1. Monday 7th to Thursday 10th October 2019

Gestural watercolour mark-making

Working from Dales landscapes, the River Derwent Valley, and the river bank itself in good weather, you’ll soon be translating drawings of the surrounding landscape into energetic and expressive planes of transparent watercolour and glowing colour. Explore the paradox of letting rip while gaining control of watercolour with Ella’s unique insights into handling the medium, and loosening up while finding your own mark-making rhythm in gestural paintwork. We’ll be inspired by artists such as Ivon Hitchens, Peter Lanyon, and Joan Mitchell.

2. Monday 14th to Thursday 17th October 2019

Finding the abstract: colour, pattern and collage

Working in watercolour and compatible mixed media, experiment with different degrees of the abstract to find what works best for you on the continuum between realism (the figurative) and pure abstraction (no recognisable subject matter). You’ll be looking at examples from artists including J.M.W. Turner, Keith Vaughan, Richard Diebenkorn, and Elsworth Kelly for ideas about finding abstract shape, pattern, colour and composition. And guided exercises will help you find the abstract within the architecture of Darley House and the built and natural environment around us. 

Bookings are initially made with a £200 deposit for a room (whether single or shared occupancy), or £150 deposit for a non-residential place. Full details of rates (only small changes from 2018) coming soon when bookings open.

 Darley House, glimpsed through the October garden

Darley House, glimpsed through the October garden

What to expect on one of our Derbyshire art retreats

  • Rich and varied subject matter: historic gardens, the River Derwent nearby, the Derbyshire Dales landscape, and the light and space of elegant Georgian architecture, inside and out.

  • Being able to paint freely every day without the usual distractions, to produce a body of work.

  • Ella's warm and generous professional tuition, and feedback specific to your aims and experience.

  • All materials and equipment are provided.

  • A mix of formal teaching, structured exercises, examples from modern and contemporary artists, and your own experimental and independent work.

  • A spacious and elegant private Georgian house, lovingly restored.

  • Master Chef foodie experiences at mealtimes.

Our venue, Darley House in Darley Dale, near Matlock

  • Our venue, Darley House in Darley Dale, between Chatsworth and  Matlock, was recently restored to contemporary standards of warmth and WiFi alongside many original Georgian features. 

  • Each retreat runs from Monday lunch to Thursday afternoon.

  • Delicious food is provided by our dedicated professional chef.

  • Residential places are full-board, with a choice of single/double occupancy of ensuite or standard rooms. Several non-residential painting places are also available, with the option to eat dinner with everyone in the house.

  • In the mid-19C, the house was owned by Sir Joseph Paxton, Garden Manager and personal assistant to the Duke of Devonshire at nearby Chatsworth. The gardens at Darley House still contain some of his plantings and landscaping.