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Monday 24th July 2023 - Friday 28th July 2023

5 Day course

9:30am - 4:30pm each day

All materials and a daily light lunch provided


Painting the Presence of the Sea with Alison Johnston. A week of personal investigation into the subject of the sea.


More than recording the physical attributes of the location we will be developing awareness of the 'sense' of place. By working with intuition, adding marks, subtracting marks and experimenting we begin to understand our materials, finding personal ways of painting that connects to the experience.


Sketches of the surrounding beaches will be made over the first part of the workshop. Back in the studio we will develop our drawings and reflect on the themes we explored, initially with a limited pallet. By experimentation with a range of materials including oil, pigments, encaustic, acrylic, charcoal, sand, and sea salt will help students find their own visual language to create a final painting.


We will take encouragement from the writings of Kathleen Jamie, and the work of Frances Walker, John Virtue, Léon Spilliaert, and Leon Kossoff.


About Alison Johnston


Born in Dumfries, Scotland, Alison studied at Edinburgh College of Art under Elizabeth Blackadder, Sir Robin Philipson and Harry More Gordon. Following graduation her career flourished in illustration and animation for Oscar nominated “Fireman Sam” and “AArdman Animations”.


A continuous thread in my work has been the compulsion to explore time. The passage of time can only be perceived by changes. My background in animation compelled me to explore changing images with precision, and this process has developed my inner capacity of observation of nature in the act of creating my work.  What we experience is affected by the moment before and the moment after. My starting point is a place and my relationship to that place, building up layers of attachment over time.


I am often inspired to repeatedly visit the same subject and find this deepens my awareness,  Whilst observing the place subconscious responses will also come into play.  It is not just what you see but how  you see it. Time unfolds along different timelines both physical and dynamic - the ticking of the clock, the tide filling the rockpools, and the knowledge of the place.

Alison has exhibited widely throughout the UK.  Her commissions include Dire Straits, Peter Gabriel and the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Alison Johnston graduated from Edinburgh College of Art with a BA (Hons) in 1983. She was artist in residence for National Trust for Scotland in Fyvie Castle 2001 and has received several awards including Creative Scotland Award, The Eaton Fund,The Helen A Rose Award and Andrew Grant Bequest.


5-Day: Painting the Presence of the Sea

  • PLEASE NOTE: All of our workshops require a minimum number of participants for them to run. Workshops may need to be canceled or postponed if numbers are not met.

    We fully understand the current financial climate and will be happy to discuss a payment plan for our 5-day workshops that will suit you. Contact for more information.

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