Talkative colour with Maxine Relton

Ref: S4D31300

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About this course

Examine how colour can express emotions, influence, alter mood and communicate ideas. Develop a sound grasp of colour mixing, colour theory and an awareness of colour in all its contexts.

Course Description

This is a hands-on, practical and exploratory course.

The tutor offers you an opportunity to play with colour through a series of imaginative projects. These are designed to look carefully at the way in which colours can express a range of emotions, influence each other, alter mood and communicate ideas. Reference will be made to their use in symbolic, cultural and historical contexts. Time will be given to colour theory to develop a sound grasp of colour-mixing.

The course is suitable for all abilities, including beginners, and for those with an interest in learning more about colour in all contexts within and beyond fine and applied art.

By the end of the course, you can expect to have gained a broader understanding and greater awareness of colour in general, as well as greater confidence in colour-mixing. The principal aim of the programme is to awaken an increased awareness and appreciation of colour.

Some optional, unsupervised evening projects may be suggested during the course, which is largely studio-based. The tutor will bring a selection of her original sketchbooks for reference, as well as examples of colour use by different artists and a number of books for additional inspiration.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. 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 for residential students).

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 are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • The course fee includes the cost of all materials you will need for the duration of the course, including basic acrylic paints, brushes, card and paper, as well as incidentals such as paper glue, scissors, rulers, cutting mats, water containers and craft knives.

What students need to bring

  • If you have your own paints (whether acrylics, watercolour, gouache or oils), you are invited to bring these to compare your own choice of colours and brands with those widely researched by the tutor (optional).
  • A3 spiral-bound sketchbook with white cartridge paper to form ‘Colour Workbook’ (optional and available in the College Shop)

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A good variety of art materials for drawing, painting and colouring materials including A3 spiral-bound sketchbooks

Additional information

If you wish to speak to the tutor in advance to discuss any aspect of the course, please let the bookings office know at: [email protected] who will forward your details to the tutor. Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no open toes or sandals).


Maxine Relton

Teaching at West Dean since 2005, Maxine works across drawing, painting, printmaking, bookmaking and mixed media. Exhibits widely, runs a 3-floor gallery of her work in Gloucestershire, included in public and private collections around the world. Trained in London at Camberwell and the Slade. An elected member of the Royal West of England Academy.


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

Courses of interest

Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or advance your learning with our BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft: Materials, Making, and Place (six years part-time). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.