Drawing from the land: walking, being, imagining with Caroline Wendling

Ref: SSS31278

About this course

Imagine, observe, sense and record the land through drawing, immersed in West Dean's wider estate at Monkton Valley. Experiment with mark-making, materials, tools and ideas to produce drawings that will inspire and transform your work.

Course Description

‘To develop a sense of place requires that one knows the place intimately and reacts to it emotionally’ Yi-Fu Tuan, 1977

You will spend three full days in the wider West Dean estate, a short minibus drive from the college. Inspiration for developing artworks will be varied: the traces of the deserted medieval village, a beech wood, the Devil’s Jumps, the largest beech tree on the estate, views across the valley to the sea.

You will have a base at Monkton Lodge when on the wider estate, a simple rectangular building made of flint with a corregated iron roof with all the facilities necessary to give respite from the elements. It will be your base for drawing trips on foot into the beautiful landscape shaped by man since the Bronze Age.

Taking drawing as a starting point, together, you will try out different ways of connecting and recording the landscape. The tutor will help you to discover ways to express place-based experiences of the landscape through step-by-step drawing excercises. You will learn to work with unusual mediums and make your own inks and tools from materials gathered along the walks to create exciting outcomes. It might be that drawing will take you in a myriad of different directions. You will be encouraged to observe, think, focus and let go, guided by your tutor’s structured lessons and prompts. A guided session on drawing interventions in the landscape will stretch your artwork further. The course embraces ideas of ‘in situ’ expression.

You will be encouraged to use your sensory experience of the landscape and draw from memory and imagination. You will be given the opportunity to extend ideas of what drawing can be and discover where drawing can take you. Plenty of time will be allocated to develop your studio practice back in the studio at the college. You will be encouraged to develop ideas through further drawing exercises, leading to personal development, branching out into your chosen media. You will be encouraged to share your work in groups and individually with your tutor. There will be a sewing machine, an overhead projector, glass slabs and rollers for monoprinting (without a press) and ink making facilities available for you to use.

You will be inspired to consider the past, as well as the future, by being fully aware of the present. A visit to the Estate Boardroom with West Dean’s Collections Manager and Archivist will give you another reading of the land by sharing with you some of the early estate maps and aerial photographs. The archives will open up ideas for your own mapping of the land.

At the end of the course, you will have a new body of work with a sketchbook full of drawings and a series of developed pieces. You will have acquired lived experience of one of the most memorable places on West Dean’s estate. Inspired by silence, wilderness, seclusion and wildlife, focusing on time and observation, you will have learned to translate being on the land into drawings.

The course will include several short walks. You will need to be physically able to walk at a leisurely pace for approximately 1 to 2 miles at a time on uneven ground with very little equipment and a drink in a backpack.

Summer School highlights:

The Summer School week is an immersive learning experience with more time to develop your creativity and embrace opportunities for creative development beyond your chosen course. A detailed timetable for your Summer School week will be given to you on arrival. This will include:

• Short inspirational talks by tutors and displays of their work

• A short creative experience session in another discipline/media or course

• An optional evening at the Chichester Festival Theatre (if pre-booked)

• An optional lunchtime tour of West Dean Gardens, the historic rooms at West Dean College, or West Dean Tapestry Studio

• A celebration dinner on the last evening themed on Impressionism, celebrating the 150th anniversary of the first Impressionist exhibition held in Paris in 1874. Feel free to respond to the theme if you wish.

• Informal end-of-course group reviews and displays of students' work in studios

As evening events are planned as part of the Summer School week, dinner is included in the course fee to enable all students, including non-residents, to participate fully.


Timetable for Summer Schools

Several evening events are planned throughout the week, a detailed timetable for the summer schools will be given to you on arrival.

Arrival Day

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).

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 should vacate their rooms by 10am please.

Course Materials


  • On this course, the College will supply some of the basic materials such as black Indian ink, black water based relief ink, charcoal, graphite powder and a selection of papers available to share.

What students need to bring

  • Drawing equipment and materials you like to work with – on this course, students often need to replenish their materials or try out new ones from the shop. The list isn't definitive, it is about exploring and experimenting, taking inspiration from peers, artists, the walks and responding creatively and intuitively.
  • A camera or your phone camera
  • Very important – please bring a water container and a portable bag or backpack to carry your lunch, drawing media and sketchbook.
  • Walking shoes and adequate clothing for the weather
  • A sketchbook for the walks and work in situ up to A3 size (make sure it fits in your back pack)
  • Your favourite drawing materials
  • Water based materials, such as ink, water based pencils and a water based graphite stick
  • If you have watercolour paints, you might want to bring those too.
  • Good quality A1 cartridge drawing paper, minimum 160gsm and some A2 paper for ink based work
  • A medium sized Chinese brush and a selection of brushes

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A good variety of art materials, including a good selection of different papers and drawing media, sketchbooks, glue, inks, pencils, rubbers, sharpeners, graphite sticks, watercolour paints, brushes, etc.

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no sandals or open toes). The course will include several short walks. You will need to be physically able to walk at a leisurely pace for approximately 1 to 2 miles at a time on uneven ground with very little equipment and a drink in a backpack.


Caroline Wendling Tutor at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation

Caroline Wendling

Core Team Tutor - Foundation Diploma in Art and Design
Short Course Tutor

Caroline Wendling's work explores ideas of place and belonging through layered projects that draw on history and explore local myths, inviting re-imagings of sites. She takes her audience on a physical, sensory and emotional journey leaving them with a poetic encounter and a story to tell.


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.