Oxford Summer School

Building Up the Surface - From Sketchbook to Finished Piece

Thursday 8th August 2024 for 2 days — Cost: £120

Tutor: Polly Woolstone

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Part 2 of 2

Using the same techniques as the concertina sketchbook day, you will use previous sketches to develop a finished piece (or two), looking at composition, colour, tone and line. The finished pieces can be in a textile or painted form.

We will look at how to select and move towards abstraction through collage, mark-making building up the surface and taking away.

Artists to look at:

David Tress, John Piper and Karen Stamper.

Preparation work:

You will need to have some previously done sketches around a theme. Eg from a location such as a landscape or townscape close to you or where you have visited, a garden, seascapes, etc.


You will be working from a subject of your choice and will need to have a body of research. This should be in the form of Your own sketches and photographs. Ideally you will have been working in a sketchbook gathering information through drawing, mark-making etc. you should look at details and closeups as well as wider horizons

Suggested Subjects:

  • Landscape / seascapes, beaches and cliffs, stone walls
  • Townscapes and buildings – arches, doorways, windows, rooftops
  • Allotments and gardens
  • Harbours / rivers and boats

If possible collect:

  • A bag of collage paper – old magazines, not pictures, but big areas of colour or large lettering
  • Things to take rubbings from ie corrugated card, textured wall paper
  • Anything for mark-making such as small twigs, cocktail sticks
  • If you have a Gelli Plate, please bring

In addition you will need;

  • Panel, board, fabric or heavy duty paper (such as Fabiano) to work onto (I will have some paper available to purchase)
  • Drawing board, if possible adjustable tabletop or free standing easel
  • Plastic sheeting/ bin bag to cover the tables
  • Apron or old shirt and latex gloves, if you want to keep your hands clean
  • J-Cloths, paper towels, wipes etc.
  • Scissors for paper / fabric
  • Range of brushes / water pot / palette
  • Drawing equipment – graphite pencil, felt pens (water soluble or permanent), rubber
  • Spray bottle (if you have one)
  • Crayons, wax crayons or craypas
  • Black ink (Indian/Quink)
  • Masking tape
  • Any inks or dyes (I like Koh-in-Noir but try to get the dyes rather than the watercolours)
  • Any acrylic paints that you already have
  • Assortment of sponges, brushes

Don’t go to any expense as I will also bring some of the above to fill in the gaps.

Material Cost

£5 per person