Workshops and Retreats
When would you like to attend a workshop/retreat?
2017 Workshops & Retreats
There are currently no more 2017 workshops offered.
Thank you for your interest.
We are already booking workshops for 2018.
Please see below.
2018 Workshops & Retreats
Unearthing the Portrait
Saturday, April 7, 2018 – Friday, April 13, 2018
There are many approaches to portraiture – we can create a likeness, or a more expressive version of the character we are portraying. We can also go deeper – finding ways of connecting with the person that are not always representative but that say as much about ourselves as they do the person we are portraying. An unearthing of the artist as well as our model or reference.
During this workshop, we will be using the fundamentals of shadow and light, colour, composition and expression to unearth and excavate a more emotional and expressive response to the face and head. We will be going further than a skin-deep approach and finding joy and expression in drawing materials and paint to unearth what is inside of us – the unique artist.
Each day will begin with a look at various master artists who will inspire us to find new pathways to expression, interpretation and unearthing the portrait and the artist within.
We will be working from a life model, building up lots of studies, sketches and expressive works before going on to develop these initial responses into highly expressive interpretations in paint on canvas panels for the remainder of the workshop.
The focus will be on working and reworking your portrait over and over, editing down, even destroying what has gone before to get to the heart of what you are trying to convey as an artist.
Echoes of Land and Sea
Sunday, April 15, 2018 – Saturday, April 21, 2018
I have found a deep connection with the land and sea where I live and I believe each of us can find an affinity with our surroundings where-ever we may go. Since I started creating work inspired by my surroundings I have discovered a greater understanding of my place in the world and the way we are each a part of the landscape around us.
I find the edge between land and sea to be particularly inspiring and I am excited to be able to discover a connection with this magical border in a new-to-me place.
During this week, we will be exploring the landscapes in our sketchbooks focussing on colour and composition before working more intuitively on larger compositions in mixed media that portray our own unique response to the land and sea.
Each day will begin with a group gathering and a talk about how other artists have responded to their own chosen landscapes and echoed their surroundings in their work.
There are themes that resonate deeply – the way the weather has shaped the land, the ebb and flow of the tide, the wildness and unpredictability of nature or the mark of humanity on the landscape for good or bad. The colours and textures of a place can be a starting point for creating work that is truly a story of our own unique connection with our surroundings. One that can be explored in an intuitive way and echo our own unique nature as much as the nature and landscape that we see.
London/Northumberland, Great Britain
with Gillian Lee Smith and Judy Wise
May 22 – 31, 2018
This grand adventure with Gillian Lee Smith and Judy Wise starts off with a bang in London as we begin our adventure overlooking the city from the London Eye. We’ll visit the National Gallery, Tate Modern Museum, and enjoy a play before climbing aboard a train for our journey through the English countryside on our way to Gillian’s inspirational Northumberland.
There will be visits to castles, gardens, and the coast – so much to see and absorb on what promises to be a visually stimulating Art Escape.
We cannot wait to share this scenery and atmosphere with you as we explore the local area with sketchbooks and camera in hand and take our findings back to the studio space to create our own interpretations in mixed media on paper and canvas.
Whether you are new to landscapes or a seasoned painter, drawn to abstraction or inspired to create more representational works you are sure to find something to spark a personal and expressive response to this rugged and inspirational landscape.
Recent Workshops & Retreats
Highly Expressive Portraits in Acrylics and Mixed Media
Random Arts, Saluda, North Carolina
October 9-13, 2017
Thank you to all who joined us!
Highly Expressive Portraits in Oils
Random Arts, Saluda, North Carolina
October 2-6, 2017
Thank you to all who joined us!
What Students are Saying
“I just want to thank you for all the time and hard work you put into this course. You are a very gifted teacher and I am grateful that you are so willing and open to sharing your techniques and insights with your students. Because of you, I am not only becoming a better artist, I am becoming a HAPPIER, more expressive artist and that is more important than anything. Thank you!”
“I can’t say enough about this course. I think it was the most fulfilling course I’ve ever taken.“
“I feel this course is helping me to achieve full circle in my quest to find my true style. I am still working my way through all the insightful lessons and find myself re-visiting the videos, because every time I do I find something I did not grasp before. It has most definitely met my expectations and so much more…It does not spoon feed but rather encourages one to experiment and explore.“
“As a beginner, I’ve wondered how do you mix paints?…use pastels?…what papers? surfaces? pencils or charcoal? And how DOES one use the colour wheel? So many materials, methods, and all so confusing. Can’t someone please explain it all? Well, Gillian has. It’s all here, beautifully demonstrated in excellent video. Gillian is the most talented, generous, inspiring teacher. I’ve gone back over the lessons again and again, each time deriving more benefit and seeing improvement in my work. I’m so grateful for this extraordinary course.”
“Thank you so much for such an amazing course! When I try to describe it to friends I say that it is like an entire bachelor of fine arts curriculum in 6 weeks! That is what it seems like because it is so packed with information and exercises. I will be working on these lessons for many months to come. Thank you for your insights, generosity and gorgeous work.”
“I want to share my extremely wonderful experience of taking Gillian’s class Unearth Gather Create. As a returning painter with years of no active drawing or painting, this thorough, intense complete class of wonderful tutorials, content, tips and writing exercises revived my passion for art. I have done many drawings, paintings and sketches. I have redone a porch to use as a studio and I am working in my journals to ready myself for two new series of paintings. Please take this class and trust you will have a wonderful journey.”
“I have LOVED the class and will enjoy continuing my study as I slowly work my way through. You are not only a gifted artist, but a generous and kind person. I thank you for your giving spirit which shone through each and every video. I hope to someday take a class from you in person!”
“I have been taking classes for the last year or so pretty regularly. Gillian’s class is totally different. I feel like I am in art school! The first week was more info then a lot of month long classes. Gillian comments on every piece shown on the page and is there daily encouraging and prompting us. I would recommend it to everyone.”
“I have adored Gillian Cox’s work for several years now. When I found out she was teaching an online workshop, there was no hesitation. I signed up. Now I have taken many classes and not always, but sometimes my expectations are much higher than what the class actually is. Not so with Gillian. I just wanted to watch her work because her work is so deep and thought provoking and unbelievably beautiful. She is an excellent teacher. She is talking as she is creating and able to really explain what she is doing in such exquisite detail.”
“She teaches the foundation of drawing the portrait which is so important to all levels, for beginners to learn and for more experienced artist to revisit. She then demonstrates expressively her creations which gives the students the ability to take from foundational work into a more expressive and personal direction. Absolutely the best class I have ever taken.”
“Gillian is an amazing artist and an equally amazing teacher. What a comprehensive, professional, creative, responsive, beautiful presentation with superb videos and art instruction, gorgeous images and written materials to enhance learning, and creative inspiration to enable students to unearth their own inner vision for their art. Every day I come to the online classroom with so much renewed passion for art. And proof that the best teachers are also always learning themselves, Gillian frequently asks if we have any feedback for her as an instructor. The environment she has created is supportive and welcoming of everyone at every stage in their own creative exploration. This is so much more than an online art course. It is art school with a group of friends that includes the brilliant, generous instructor.”
“Unearth Gather Create has been a revelation, delivering so much more than I’d hoped for (and my hopes were high to begin with)! Rich in content, it will provide food for thought and creativity for months (and probably years) to come. Gillian is a natural tutor – patient, generous, and always encouraging, her passion for art is infectious. I quickly forgot this was an e-course, as it feels like she’s explaining everything to me in the same room! Can’t recommend it highly enough.”
“So delighted I signed up for your course, Unearth Gather Create. I really did not know what to expect and have been so impressed with your approach as a tutor, the course content and your ability to connect with your ‘students’. Watching you model a technique, listening to the clarity of your explanations and receiving your constructive feedback is allowing me to develop important understanding and knowledge while inviting me to find my own voice. I am excited by the way in which you are allowing me to think, to see and to connect with Art. I would recommend your course without reservation and wish you every success in the future.”
“I would recommend your course without reservation and wish you every success in the future.”
“I was in art school as of last year and everything I learn from you is just as valuable if not more than art school. What you are teaching and how you teach is one of the greatest gifts to give someone who has never been to art school and/or can’t afford it. It’s my dream to create an online school teaching art to kids and adults because of those reasons I mentioned. So I admire you and you have been an inspiration.“
“Wonderful content, superb teacher, fine art instruction without any the worry of my skill level, but thorough & comprehensive…Artfully & Thoughtfully Done!“
“Watching you paint and draw is immensely useful. I learn so much. And I love the way you write about artistic expression.“
“I love everything about her style – her teaching – just everything!!!!!“
“I was highly impressed by the amount of content in the course, it was like a college semester worth of information!”
“Drawn to Expression is great and strong in all strands! Structure, presentation, practical videos, inspirational quotes, incredible content and words from an Artist/Tutor who is passionate to share her knowledge and expertise with her students. For me, each strand enriches my own journey.”
“Your videos demonstrate a technique and how you use it, how to express with the mediums/technique. Then the assignments dovetail in such a way that everyone experiments and produces something different…different expressions. This is not a paint by numbers course.”
“Gillian, the class I took from you, Drawn to Expression, was absolutely incredible. My art has grown, deepened, and loosened in such positive ways, by what I have learned from you. A totally exceptional class!”
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