Defining Practice Practical Course


This exciting year-long practical course is now well into its fifth year and the art school is currently accepting applications for the 2021 course which will again be run over six two-day sessions eight weeks apart starting in July 2021. The course will be offered in two ways for students to choose from either in person at the art school (see dates for Group A or B below) or exactly the same course content as an online course (see dates for Group C below) with materials sent to you in the post, with sessions delivered to the group online, one-to-one tutorials online and group crits online. Both versions of the course combine practical sessions on each of the weekend or Monday-Tuesday or Thursday-Friday sessions alongside one-to-one tuition and group tutorials. The course is aimed at those who wish to create a body of work over a year through which they might gain a stronger sense of their own artistic voice and the methods, media and processes that are most suited to their work.

By working with the tutors in a group dynamic, students can share discoveries, influences and connections from contemporary artists to historical references gaining inspiration from the artistic journeys of fellow students.

There will be the opportunity to cover multi-media practice including painting, printmaking, collage and photography among other media. However, it is not a foundation course; we use a variety of media to help people step outside of their familiar processes and commonly used materials so that they can learn lessons to be brought back into their painting or other existing practice.

Course Leader Faye Dobinson will be with you throughout the course with a wonderful array of visiting Tutors joining the course over the year. There will always be 2-3 experienced artist tutors on hand for the group of 12 students attending

A typical two-day session would include students bringing along recent works they have made between sessions or some source material from which they would make several fresh works from scratch during the session using different painting and drawing processes under the guidance of the tutors. The tuition would be one-to-one and also group demonstrations with specific guidance given to each student in the group. Every two-day session will include a one-to-one tutorial for each student through which they and the Tutor will devise a set of objectives to work with over the following eight weeks.


Please find below the main themes of our two-day sessions:

1. Experimental painting and Source Material

The theme for the first two-day session is a focus on how artists collate and refer to their drawings, photos, studies and inspirational material such as other artists work in their unique way. We will start by generating lots of different painted surfaces. We will make a wide range of remarkable books from the paintings we generate in the form of concertina landscape studies, 3D boxes, layered and windowed collaged blocks to double sided maps. Visiting artist - Anita Reynolds

2. Developing an Image

This session based largely around quite immediate and easily accessible mono-printing has proved to be a highly effective way to develop drawings, sketchbooks or photos into personalised images that can in turn help us to pare down our painting process. Rather than having to decide on all the elements of an image, the processes of print requires the artist to break them down into separate stages. This all opens up surprising ideas and techniques for your painting practice. Visiting artist - John Howard

3. Subject Matter

Here we are able to use photography to step out of our normal practice and think differently about a subject and the best way to express the atmosphere you want. This session reveals what emerges from how you choose to take images, your sensibilities and interests and how they are inherent in all one’s work, often without our full awareness. Describing the textures, palette, compositions, subjects, etc. that seem to distinguish each person’s response to a place. Visiting artist - James Hankey

4. Painting - Processes and Materials

In this dynamic and technical session we begin to clarify what images you want to make and the atmosphere and technique you wish to develop. From unprimed canvas to gessoed linen and from MDF to ply panels each surface brings about differing effects. We are seeking to find an appropriate approach that best evokes the subject matter for each artist.

5. The Portrait and Self-portrait

A colourful two days of tuition with diverse exercises in drawing and writing through to whatever media you wish, we will make an image of a sitting model. We want this image to reflect something of the person. Whether you are making landscapes or portraits, this varied application and manipulation of colour is what most distinguishes an artist.

6. Reflection

Joined by the invited artist we will all discuss your development and the right direction for each of you over the next year and onward. This may include applying to courses, galleries, open exhibitions, residencies, print workshops or studios.


With lots of materials to-hand provided by the art school there will be a continual flow of new types of painting, drawing and other media to explore and constant individual help to guide students with their work.

If you would like to chat to us about the course please get in touch via the contact details at the bottom of this page. 


Dates for 2021:

Defining Practice Group A (Thursday - Friday)

- Thursday 8th – Friday 9th July 2021

- Thursday 16th – Friday 17th September 2021

- Thursday 18th – Friday 19th November 2021

- Thursday 13th – Friday 14th January 2022

- Thursday 10th - Friday 11th March 2022

- Thursday 5th – Friday 6th May 2022


Defining Practice Group B (Saturday – Sunday)

- Saturday 10th – Sunday 11th July 2021

- Saturday 18th – Sunday 19th September 2021

- Saturday 20th – Sunday 21st November 2021

- Saturday 15th – Sunday 16th January 2022

- Saturday 12th - Sunday 13th March 2022

- Saturday 7th – Sunday 8th May 2022


Defining Practice Group C (Monday – Tuesday THIS GROUP IS ONLINE)

- Monday 12th – Tuesday 13th July 2021

- Monday 20th – Tuesday 21st September 2021

- Monday 22nd – Tuesday 23rd November 2021

- Monday 17th – Tuesday 18th January 2022

- Monday 14th - Tuesday 15th March 2022

- Monday 9th – Tuesday 10th May 2022


We would be interested to hear from anyone interested in applying for the next year by email - info (@)

To find out more about the course please ring the art school on 01736 365 557

In addition to the above Defining Practice course we have a Mentoring Programme held over six weekends in a year.

If you are interested in attending this course at Newlyn School of Art and would like to be kept informed of new dates for this workshop and similar new courses as they become available please let us know by clicking the "Keep me informed" button below.

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It was very refreshing to have tutorials with practising artists who have all been through similar experiences and are able to give honest appraisals of your work. I soon realised that the defining of my art practice will be an ongoing process, with this course as a fantastic kick-starter. This course provides an inspiring, encouraging and safe place in which to experiment and develop”.

Mike, Manchester
Registered Office: Newlyn School of Art, The Old Board School, Chywoone Hill, Newlyn, Cornwall TR18 5AW. Tel: 01736365557.
Company Number: 7621257. Registered in Cardiff in 2011.