About this course

Explore the spontaneous impression of capturing form, colour and light in painting using the landscape/gardens, the figure and still life as the aim of the Impressionist painters.

Course Description

In celebration of the first Impressionist Exhibition in 1874, and marking its 150-year anniversary, this Summer School course offers to explore Impressionism’s most significant influences and how it transformed art and painting, which has extended to the present day.

Through a range of exercises, inclusive of colour and media experimentation, the principal subjects of Impressionist painting, including landscape/garden, figure and still life will be considered and practised. The course will also analyse the inspirations and personalities of the collective group of artists who participated in this historical event, and the Summer School’s studio activities will be designed to achieve a range of outcomes which have, as their goal, the spontaneous impression of capturing form, colour and light.

The course will take advantage of the diverse and unique West Dean environments, including the House, Gardens and the South Downs.

There will be a trip to the races during Goodwood Festival where you will be in the Lennox enclosure, you will take a sketch book and pencilcase to capture the event as inspiration to work on back in the studio.

The course is inclusive; all abilities are welcome, as the range of practical painting activities are tailored for beginner and experienced artist alike.

Your tutor will lead through demonstration and task setting, principally working in oil colour and acrylic paint; both these mediums are compatible with the course objectives, and you are free to choose which you prefer to use. There will be the opportunity of working from the figure (model) on the course.

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.

Course Materials


  • The course will provide some oil paint and paper to get you started including cleaning solutions, etc. You will have a ready supply of cut and transportable wooden panels for working outdoors on location. The course covers the cost of a model and a day trip to the races at Goodwood.

What students need to bring

  • Comfortable footwear/ outdoor protective wear - both for hot/ sunny and wet conditions
  • Practical holdall/ bag for transporting painting media
  • An A4 or A3 Sketchbook/ pencil case and appropriate dress for the races at Goodwood in the Lennox enclosure (which is more relaxed attire)
  • A set of paint colours (37ml or equivalent minimum), either oil and/or acrylic (minimum 7 colours, inclusive of the three primary colours, such as Lemon Yellow, Cadmium Red, Cobalt Blue, and three ‘variant’ tertiary colours, such as Yellow Ochre, Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine Blue, and a secondary colour - most useful is a green such as Viridian or Emerald, etc.
  • Titanium White oil and/or acrylic
  • Set of oil/acrylic brushes (natural and/or natural fibre based)
  • A palette knife or two
  • For oil painting – a ‘fat’ painting medium, such as Liquin (gloss) or purified linseed oil
  • For oil painting - a low odour solvent medium, such as Zest it, Sansodor or Pure – Sol
  • For acrylic painting – a ‘fat’ painting medium, such as gloss polymer acrylic varnish
  • For acrylic painting – a suitable palette – could be disposable
  • *NOTE: Your course tutor will supply any oil artist with a suitable painting palette.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A good variety of art materials including sketchbooks, drawing materials, oil and acrylic paints, paintbrushes, palette knives, mediums such as Liquin, linseed oil, Zest it and Sansodor.

Additional information

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


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.

General Information


George Popesco: Self Portrait

George Popesco

Since completing his academic training at the Royal Academy Schools London, George has taught extensively in varied Art & Design education structures alongside developing his own work and exhibiting both in group and solo exhibitions. George lives and works in Dorset, specialising in Oil Colour medium exploiting its tactile wet in wet qualities to form the mediums expressive and sculptural qualities.


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.