Drawing and painting the figure in the landscape with Melanie Rose

Ref: SLW29548

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1 place available

About this course

Make studies from a life model in the woodland landscape, then develop paintings in the studio exploring composition, tone, rhythm, colour and embodied gestural painting techniques.

Course Description

Taking inspiration from the landscape and the nude figure, ground your painting practice, immerse yourself into the landscape and develop your painting approaches and skills.

You will be introduced to each other, the course and studio during the first evening session. You will also set up a working studio space that you will use as a base during your course.

The course begins on the first evening with an outdoor drawing exercise in the grounds of the college, prior to the first full day which will be spent with an unclothed life model out in a secluded woodland landscape on the West Dean estate. Through a series of tutor led exercises and demonstrations, you will record your surroundings, making observational and abstracted drawings in charcoal, as well as small watercolour paintings capturing light, tone and colour. Materials will change if it is raining.

The minibus will take us as close to the location as possible, but be prepared to walk outdoors in the landscape on uneven terrain, carrying portable equipment and media. Portable chairs and easels are provided by the college. Walks will be short, less than 200 metres.

A key feature running through the course is an emphasis on supporting you as an individual, therefore many of the optional exercises at the start will include drawing and painting techniques, including demonstrations enabling you to acquire a deep connection to both the subject and the materials.

Working from your initial concept drawings and paintings made on location, you will then rework your original artwork with a painting medium of your choice to create a final piece of work or series of paintings. These sessions will focus on composition, tone, rhythm and colour, and you will be supported by one-to-one tutorials and a final critique.

There will be a presentations by the tutor on the second evening of the course about her work and the processes she uses. You will also be inspired by artists, including Ivon Hitchens, Gillian Ayres, Ursula Leach and Eamon Colman.

At the end of the course, you can expect to have completed a series of sketchbook drawings, A3 watercolour paintings, field notes and photographs, A1 preparatory drawings and a set of completed paintings. You will also have developed a more personal approach to your painting.


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 provision of a life model for the duration of the course.

What students need to bring

  • Your preferred drawing and painting materials* including:
  • Materials for fieldwork
  • Prepared surfaces to paint onto, for example, canvases, wooden supports, stretched paper
  • Sketchbook/s landscape or square, charcoal, putty rubber, ink, fixative, masking tape
  • *Preferred paint mediums, including:
  • Watercolour paints, brushes and water pots plus a travel set if you have one
  • Oil paints, including studio safe solvents
  • Brushes appropriate to paint medium
  • A3 watercolour paper, A1 cartridge paper
  • Rags, scalpel, palette
  • Derwent water soluble graphite pencil and charcoal (optional)
  • Camera/iPad/phone
  • Folding seat or cushion (portable chairs are available to borrow from the College)
  • If you prefer to paint with egg tempera, bring fresh eggs and equipment to mix in.
  • Appropriate clothing for working outside

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A good selection of art materials are available to buy, including sketchbooks – landscape or square, A3 watercolour paper, A1 cartridge paper, canvases, boards, wood, paper, willow charcoal (various sizes), putty rubber, pencils
  • scalpels, palettes, watercolour pans tubes and sets, watercolour brushes, masking tape, fixative, oil paints, mediums and studio safe solvent, acrylic paints and mediums, gouache paint and Derwent water soluble graphite pencils and charcoal.

Additional information

Please note: If using oils, please use the less toxic mediums, brush cleaners and thinners. The shop sells studio safe solvent such as Zest it. White spirit is not permitted in the studio, but can be used outdoors. Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio. This includes stout covered footwear, i.e. no open-toes or sandals.


Melanie Rose

Subject Tutor - BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft
Subject Tutor - Online Foundation Diploma in Art and Design

Short Course Tutor

Dr Melanie Rose explores landscape and place through painting. Working with traditional materials, sympathetic to the environment, her current focus is the landscape set within the bounds of the South Downs National Park, which forms the heart of her PhD research. 


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.