Comprehensive landscape painting in oils with Hester Berry

Ref: S5D33256

Book now

Places available

About this course

A comprehensive course that will lead you through an objective approach to landscape painting, focusing on key points like composition, tone, colour and mark-making, in order to recreate light and movement experienced in nature.

Course Description

During the course, you will aim to develop practical techniques in representing the landscape using oil paint, develop confidence in objectively processing what you see, and gain more insight into where you might situate yourself in the framework of landscape painters past and contemporary. You will work from a mixture of photographs and direct observation of the landscape, weather permitting.

You will be encouraged to look rigorously at the use of tone, using charcoal and oil paint to explore tonal relationships. You will look in detail at colour mixing, with the goal of closely recreating with oils the colours you perceive in the landscape. This veracity to light and colour will enable you to free yourself with mark-making, exploring the ways in which the physical application of paint can enhance your work, lending expression and the suggestion of non-visual elements to an oil painting. You will look at the work of other painters for inspiration, to gain insight into different techniques and to understand the breadth of approach to landscape painting.

You will be supported to develop your own way of working with your own goals and questions. The tutor will work with your unique needs and help you to develop your practice.

On the first evening, the focus will be on how artists collect source material, sketching and exploring the landscape through direct observation.

By the end of the course, you will be able to make decisions on how to compress the natural spectrum into one which can be described by paint, to convincingly recreate a tonal piece. You will be able to use these decisions to aid you in your observation and processing of colour, mixing colours which more closely resemble those of the natural world. You will be able to call upon a range of marks to lend expression and movement to your subsequent paintings, adding more dimension, feeling and artistic licence to a work, elevating it from a snapshot view to a representation of an experience of a landscape.

Course Materials


  • On this course, the college will supply some of the materials, including studio safe solvent, linseed oil, poppy seed oil, A1 cartridge paper 220gsm, charcoal and a rubber.

What students need to bring

  • Please prepare at least six canvases/boards/pieces of oil paper, primed and then prepared with a ground. This ground should be applied at least a couple of days before the course so that it is dry. It consists of a thin coat of brown paint (your tutor suggests a mixture of Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna and French Ultramarine, or aim for a warm soily/sandy colour), thinned with low odour solvent or turpentine. It doesn’t need to be neat, just to cover the naked white of the primer. Boards/canvases/primed paper should be a size you are comfortable working on - your tutor suggests six (roughly) 18 x 24 inches or eight to ten 9 x 12 inches, but this depends on how fast you work. You could also bring a pad of oil paper, so you have extra.
  • Oil paint: 200ml tube of Titanium White, plus a small tube of the following colours: French Ultramarine, Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ochre, a yellow, a red, Phthalo/Prussian Blue, Sap Green/Terra Verte, Viridian – also any extras you have or would like to try.
  • A flat palette, palette knife
  • Paint brushes, a selection of widths – a ¾" flat/chisel brush, plus one smaller and one bigger to hand
  • Zest-it and medium (linseed oil or poppy seed oil), plus any others that you normally use
  • Sketchbook
  • A few photos of landscapes to work from
  • Suitable clothes – layers for outdoors

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Oil paints in a good variety of colours, including: Titanium White, French Ultramarine, Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ochre, Cadmium and Lemon Yellow, Cadmium Red, Phthalo Blue/Prussian Blue, Sap Green/Terra Verte, Viridian
  • A flat palette (Perspex white or clear available), a good variety of paint brushes, palette knives, studio based solvent, linseed oil/poppy seed oil
  • A good variety of general painting and drawing materials, including sketchbooks

Additional information

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


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)

General Information


Hester Berry in the studio

Hester Berry

Hester Berry has made a living as a painter since leaving school, exhibiting throughout the UK and occasionally internationally. She gained a degree in Fine Art from University of Wales Aberystwyth and an MA in painting from UAL Wimbledon. She has taught painting and drawing for various societies and institutions including for Draw Brighton and Camden Arts Centre. In 2018 Tate published her book on Life Drawing.


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

Courses of interest

Painting still life – towards abstraction

15 to 20 Sep 2024 | West Dean
Places available
Tutor: Nick Bodimeade |

Abstract painting – finding your voice

23 to 27 Sep 2024 | West Dean
1 place available
Tutor: Robert Sosner |
Suitable for all

Gilding and painting a Byzantine icon

27 Oct 2024 to 1 Nov 2024 | West Dean
Places available
Tutor: Peter Murphy |
Suitable for all

Introduction to egg tempera painting

2 to 4 Oct 2024 | West Dean
Places available
Tutor: Maz Jackson |
Suitable for all

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.