Dynamic life drawing and painting with Chris Gilvan-Cartwright

Ref: SLW13472

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About this course

You are encouraged to explore the dynamics of the imagination, as well as drawing and painting from life, working in both colour and black and white.

Course Description

Challenge and transform your drawing and painting skills and experiences by exploring dynamic and playful approaches. Work from the model using a variety of mediums and techniques that encourage intuitive responses to spontaneous mark-making to free up your drawing and painting. Make expressive work from both observation and imagination, with colour as well as black and white.

You will work through a series of fantastical set themes and poses. Each day will have a new theme with long and short poses.

The course includes the following projects:

1. Playful sessions include concertina book drawing, three-dimensional collage and full scale ink drawings.

Music will also be used to inform your mark-making.

2. Frida Kahlo, colour, dreams and symbolism

True to the history of West Dean College, this session is designed for you to explore Surrealism

through life drawing and the works of Frida Kahlo.

The model will be set within a mass of Mexican imagery and colourful fabrics, fruit and symbolic items, such as Frida Kahlo might have used in her paintings.

On completing the course, you will have experienced a playful and alternative approach to life drawing and painting, and gained confidence in working intuitively. You will be able to incorporate figure drawing with aspects of your own imagination to make rich and expressive paintings.


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 model who will sit for the course
  • Some paper, paint and masking tape shared amongst the group to get you started – more available to purchase from the shop as required.

What students need to bring

  • Charcoal in a range of sizes, a range of pencils, a graphite stick, a putty rubber, black Indian ink, masking tape, Pritt stick glue
  • A1 paper – white cartridge and black
  • Coloured chalk pastels
  • Acrylic paints – a variety of colours
  • A range of brushes
  • Canvases in various sizes, card, boards primed

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A good variety of art materials, including: charcoal in various sizes, a range of pencils, graphite sticks, putty rubbers, black Indian ink, masking tape, Pritt stick glue, A1 paper – white cartridge and black, coloured chalk pastels, acrylic paints, brushes, canvases – ready-made in various sizes, card, boards primed (optional).

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no sandals or open toes).


Chris Gilvan-Cartwright

Chris Gilvan-Cartwright, aka The Baron Gilvan, is a painter, performer and animator.
Graduating from Central St Martins he won the Royal Overseas League bursary to paint in India and Nepal. He designed the BBC Proms logos for two seasons, has exhibited extensively and performed at the Jerwood Gallery Hastings. Chris also trained at Kracow Academy of Fine Arts, Poland, and University of Brighton. He has taught over 20 years from Foundation to Degree level. Chris is a member of Central Illustration Agency and has illustrated 20 children's books, including 'Becoming Me', Frances Lincoln Publishing.


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

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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.