Back in July our lucky New Fine Art Foundation Course students spent a week in residence at Dumfries House, a stately home built in East Ayrshire in the 1750s and now home to several projects that are intended to reinvigorate the surrounding area and create a lasting and creative legacy.
Our students were based in the Dimplex Studios and spent their days outside, painting the varied grounds surrounding the house. Many of them, mainly aged between 18 and 19 years old, were city folk through-and-through, having grown up in London and never painted outdoors before.
Undeterred by three days of incessant rain, and a certain amount of grappling with easels, anoraks and uncooperative paint tubes (not to mention the ghosts of Constable and Cézanne hanging uncomfortably overhead), the students persevered and despite having access to indoor studios on raining days, were soon to be found painting in the middle of fields, befriending cows, and underneath bridges, knee deep in rivers, in pursuit of the perfect picture.
The intensive drawing from observation they had done on the foundation course gave helped them enormously, and over the course of the week each student found a way to make a personal, unique response to the landscape. By the end of the residency, course leaders Gethin Evans and Sharon Beavan were so impressed by the students’ dedication that they described the painting trip as the most productive week of the entire year.
The Dimplex Studios
A bridge in the grounds
And a painting of the bridge, by Katherine Miller
Painting by Isabelle Cole
Paintings by Oscar Wollheim
Painting by Emily Radish
Painting by Alice Warrender
Painting by Rebecca Dropkin
Painting by Max Weaver-Lavers
Painting by Francesca Tiley
The woods opposite the studio
Paintings by James Du Val
Students and tutors discussing the day’s output
The paintings displayed inside the studio at the end of the week for a mini exhibition
And our lovely tutors, technician, programme co-ordinator, and students!
Photos by Katherine Miller and Clara Drummond