Contemporary painting – abstracting the landscape with Steve Humble

Ref: S4D31608

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About this course

Working with the landscape and referencing the work of contemporary painters, extend your own approach to painting and your understanding of 'abstraction'. Using exercises and tutorials, develop your responses to your subject matter and materials.

Course Description

Through your own painting practice with the landscape, you will be encouraged to develop your technical skills with your chosen media and to extend your responses to your subject matter whilst exploring your understanding of the processes of abstraction.

Using exercises, the tutor will ask you to develop your technical approaches to your work. Exercises may invite you to work in a particular way, with a specified approach or materials, or both. Exercises may involve drawing, painting, writing or a combination of these.

By looking at examples of other artists’ work, you will be introduced to various contemporary painters and their working methods. The aim is to show a range of possible strategies, which you might employ in your own work. This will also help to develop your understanding of abstraction and inspire your thinking.

Through group discussions and individual tutorials, you will be pushed to extend your conceptual approaches. You will be required to engage in individual reflection in relation to your practice. Group tutorials will be used as a way of introducing new ideas, to summarise progress in the context of collective feedback and to develop your understanding of your painting practice within the context of contemporary painting. The concept of reflective studio practice will help you to develop the notion of critical thinking in relation to your work.

The course is couched within the broader art-historical context of landscape painting. You will be asked to consider your practice in relation to this history, changing notions of the landscape and concepts of abstraction.

By the end of the course, you will have increased knowledge and understanding of your approach to landscape painting, your idea of abstraction and begun to be a reflective studio practitioner. You will have improved handling of your chosen materials and started to understand your work within the context of contemporary art history.


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

What students need to bring

  • Throughout the course you will be working in the studio and outside at times – please bring whatever equipment/clothing you feel is suitable to both situations. Please bring appropriate clothing and footwear for sunny and inclement weather.
  • The following list is provided as a suggestive guide, please feel free to bring along whatever equipment is suitable to your practice:
  • Any pigments in the medium of your choice – reds, blues and yellows, possibly a black and a white
  • A range of brushes – large and small, any other implements for applying pigments
  • A plentiful supply of papers or supports, suitable to your medium, in various sizes – canvases, boards, etc.
  • Sketchbooks in a variety of sizes, writing pad/notebook
  • Water container
  • 3B, 5B and 8B sketching pencils, putty rubber, water-soluble graphite pencil
  • Lightweight board (if required on location), gummed tape and/or bulldog clips
  • Palette, craft knife, tissues, drawing/technical pen(s), biro, camera
  • *NB. The College has a ready supply of large drawing boards, suitable for studio use, as well as studio and sketching easels.
  • No specific required preparation or reading, however, you may find it useful to have a look at any text about contemporary painting/contemporary art history (1960s onwards). Any other text which extends your thinking about your painting practice and your understanding of what painting is may also be useful. Please feel free to bring these texts with you.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A good selection of general art materials, including oil, acrylic and waterbased paints in a large variety of colours, a good range of brushes, palette knives, a variety of papers, cartridge, watercolour of varying grades and thicknesses, canvases, boards, MDF and ply available in a range of sizes, sketchbooks in a variety of sizes, a good range of sketching pencils, water-soluble graphite pencils, gummed tape, bulldog clips, palettes and disposable palettes, craft knives, putty rubbers, drawing/technical pens, biros, writing pads/notebooks

Additional information

Please note you will be working on location, weather permitting. Please come equipped with appropriate clothing and equipment.. Please wear sturdy footwear, no open toes.


Steve Humble

Steve is a professional artist and educator, whose practice spans over thirty years. Combining self-taught technical knowledge with an M.A. in Fine Art (York St. John) Steve is an elected Fellow of The British Watercolour Society and The International Guild of Artists.


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.