The Principles of Landscape with David Sawyer


Summer Term 2024

Thursday Mornings – 6 weeks
6th June – 11th July 2024.

Join us for an exhilarating six-week journey into the art of landscape painting, led by the renowned plein aire artist David Sawyer. Using our studio as a base, this course will immerse you in the process of making landscape art, enriched by David’s extensive knowledge and deep enthusiasm.

Course Outline:

Week 1: The Kit

  • Dive into the world of plein aire painting with an introduction to essential materials.
  • Explore various easels, pochade boxes, brushes, and more.
  • Learn about color selection, palette layout, the importance of quality painting boards and canvases.
  • Understand the significance of priming, using a toned ground, and the properties of thinners, solvents, and mediums.
  • Begin your painting journey with guidance on starting a picture, planning design and composition.

Week 2: Painting Trees

  • Enhance your skills in composition and design.
  • Master tones and values through the 9 tone traditional value scale.
  • Simplify shapes using squinting techniques, and explore negative spaces, shapes, and edge creation.

Week 3: Buildings and Architecture

  • Tackle the challenges of perspective, vanishing points, and eye level determination.
  • Simplify complex structures and patterns, and master painting straight lines.
  • Learn to paint ‘contre jour’ or into the light

Week 4: Painting Skies

  • Explore atmospheric and aerial perspective.
  • Learn techniques for painting distances and creating space, 
  • Learn how to work quickly and how to paint moving subjects like sunrise and sunset.
  • Finding abstract shapes to underpin your work

Week 5: Reflections

  • Discover approaches and techniques for painting water and using reflections in composition.
  • Understand refractions and the mechanics of reflections.

Week 6: The Figure in the Landscape

  • Learn to paint realistic figures, capturing motion and movement.
  • Use eye levels for figure positioning and how to effectively use photo references.

Special Highlights:

  • David Sawyer will reference influential artists such as Richard Schmid, Bernard Dunstan, Trevor Chamberlain, and John F Carlson, providing a rich context to the course.
  • Enjoy personal insights and examples from David’s own painting adventures, from the picturesque scenes of Venice and Seville to the unexpected beauty of everyday locales.

This course is designed to offer both a solid foundation for beginners and new insights for seasoned painters. Embrace this opportunity to learn from one of the best, working from our well equipped studio with trips out as and when. Spaces are limited, so secure your spot today and embark on a journey that promises to transform the way you see and paint the world around you.

About David

David Sawyer has been working as a fine artist since he left Canterbury College of Art in the eighties. During that time he’s won many awards and gained plenty of attention. His work often includes architectural motifs which he renders seemingly effortlessly in his impressionistic style. More recently he has been teaching, and students appreciate his uncomplicated and direct method and the generous way in which he shares his knowledge. As a seasoned professional he knows every angle of painting and most importantly he knows where to expend his time and energy in order to get his image.

His teaching style is gentle and patient. For beginners he will set them clear tasks with a progressive step by step approach. For the more experienced artist he will allow you to get on and then when the direction is clear, discuss your work with you and support you in your objectives. It’s these quiet chats with an expert that can make all the difference.


What students say about David’s courses:

David is a terrific teacher, encouraging and very helpful.  I love the way that besides supporting the group in improving their work, he paints alongside them. I found it inspirational to watch his unique and wonderful skills and technique in action. When the weather is too bad to paint en plein air, he provides excellent material to paint from in the form of real-time videos of interesting scenes and the changing weather. ” Rosemary Clark

“David is an excellent teacher: sensitive, perceptive, detailed, always ready to comment on your personal methods and results rather than expecting you to adopt his way of seeing and painting.” John Knepler

The more I paint with David the more value I get from it. Sometimes I learn from watching him and sometimes he says one or two words which drop like pebbles of wisdom into my pool of ignorance, enlightening as they go.” Recent student “I would like to say how much I enjoyed painting with David. He is such a good teacher and shares his secrets very well. The zoom sessions worked very well, better than l thought. The camera over his shoulder gave such a clear view, at times better than the studio.” Fred Czulowski

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