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One Day Courses at Dillington House in 2022 and 2023

“We all just wanted to say a big thank you for what was an outstanding day yesterday at Dillington.  
You opened our eyes and minds to so much and have inspired us.  We all agreed that if we’d had you as a teacher during our early formative years we could have looked at art so differently.  
As it is, you have had a profound effect on our later formative years and we are looking at art and feeling it differently already, thank you.”  G.G. (Dorset)

3 Into 2 Do Go!

For any artist who is intrigued by abstraction but isn’t sure how to go about it, this course offers a novel and stimulating approach to the genre, often employed by the great Cornish artist, Peter Lanyon who created sculptures purely for his own private use in order to push the boundaries of his mark-making. In this one day workshop, you will be inspired to create forms, colours and textures in your two dimensional work that you never thought possible by first working in three!

Won’t Draw, Can’t Paint!

Drawing isn’t a gift, granted to some but not others; it’s a skill that can be acquired by anyone with reasonable hand/eye co-ordination and a determination to improve. It’s also essential if you want to achieve the same fluency and ease in your work that is so admired in the paintings of the masters. In this one-day course, we look at the essential elements of drawing practise that will give your work the authority you desire the next time you pick up a paintbrush.

3 Ways To Paint an Abstract

“What does it mean, jellybean?… Even if I knew, I could only know what I thought it meant.” John Chamberlain (1927-2011) Abstract art may be over one hundred years old as a genre, but it can still baffle and provoke as much as it intrigues and excites. This one -day, practical course in acrylics demystifies the art form by looking at the fundamentals of all painting from an art historical perspective, before guiding participants through the creation of three very different abstract works. Suitable for all abilities and attitudes (from doubters to the plain curious), this course is for anyone who wishes to gain more confidence with their colours as well as their brushwork.

Master Watercolour in 3 Centuries

In this practical, one day course, we study three watercolours in the Tate archive (one from the eighteenth century, one from the nineteenth and one from the twentieth) that exemplify the three key principles of watercolour practise and to help you master the artist’s most accessible yet challenging medium.

Put the Right Colour in the Right Place

In this one-day, practical workshop, we will see that the same laws that govern realism in picture-making also govern abstraction. Even though the artist may have no discernible narrative to work with, pictorial elements that have been employed in the canon of Western art for half a millennium – form, colour and gesture – can be reconfigured to create compelling, authoritative contemporary art. This workshop focuses on abstraction but the day will be invaluable whatever your chosen genre and give you the confidence, as Klee said, “to improvise freely on the keyboard of colours.” All-comers welcome.

Give the Paint a Chance

Using examples, from the oeuvre of early American Abstract artist and watercolourist, John Marin, who exhorted artists to ‘Give the paint a chance’ and ‘Give the brush a chance,’ we will look at how we can take the lead from our materials, rather than the other way around and respond to what is happening on the paper in order to create free and colourful, watercolour abstracts. This course is suitable for all abilities and for anyone with an interest in abstraction.

Drawing Essentials

From Da Vinci and Durer to Gehry and Gormley, creativity begins with drawing. As children, when we pick up a crayon and draw, we discover a liberating and potent way to describe the world around us. Drawing is our first language with which we communicate our dreams, our loves and fears, but over the years, something happens to persuade most of us that it is no longer of any value and we cease to make room for it in our lives. In this one day course, we look at the key elements of drawing practise that will unlock your ability to depict the world around you and give you the confidence to embark on your own creative journey.

Blots on the Landscape

Have you ever wondered exactly how (and when) a seemingly random mark on a piece of paper becomes something we recognise? How do the sublime brushstrokes of JMW Turner or John Singer Sargent, for instance, change before our eyes from meaningless blobs of colour into clouds or trees; boats or even people? The humble blot was a source of inspiration to none less than Leonardo Da Vinci, to the writer, Victor Hugo and the psychologist, Hermann Rorschach, of course. But it was the artist, Alexander Cozens, ‘The Blotmaster-General to the Town,’ as he was known, who in 1785, codified a method for creating imaginative landscapes from blots. This practical, one day course explores Cozen’s method and seeks to encourage us all to be more alert to the magic that is happening under our very noses, whenever we put brush to paper.
PatD distant-dillington

Set in beautiful grounds with more than forty bedrooms, both old and new, Dillington House is a great place to extend your stay. Evening meals and breakfasts are first class, too.

Comments from Give The Paint A Chance (03/09/2020):

It was great to be back! Super course. Lovely lunch. Dillington really looked after us- as it usually does!

An excellent class, really enthralling and so well supported by the Dillington House staff. Lovely lunch!

A superb setting really well looked after. A challenging, but very enjoyable day. Thank you.

Delicious food, excellent teaching – new approach to art.

Excellent course with David as usual. Staff cared for us very well.

Really enjoyed the course, very informative and challenging for me. Excellent catering.

What a joy it was to meet up with David again who I met on a course for Art in Tuscany in fact I went twice. He is so inspirational devoted to his Art and inspires you to work hard. This particular course was very challenging, I learnt a lot. I shall do my best to join him again.


Dillington House
Somerset TA19 9DT

Dates for 2023:

Master Watercolour in 3 Centuries
Friday 13 January 2023
09:45 – 16:00

Put The right Colour in the Right Place
Tuesday 21 March 2023
Friday 21 July 2023
09:45 – 16:00

Give The Paint a Chance
Saturday 15 April 2023
Tuesday 29 August 2023

Drawing Essentials
Tuesday 9 May 2023

Blots on the Landscape
Tuesday 20 June 2023

Cost: £75:00 (includes refreshments and lunch)

For more info and to book any of these courses, please visit the Dillington House website.

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