Drawing in the garden – pattern and place with Rosie MacCurrach

Ref: SLW32010

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About this course

Explore a pattern-based interpretation of the gardens through drawing from observation. Consider pattern, rhythm and texture to represent a sense of place.

Course Description

The relationship between gardens and those that design and tend them is an on-going theme within British art. Gardens can represent the everyday but also act as a metaphor. It is a place where people and nature cross paths.

Explore a pattern-based interpretation of the Gardens at West Dean through drawing from observation. You will look at how patterns, rhythms and textures can represent a sense of place and atmosphere. Referencing artists such as Samuel Palmer, Vincent Van Gogh, David Hockney, Eric Ravilious, Henri Matisse, Eduard Vuillard, 17th C Indian paintings and others, you will be encouraged to experiment in finding your own visual language and way of making marks.

Each session will have a group introduction followed by individual support. There will be a strong focus on learning to look for patterns, textures and rhythms, identifying shapes, space and compositions. Drawing with pencils, charcoal and ink, you will explore different ways of interpreting your surroundings through experimental mark-making. You will also look at how you choose what to draw, pulling out of the scene the patterns and shapes that attract you. You will explore composition as the counterweight to pattern.

By the end of the course, you will have a series of short sketches and some more finished pieces. You will also begin to know how to identify what you are looking for in a drawing and what moves you about a specific place or landscape, and how composition and pattern play their part in this. You will have a range of marks to equip you to tackle any garden or landscape.

Throughout the course, there will be regular informal group reviews of your work with a focus on group discussion and learning from each other.

This is a subject (rather than technique) focused course, suitable for all levels of experience.


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


  • Some fixative to share amongst the group

What students need to bring

  • Pencils (softer ones are best) 2B-8B
  • 1 box of charcoal (range of widths)
  • 1 white chalk pastel
  • 1 bottle of Indian ink, at least 100ml
  • A2 pad of cartridge paper and a selection of different papers with interesting textures and colours
  • Brushes or ink brush pen
  • Rubber – hard rubber is better
  • Scalpel, pencil sharpener, bulldog clips
  • A plastic folder to carry your drawings/drawing board
  • Masking tape and rags
  • Any other materials you really love to work with
  • 4 jam jars with lids for water and ink of varying dilutions
  • Appropriate clothing for working outdoors (extra warmth for sitting, sunhats for shade if necessary)

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A good variety of art materials including pencils 2B-8B, charcoal, white chalk pastels, Indian ink, A2 pads of cartridge paper, papers with interesting textures and colours, a variety of brushes, ink brush pens, rubbers, scalpels, pencil sharpeners, bulldog clips, plastic folders and masking tape

Additional information

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


Rosie MacCurrach portrait

Rosie MacCurrach

Rosie MacCurrach is an artist and textile designer, living in Hampshire.  Studying at Chelsea College of Art in 2003 with a BA 1st in Textile Design, specialising in print, Rosie has since worked as a print designer,  artist and dyer in fashion, illustration, theatre, film and more recently interiors, working as designer, head of studio and director at Fermoie until 2021.  She spent a postgraduate year at the Royal Drawing School, and a year as Artist in Residence at Great Dixter House and Garden. She has been a visiting lecturer at Chelsea College of Art, and taught at The National Theatre, The Royal School of Drawing, Great Dixter House and Garden, and currently teaches at We are Wild and West Dean College alongside her own practice.


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

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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.