A Day by the River Test

Wednesday was surprisingly busy for a contemplative sort of day. The aim of the course was  to capture the day, the moment,  and the experience of the senses and the river. Wonderful, imaginative work was produced. Delicious lunch. No rain.

The time was filled with strimming, mowing, humming, rubbing, sticking, reading, mapping, drawing, drawing, drawing, painting, thinking and writing. There are so many different aspects to capture, so much information to gather and the dilemma of ‘what do I want to say?’ and ‘how do I say it?”.


from “River Barrow”, by Ted Hughes

  Trees inverted

Even in this sliding place are perfect.

All evil suspended. Flies

Teem over my hands, twanging their codes

In and out of my ear's beam. Future, past,

Reading each other in the water mirror

Barely tremble the thick nerve.

Heavy belly

Of river, solid mystery

With a living vein.

There were vital moments to pause, contemplate and drink coffee (delicious cakes at Riverside Yurt Cafe too).


There is a further day at The Riverside Yurt Cafe on 6th July, discovering their lavender field. The morning will be spent painting and drawing and trying lavender jams with cream tea at coffee time – I’m sure coffee will be allowed. To find out more try this link

Lavender Workshop

A river is a slow experience


22nd June, 2016

It is so easy to jump out of a car, to snap a photo with a smart phone and feel we have caught something. A river is a slow experience. Spend a day capturing the moment and a sense of time, place and spirit of the river.

In the beautiful setting of the Riverside Yurt, near Barton Stacey on the Test, you will look at different ways to record being by the river. In this workshop you will look at how to capture a sense of place, season, and the sounds and flora that go with it. We will consider how maps, poetry, music and sounds are able to inform your work. Possibly Pinterest meets the Test?


Using a mixed media approach you will explore the environment, gathering information. You will be drawing things of interest, recording the rhythms, textures and colours of the river, and bringing them together to form a final piece.

This will involve a mix of skills including different drawing methods, frottage, collage and colour work.

This will be more than a quick snapshot, but a reflection of your day.


We will provide drawing boards, paper, some mixed media materials, chairs and tables. You should bring scissors, Pritt stick, a graphite stick/pastel, drawing pencils, and as varied a collection of ‘art gear’ as you can think of carrying, and think could possibly be useful (think holiday packing – too many tee shirts, but you never know what you might you need) This is not helpful but don’t worry; bring what you can, and a certain invention will fill the gaps. A good online store to try is Cass Art.
Cass Art


This workshop would be appropriate for all abilities.

22nd June, 2016


£77/day, including lunch and coffee



A morning drawing by the Test

BBC weather promised a dry morning. This was not the case but our intrepid artists did not let this hold them back. There were brief moments of hiding under trees, but in general most work was done on the riverbank.  Well done everyone.

The morning was about drawing, different methods and different media.

A variety of different materials were tried, many for the first time. Graphite, carbon,ink, BBQ charcoal, propelling pencils and anything else we could lay our hands on was given a go. Some pictures used raindrops as interesting marks. Pens were whittled from twigs collected from the area outside the yurt. Baby wipes were used as an artistic implement, possibly for the first time EVER.

All the work produced made good use of the beautiful setting with studies of various flora and fauna.

The retreat to coffee and delicious cake in the warmth of the yurt was welcome as the heavens opened.

Next week on Wednesday 22nd June we have a full day of river study with a delicious lunch included. For more information have a look at River

Toby the spaniel loved the whole thing…he’s in there somewhereIMG_0075



Drawing by the River Test – Rhythm, ebb and flow

A morning by the river

15th June, 2016, 9.30am – 12.45pm

£35/ morning.

What could be more lovely than to sit by a river and draw? And what could be more frustrating?

Learn through experiments and new techniques, how to approach a river drawing and overcome these frustrations.

The beautiful chalk stream that runs through the villages of Barton Stacey and Newton Stacey is the Test. Its glories inspire fishermen and artists alike. The Riverside Yurt Café is in a meadow, by the river and will be our base for a morning drawing workshop.

IMG_0018Spend a morning by the river exploring different drawing techniques. You will be looking at Van Gogh’s mark making and experimenting with marks of your own. Working in charcoal, pencil, pen and ink and graphite you will try to capture something of the magic of the river and its environment. For more information have a look under ‘courses’ or click this link Drawing By the River

This workshop is appropriate for all standards.

£35/ morning. To include regular tea and coffee.

The café serves delicious cakes to tempt you if you wish to purchase them on the day