Art Courses

A New course planned for Marlborough College Summer School, 2023

Post Cards from A Sacred Place

Tutor: Caro Woods MA

This is a painting course with a difference.  It combines artistic expression with spiritual practices.  Learn how to open up new possibilities for how you might enhance your current creative endeavours by working more intuitively.  By focusing on all our senses (sound, touch, sight etc, as well as extra-sensory insights), we will be exploring innovative ways to connect with the landscape around us, using a variety of different methods and materials.  Above all, this course is designed to build your confidence to explore both creative and metaphysical questions about the natural world and the spaces we occupy, working within a playful and safe environment.  

Over the course of the week, you will be guided towards designing post-card sized images as a set of ‘Visual Mementos to Self’.   These will reflect key aspects of your personal experiences from 2 morning outings taken to chosen landscapes that lie within a few miles of the College.  As well as some walking and drawing, we will also acknowledge the healing power of spending time in nature.  This might also include a guided group meditation or some dowsing in these sacred sites or magical landscapes.  These outings will form the foundation of work developed back in the studio where you will be encouraged to look beyond the visible world and come to realise that imagination and spirituality are perfect partners. 

More details coming when the new courses for MCSS are listed later in the autumn.

Feedback from ‘Figuration to Abstraction’ 2022 at MCSS

Excellent: clear, creative and fun

Excellent: absorbing, giving much food for thought, very well put together, lovely tutor, inspirational


(The ‘Painting Panoramas‘ course scheduled for Marlborough College Summer School, in 2020 and then subsequently in 2021, were both cancelled due to the Coronavirus).

A NEW course for Marlborough College Summer School, 2022:

‘From Figuration to Abstraction’

Tutor: Caro Woods MA

Demystify the process of abstract painting.  If you are drawn to abstraction but aren’t sure where to begin, this course shows you a way to get started. In this new and exciting 5 day art experimental workshop, you will learn ways to move from observed, figurative mark making in front of a given subject, towards a more abstracted version of your subject matter.  Working collaboratively as well as individually, you will explore both considered and expressive approaches to a range of drawing, painting, mixed media and collage techniques.  For practice, you will be working not only from subjects in the grounds of Marlborough College but also from drawings made on a morning outing to the ancient site at nearby West Kennet Long Barrow.  All levels of ability welcome, from practicing artists to enthusiastic amateurs willing to give it a go.

MCSS Courses will be published in the Autumn if you wish to sign up. Check out the MCSS website. See below for more details about this course.

Caro Woods MA ‘Contemporary Visual Practice’, 2003, Falmouth College of Art.
Working with Earth pigments.

See below for:

  • Portfolio Surgeries.
  • Private Tutorials.
  • ‘Walk & Draw’ Course at Marlborough College Summer School, 2019. Walking / drawing exercises designed to encourage an intuitive and fluid expression of mark making, unhindered by individual expectations
  • Brentor: Drawing on Village Life‘, four week course in developing work in the studio from ‘walk & draw’ guided sessions around the village. 30th April – 21st May, 2019. (see course details below)

Portfolio Surgeries.

Caro is available for one-to-one art portfolio assessments. Suitable for students preparing for interview to attend art school or further education in art.

These intensive sessions usually take between one to two hours and can include a follow-up which is included in the price of the initial critique. Cost for individual Portfolio Surgery: £65. Please contact me below for further details or to make an appointment.

Private Tutorials.

Caro is qualified to teach up to Masters Level. In the past, she has undertaken residencies, including as a resident artist in Secondary Schools. Part of her community work has also involved running art courses for HM Prison inmates and curating public exhibitions of inmate’s work. She has also worked with vulnerable young adults from a variety of challenging backgrounds.

Caro is available for both private tutorials for individuals, as well as tuition for selected art groups. If you want to expand your practice into other exciting areas or try another medium, then I would be delighted to help you along your creative journey. Cost: Private Tutorials: £35 per hour (£60 for 2 hours). Group Tuition: £45 per hour (£85 for half day). Please don’t hesitate to contact me below with any queries you may have.

New Courses:

‘From Figuration to Abstraction’, 2022 at MCSS

Tutor: Caro Woods MA

Demystify the process of abstract painting.  In this new and exciting 5 day art experimental workshop, you will learn ways to move from observed, figurative mark making in front of a given subject, towards a more abstracted version of your subject matter.  Working collaboratively as well as individually, you will explore both considered and expressive approaches to a range of drawing, painting, mixed media and collage techniques.  For practice, you will be working not only from subjects in the grounds of Marlborough College but also from drawings made on a morning outing to the ancient site at nearby West Kennet Long Barrow.  All levels of ability welcome, from practicing artists to enthusiastic amateurs willing to give it a go.

Additional Course Notes:

For the Adventurous

Over the course of my art teaching career, I have been told so many times by aspiring artists that they would love to learn to paint their favourite subjects in an abstracted way.  Well here is your chance to do just that.   I believe there is never a substitute for the practice of figurative drawing as the foundation for art education.  And indeed, drawing from observation is the basis for this workshop.  However, this course is designed for those artists who want to expand their creativity and enjoy an experimental approach to their work.  You will be working both collaboratively with your fellow participants as well as individually to develop your own approach at various stages of the process.

Subject Matter: Still-Life and Landscape

For practical exercises to begin with, we will use a series of figurative, still-life set-ups based on living plants, both inside the classroom as well as outside in the extensive grounds of Marlborough College. In reality, any subject matter would be suitable, but the use of living plants as a focus for drawing from life, allows a certain degree of organic free flow to take place in your drawings.

Making Drawings in Nature

Working outside in the elements, such as wind and rain, doesn’t always allow us the luxury of time for a more considered approach.  This kind of spontaneity forces you to use your intuition and this rapid reaction to what you see creates the perfect fertile ground for happy accidents.  You will be using these ‘signature’ mark-making drawings as the foundations from which to further develop your ideas.

Outing to West Kennet Long Barrow

You will also be working from drawings made during a morning visit to the nearby West Kennet Long Barrow where you will be encouraged to make representational drawings and take notes that reflect how you feel about this special ancient site.  This visit will be an opportunity to work independently, experimenting with materials and putting into practice what you have learnt.  There will be adequate preparation and clear goals set for these outings.

The Paths to Abstraction

Back in the studio classroom, you will be guided through the process towards abstraction by exploring different ways to go about it.  Taking your drawings ‘from life’ (done in front of the subject), you will follow either a more considered, step by step ‘academic’ abstraction process such as drawing the same subject multiple times, becoming increasingly abstract with each drawing (like Picasso’s ‘Bull’ series), or a more gestural, intuitive mark-making approach as a response to ‘feelings’ about a subject.  It might even involve cutting up your drawings and rearranging the pieces in a new layout or making new images from small sections.  And in that process, learn to make important decisions about when to go with the flow and when to pause and reflect and make decisions about how far in the abstraction process you want to go.

You will also be encouraged to expand your repertoire of mark-making by using a variety of ‘found’ organic objects that can be used as implements to draw with.  This allows a certain amount of free-form, working with intuitive and inventive freedom as a response towards the natural world.  Different techniques, such as collage and mixing media, will also be explored.

The course will culminate in a (voluntary) public group show and final critique.

All levels of Ability Welcome

This course is suitable for all levels of ability and, in particular, ideally suited for participants who may want to move their practice forward.  Please also note, there is some walking involved which might not always be on level ground.

Materials and clothing

For the ‘drawing’ element of this course, a sketch book and some basic drawing materials, including ink, charcoal and pastels, will be provided.  You will also be encouraged to make your own drawing materials from found objects (see above).  Although there will also be a small quantity of additional paper available, students are also welcome to bring a favourite medium to work with, should they wish to further explore the qualities of that medium.

Please be prepared to wear suitable clothing and footwear for studio work as well as outdoor ‘adventuring’.    

Your Tutor

Caro Woods MA.  

The Art of Pilgrimage

The tutor, artist Caro Woods’ own work revolves around the practice and process of pilgrimage.  In 2015, she made a solo equine pilgrimage from Lindisfarne in Northumberland to St. Michael’s Mount in Cornwall, and in 2017, she rode her ‘white’ Connemara Pony to all the visible 9 White Horse Hill figures in Wiltshire and Uffington (including the Marlborough White Horse), this time with 3 friends and collaborators.  

This practical Summer School art course will include an introduction and tutor talk based on Caro’s own experience and asks the question: How might we express our inner journeys whilst undertaking the challenges of the outer, physical journeys?  

Your tutor is also in the habit of working alongside participants so that she experiences the same challenges that her students face and therefore more able to tackle any issues that might arise.



If you have any queries such as materials or clothing requirements, please don’t hesitate to contact the tutor. 

Feedback from 2019, ‘Walk & Draw’ Course, MCSS.

“Excellent: A stimulating and thoroughly enjoyable experience, with plenty of input and feedback from the tutor. The critiques she gave at the end of each session were particularly helpful. There were only 4 of us, which was wonderful, so Caro was able to give each of us plenty of individual attention and advice.”

“Good: I found Caro inspiring. We were only 4 participants so she was able to give us plenty of attention. She adapted to everyone’s needs. I especially enjoyed our walks and found it very challenging to draw in the allotted time – do a sketch in 3 minutes – a good exercise! Caro gave us the freedom to do what we really wanted to do, which was different for all 4 of us.”

Painting Panoramas, 2021

Tutor, Caro Woods, at Marlborough College Summer School, 2021

Expand your thinking outside the usual ‘landscape-shaped’ box. Learn to draw and paint in a panoramic format, using either extensive vistas, both near and far as your subject matter, or simply as a means to create an extended visual journal. You will learn how to make your own portable concertina sketchbooks and expand your repertoire of mark-making as we develop exciting ways to experiment with materials and investigate different ways of seeing the same subject. Perhaps even find a new focus for your art practice. The course will include an outing to the iconic White Horse at Uffington, situated high on the escarpment of the Berkshire Downs, with far reaching views across the Vale of the White Horse and beyond.

Check the MCSS website for more details

Marlborough College Summer School, 2019

New Residential Art Course No 41: Walk and Draw: Creating Visual Narratives. By artist, Caro Woods. 22nd July – 26th July, 2019.

‘This art course will sharpen your observation and drawing skills.  The tutor will guide you through the stages of transforming quick sketches and pertinent notes recorded whilst undertaking a short guided walk, into more complex art works based on your personal experience of the walk.  These walking / drawing exercises are designed to encourage you to use an intuitive and fluid expression of mark making, unhindered by individual expectations.  We will use the College grounds for preliminary exercises before embarking on an outing to Alton Barnes where we will undertake a ‘Walk and Draw’ to the White Horse hill cut figure.’

Course Notes, more information and contact details here.  

thumbnail sketch ideas for painting compositions, Caro Woods

‘What a wonderful idea and Caro Woods is an amazing artist, it would be a lovely thing to do.’ West Dartmoor Art Courses

What students said:

“Thank you for a wonderful week and lots of inspiring ideas”. Susie

“You have inspired me to undertake pilgrimages of my own, no matter how short! Thank you for a most enjoyable week”. Helen.

“Thank you! … for an inspiring, exciting and informative course”. David.

“Thanks for a 5-day long pilgrimage through brainstorming via looking and making marks, browsing landscapes and going through the creative process”. Yanne.

View of The Mound from the Rose Garden, by Caro Woods, 2 minute sketchbook drawing demo

New Courses for 2019 @ The Chapel, Brentor, Devon:

‘Brentor: Drawing on Village Life’, 30 April – 21 May, 2019

‘Tuscan Hill’, watercolour and pencil sketch on paper, Caro Woods

A new 4-week painting course, designed as a follow-on from my previous water colour painting course, (see below) or as a stand-alone course for all abilities: beginners, enthusiastic improvers as well as professional, practicing artists.

Over the course of four consecutive Tuesday mornings, we will be making small excursions from my studio in the heart of the small Dartmoor village of Brentor, into the village and it’s surroundings to make timed, ‘walk & draw’, sketch-book notes and drawings.

Subjects might include: clusters of village dwellings; a view of the moor from my field next to the studio; the village church of All Saints; the church’s pond garden; sheep and lambs or other livestock in the surrounding pastures; and a view of the famous Brent Tor and St. Michael’s church from the village. View points can be far reaching or focused on intimate subjects around us such as the flora and fauna.

We will explore different observational drawing techniques and work up ideas about perspective (including aerial perspective), colour and composition, afterwards in the studio using a medium of your choice – or even a mixture of different media, if desired!

Materials and Equipment required:

  • We won’t be venturing too far from the studio and the walking is on mainly level ground so just a sensible pair of shoes and outdoor clothing suitable for the weather conditions are required.
  • A small back-pack, portable basket or very deep pockets to carry sketching materials
  • Small-sized, (easily portable) sketch book and drawing materials. eg: pencils, charcoal stick, sketching pens, graphite stick, etc., eraser, pencil sharpener and bull-dog clip to hold pages down in a breeze! Boards and cartridge paper are available from the studio, if required.
  • Optional, portable stool or chair to sit on outside
  • For studio work: a painting medium of choice, brushes etc, and suitable ground to work on, eg: w/c paper, canvas, primed card etc.

Places are limited. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you need advice on any of the above.

Course Details:

Tutor: Caro Woods MA

Contact details: 01822 811026, or fill out the form below.

When? Tuesday: 30th April; 7th May; 14th May; 21st May, 2019.

What Time? 10 am – 1 pm.

Where? The Chapel, Brentor, Tavistock, PL19 0LU

How Much? £60

‘Winter Wooded Valley with Stream (Lamorna)’, water-soluble pencil on paper, Caro Woods

Learn to Paint in Water Colours!

A 4-week ‘taster’ course for enthusiastic amateurs and improvers. Learn to handle the special qualities of water colours: tone, colour mixing, textures and composition. Drawing materials and paper provided. Bring your own paints and brushes. Please contact me if you need advice on buying materials. Coffee, tea and cake available.

‘Landslip‘, watercolour and body colour on card, Caro Woods

@ Caro’s Studio: The Chapel, Brentor, Tavistock, Devon PL19 0LU. 01822 811026 Tuesday mornings, 10 am – 1 pm, beginning 26th February, 2019. £40 for the 4-week course (£10 per morning). Please contact Caro (below) for more details.