees and woods in oils (8 - 13 November Five Days £519 Suitable for all).

Investigate the structure and form of trees in their skeletal winter state through a series of short workshops. Explore compositional choices and improve your ability to capture the movement and grace of trees. Drawing winter trees in pencil and charcoal with Andrew Fitchett. (13 - 15 November Weekend £225 Suitable for all).

Mariella Baldwin will show you how to recreate a sense of movement in seaweed gathered from the Sussex coastline. Through exercises, tips and advice on techniques, you will paint their subtle, harmonious tones and colours and portray their ribboning effect. Seaweed: wracks and kelps - botanical painting (7 - 10 December Three Days £325 Suitable for all).

Translate the sensory experience of walking through the landscape into artwork. Observe and study the changes in the landscape and within you and record your physical experiences back in the studio through memory drawings and experimentations. Sensory landscape - walking and drawing with Caroline Wendling (NEW 11 - 14 December Long Weekend £335 Suitable for all).

Tom Benjamin also teaches Winter landscapes in oils. Learn to use drawing and painting techniques that capture the essential qualities of light and form quickly and with a limited palette (11 - 14 February Long Weekend £325 Suitable for all).

Expand your camera skills in long exposure, tilt and shift, unusual composition, colour effects, or night photography to capture unusual results in low or bright winter light conditions. Back in the studio further the creative potential of your images with Adobe Lightroom. Creative winter photography with Neil Crichton (22 - 25 January Long Weekend £340 Suitable for all).

This day will cover formative, routine and renovation pruning for all types of shrubs and climbers. Learn why it is an essential part of garden maintenance and practice techniques in West Dean Gardens. Pruning gardens shrubs and climbers with Stephen Smith (6 February One Day £120 Beginners).

Trees, textures, flowers, moss and water, West Dean Gardens in spring offers a myriad of opportunities to look closely at nature. Combine the natural grain in wood with spirited cuttings to create lively woodcuts. Woodcut prints - pattern in nature with Merlyn Chesterman and Rod Nelson (NEW 13 - 18 March Give Days £559 Suitable for all).


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

For more information about Short Courses at West Dean and to browse the digital brochure visit First time bookings receive a 10% discount (telephone bookings only call +44 (0)2143 818300.


Notes to editors

  • West Dean College is part of The Edward James Foundation which also comprises West Dean Gardens, West Dean Estate and the West Dean Tapestry Studio. Charity No. 1126084.
  • West Dean College offers over 700 creative short courses and is internationally renowned for teaching in Conservation and Creative Arts.
  • All photography is free to use for editorial purposes.
  • Any journalist interested in visiting the Gardens, attending a course or an event for news or review purposes or filming at West Dean should contact the Media Relations Team.
  • West Dean College is situated on the A286, six miles north of Chichester and within easy access of Portsmouth, Guildford, Brighton and London.

Media Contact Information

For further information and high-resolution digital images, please contact

Irene Caswell, Senior Media Relations Officer, +44 (0)1243 818301


West Dean College, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 OQZ