Drawing Into Life – 6 Week Creative Course

3 February 2023 - 10 March 2023

Drawing into Life with Helen Garrett

Fridays 10am -12.45pm
3rd February -10th March 2022
Please note that all equipment and materials are included in the course fee.

Winter can be a deeply creative time. We notice luminous landscapes, animals scuttling into their shelters or out searching for food, tempestuous weather patterns, colours, and endless changing skies.

Art and the creative process of making connects us wonderfully to the current beneath the surface of our outer lives. As part of this February course, we will be drawing inspiration from Katherine May’s beautiful book ‘Wintering’ which invites us to embrace the many seasons of life we experience – drawing our attention to the natural world and its need for rest and recouperation, ebb and flow.

We will experiment with a range of materials from making our own paintbrushes to printing on Japanese paper, looking at artists such as Turner, Whistler, Frink (sculptures held in the Museum collection) and of Alfred Wallis whose paintings we can view up close on the Museum’s walls. Materials will include Chinese brush, acrylic ink, charcoal, and clay amongst others.

‘Drawing into Life’ runs as a series of six-week blocks. Many participants choose to continue throughout the year so there is always a sense of warmth and welcome within the group.


Week 1: Hidden Places and Letting go
Welcoming the ‘Wintering’ and coming to ground – embracing a different quality of ‘being’ during the winter months. Printing from clay. Impressions of leaves. The story of ‘Mole Music’ and hidden beauty beneath the surface.

Week 2: Paintbrushes from Nature
Making our own bamboo paint brushes – experimenting with mark making and Chinese ink on Japanese and textured papers – branches and leaves. Artist’s short film.

Week 3: Turner and The Elements
The elements played an important role in JWM Turner’s watercolours and landscape paintings – Earth, Water, Air, Fire, and a kind of Fusion of all combined. Turner studied the four elements as individual forces
but also explored their relationships as found in nature by creating works that combined these powers. We will work using acrylic inks onto fine watercolour paper.

Week 4: The Beauty of Shadows
We will work with Whistler’s ‘Nocturnes’ and look at some early photography. Embracing the beauty of both darkness and light – we will experiment with charcoal drawing and tonal studies. Possibly drawing from the Frink collection upstairs in the Museum.

Week 5: The Boat as a Symbol in Art
Taking some time to view the Alfred Wallis paintings of boats in the Museum collection we will explore the symbol of the boat for artists, using simple printmaking techniques onto Chinese /Japanese paper.

Week 6: Song
Many artists have used music to help attune themselves to painting and enhance their sensitivity to materials. Using the Chinese brush, we will explore mark making in relationship to sound responding with our brush to birdsong. What does a sound look like? Can we draw the shape or quality of a sound?

£175 per participant for the 6 weeks.

Christmas & New Year Opening Times 

Sat 24 December | CLOSED
Sun 25 December | CLOSED
Mon 26 December | CLOSED
Tues 27 Dec | OPEN, Bank Holiday hours
Wed 28 Dec | OPEN, normal hours
Thurs 29 Dec | OPEN, normal hours
Fri 30 Dec | OPEN, normal hours
Sat 31 Dec | OPEN – 9am to 3pm (early closing)
Sun 1 Jan 2023 | CLOSED
Mon 2 Jan | OPEN, Bank Holiday hours
Tues 3 Jan | OPEN, normal hours

  • Opening hours:

    Daily: 9.00am - 4.30pm
    Sunday: 10.00am - 4.00pm
    Bank Holidays: 10.00am - 4.00pm

  • Admissions:

    Annual Pass or Day Entry available

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  • Dorset Museum

    High West Street
    Dorchester DT1 1XA

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