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COVID-19 update

Please note: Due to recent lockdown regulations, David’s November, December & January Workshops have regrettably been postponed

Give The Paint A Chance…

‘Give the paint a chance. Give the brush a chance.’ John Marin

Many artists love the idea of moving away from traditional representational art and enjoying the freedom that abstraction offers; bold colour, expressive brushstrokes, novel forms and textures that excite the eye and stir the mind. But they also know that waving their hands around in the air and hoping for the best just doesn’t work!

Taking inspiration from the work of early Amercian abstractionist, John Marin, this one day course offers the adventurous watercolourist a route map to the creative freedom they’ve been seeking.

All comers are welcome but some experience with watercolour painting will be helpful.

Three Ways To Paint An Abstract

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, whatever their preferred genre. Throughout the day, David will demonstrate techniques and provide hands-on help and support.

All comers are welcome, although absolute beginners may find some concepts challenging.

No Brush Necessary?

“What’s painting? I’d use a hammer and a chisel if I had to.” Oskar Kokoschka (1886-1980)

Conventional watercolour wisdom has it that the best way to get paint onto paper is with a brush – and preferably, a nice expensive sable, at that! As a consequence, watercolour artists have been floundering over their flat washes, struggling with unwanted streaks and back-runs and despairing over their dull colours for centuries. In this one day course, we look at an alternative approach to landscape painting that will not only loosen us up, but give our paintings the atmosphere and authority we’ve always wanted, whilst by-passing all those traditional niggles. It may sound too good to be true, but with the business of getting paint onto paper resolved, we will be free to focus on those elements of picture-making for which there is no short-cut: colour, tone, proportion and composition.

This informal, one day workshop is suitable for all abilities (two dates available).

A New Point Of View (the work of Peter Lanyon)

‘I want to show what I know and what I feel. Not just what I see.’ Peter Lanyon (1918-1964)

Before it can be painted, the landscape must be experienced and that is why many innovative landscape artists are adventurers too, immersing themselves in different climates, geologies and cultures in order to discover new forms, a fresh palette or even a novel way of working. It’s why Towne climbed mountains in Switzerland, Turner lashed himself to a ship’s mast in a storm and Ravilious attempted a perilous journey to Iceland. That all-too-elusive masterpiece is always somewhere over the next horizon…

Seventy years ago, Peter Lanyon was regularly taking to the skies in his glider to gain a new perspective on his beloved Cornwall and then to combine its geology, history, people and myth in mixed media paintings of exhilarating complexity and originality.

Using Lanyon as our inspiration, this course seeks to challenge the conventional point-of -view of landscape painting in order to help us re-experience it in our own art, in watercolour, charcoal, graphite and gouache. This practical, one day course is ideal for anyone who wishes to get to grips with abstraction or paint more freely.

Another Dimension (the work of Ben Nicholson)

“I’m interested in locating the holy grail of the minimum means to express the most complex ideas.” Ben Nicholson (1894-1982)

From Caravaggio to Constable, one of the abiding preoccupations of Western Art has been the play of light and shade. To be able to conjure in oil or watercolour, a particular time of day, the glint in an eye, reflections on water or the shadows on a bowl of fruit has been a mark of the artist’s skill for centuries. In this practical, one day course, we look at another way of manipulating light and playing with shade to create works that change with the hours.

Influenced by Cubism and Constructivism, Ben Nicholson, a key figure in British art in the 1950’s, made shallow constructions or ‘low reliefs’ from wood and paint that incorporate into their composition, the play of natural light across the picture surface. In this practical, one day course, we will extend our own picture-making repertoire and find new ways to approach abstraction by creating our own low-reliefs in cardboard and acrylic paint. Suitable for all abilities.

Please note: in order to protect you and everyone who works at Dillington House, social distancing measures will be in place throughout the day and the wearing of facemasks or coverings is mandatory when moving about the site.


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


Give The Paint A Chance…
Tuesday 1 September 2020
09:45 – 16:00

Three Ways To Paint An Abstract
Friday 6 November 2020-POSTPONED
Tuesday 25 May 2021
09:45 – 16:00

No Brush Necessary?
Saturday 21 November 2020-POSTPONED
Thursday 3 December 2020-POSTPONED
09:45 – 16:00

A New Point Of View
Saturday 23 January 2021-POSTPONED
09:45 – 16:00

Another Dimension
Saturday 27 February 2021
09:45 – 16:00


Cost: £56:00 – £58:00 (includes refreshments and lunch)


More info and booking for these courses is available on the Dillington House website.

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