Floribunda – expressive mixed media painting with Emily Ball

Ref: S5D31285

About this course

Take a fresh look at depicting the beauty, form and richness of flora in your work. Experiment with materials and mark-making, and learn expressive approaches to painting through practical exercises and illustrated talks.

Course Description

The full length of the Orangery at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation will be filled with buckets and pots of plants and flowers gathered from West Dean Gardens. It will be a visual feast, a flower painting extravaganza.

This subject is perfect to inspire you to be more expressive and to indulge your enjoyment of colour, texture, form and paint. The aim of this course is to help you make paintings that go beyond traditional flower painting to encourage you to be bold, experimental and courageous.

Your tutor will provide guided painting and drawing exercises, designed to help you become more expressive with your marks and materials. You will learn how to select and assemble information from the subject to make a personal response. The tutor will help you explore mark-making to make a rich visual language and help you to become more confident with handling paint and mediums to create different surfaces and sensations. By developing these skills, it will be possible to celebrate in paint the beautiful, sculptural, tactile, vibrancy and abundance of the flowers on display. You will make numerous studies to help develop your work and should go home with two or three finished paintings.

Immersive Art School Week

This course is part of our new ‘Immersive Art School’ group of short courses for summer 2024, led by talented artist-tutors Emily Ball (painting), Tim Johnson (basketry), Jane Fox and Jane Sampson (printmaking), James Hunting (textiles) and Katie Sollohub (painting).

There will be tutor talks on the Tuesday evening from 5:15 to 6.15pm in The Old Library as part of the course. Studio visits are encouraged to share work and experiences (out of core teaching hours).


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

  • Oil and acrylic paint
  • Chalk pastels, oil pastels and oil sticks
  • Scene painter’s charcoal and fixative
  • Pencils, rubbers, masking tape, bull dog clips
  • Brushes – a varied selection of different size brushes from large decorating to delicate sable rigger brushes
  • Linseed oil, Zest-it (odourless alternative to white spirit or turpentine)
  • Palette knives and a large palette
  • Canvases and paperLots of rags
  • Suitable clothing for painting

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A good selection of art materials, including oil paints, acrylic paints, chalk pastels, oil pastels, scene painter’s charcoal, fixative, pencils, rubbers, masking tape, bull dog clips, brushes – various sizes from large decorating to delicate sable rigger brushes, linseed oil, Zest-it, palette knives, palettes, canvases and paper

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio. This includes stout covered footwear, i.e. no open-toes or sandals.


Emily Ball

Emily Ball trained at Exeter and Surrey Universities and is director and tutor of Emily Ball at Seawhite Studio. Her book Painting and Drawing People - A Fresh Approach was published in 2009.


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.