Dark River Rising

A contemporary painting course on the banks of the Dart


Monday 30 October – Friday 3 November 2023 


Anthony Garratt


Dartington Trust, South Devon


Unless otherwise stated, our Short Courses are for adults 18+ years


Includes all lunches, suppers, field trips, materials and all teaching from supper on the day of your arrival through until the lunchtime before your departure.


(Or secure your place with a £150 deposit)


All the perks included in your course fee, PLUS breakfast and accommodation from the day your course starts to check-out on the morning of the day the course ends. (More info about accommodation can be found below.)


(Or secure your place with a £150 deposit)

About this course

This fabulous five-day course aims to encourage participants to experiment in a creative way in contemporary landscape painting. 

Learn how to bring depth, mood and emotion into the scene using experimental painting techniques; play with colour and character in your work and discover your mark within the landscape under the tutorage of renowned artist Anthony Garratt. 

Make sketches and studies of the river’s reed beds, its colours, lights and shade and depths on this exploratory hands-on course, which combines outdoor and studio practice with exciting creative techniques with found materials and local pigments. 

With practical advice and tutorials on styling and composing your paintings, if you’ve ever struggled with light and shadow, or wondered how to capture the slow, low shadows of winter, this is the course for you.  It will include daily technical demonstrations and lots of one-to-one and group tuition.

on this course you will

  • Be encouraged to explore and make use of the grounds and surrounding landscape and of course the River Dart.
  • Learn how to use your materials and equipment to evoke the qualities of space, light, structure, mass, movement and direction – qualities shared by both landscape and painting.
  • Make works that are evocative, pictorial equivalents for the subject rather than just a depiction of it – works where the content is found in the act of painting.
  • Work from your own sketches to find simple fundamental visual qualities and dramatic compositional structures. 
  • Produce a range of experimental studies on paper and prepared board.
  • Gain confidence in exploring the notion of equivalence between painting and subject, and the role of process as a powerful pictorial element.
  • Become increasingly comfortable in making personal critical judgements and taking control of the direction of your painting. 

what participants said about this course

Excellent Tutor/facilitator, the stunning beauty of the surrounding, the freedom to create and learn alongside others sharing the same passion.

Very immersive course, living and eating on site, Anthony was excellent. The course participants were very nice too and I learned a lot from them, too. The actual river was very beautiful and I’ve got a lot of source material.

(I learnt that) art and creativity grow from the freedom to explore without boundaries.

(I came away with) many painting techniques, ideas about how to approach a subject, how to ‘mix’ media and materials.

typical schedule for short courses

  • Check-in to the room is between 3-3.45pm on the day of arrival. Check-out is 11am on the day of departure, although if travelling by public transport, luggage can be left at the Welcome Centre until the course has completed.
  • Teaching generally begins at 4pm on the first day and ends at 2pm Fridays or 4pm Sunday (whichever is the last day of the course).
  • The daily timetable can start at 9.30am and end around 9.15pm, with free time available at set times throughout the day.
  • For residential participants breakfast is included, followed by a morning gathering and community work groups on weekdays, which are open to all participants and the college community. Non-residential participants can pay extra if they wish to have breakfast on one or more of the days.
  • Lunch for all participants is between 1-2pm and supper is 6.30-7.30pm (both meals are included in the residential and non-residential course fee).

If you have any questions about your course schedule please contact shortcourses@dartington.org

what to bring

Dress for the weather
We recommend strong walking/waterproof footwear
All materials provided


Anthony Garratt

Anthony Garratt

Anthony Garratt was born in Sevenoaks, lives in Bristol and studied at Falmouth College of Arts. He is predominantly a painter of the landscape; his work concerned with the weather, an experience and the impact of a landscape.

Read More


Our courses are part of the wider Learning programme at Dartington, and you will join a community of students on site studying at Schumacher College and Dartington Arts School as well as other short course participants, volunteers and visitors.

While you are here we invite you to take part in our learning community life by attending morning meetings, taking part in activities such as meal preparation and clearing, and evening social events. This is entirely voluntary, but participants tell us that taking part adds to their experience at Dartington.

short course community lunch


We recommend that if possible, you stay on-site during your course. All our courses are best experienced holistically: through studying, relaxing, eating and staying with other course participants, volunteers, staff and tutors.

When you book your course with accommodation this includes one of our hostel-style single rooms with shared facilities and easy access to your main learning space. They are the perfect base to rest your head, relax and recharge. You can find out more about the rooms here.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included throughout the duration of the course, each made with fresh, locally-sourced produce by our award-winning team.

Accommodation is available at a discounted rate for course attendees, and on a first come, first served basis only. Choose this option by selecting ‘Course Fee Plus Accommodation’ at checkout.

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optional: upgrade to a courtyard room

It is also possible, subject to availability, to upgrade your accommodation to a single or double en-suite bedroom in our beautiful and historic courtyard. Upgrade pricing is as follows:

For courses starting before 1/9/2023

  • Single room with en-suite bathroom: additional £27.25 per night
  • Double room with en-suite bathroom is an additional £43.60 per night

For courses starting on or after 1/9/2023

  • Single room with en-suite bathroom: additional £31.07 per night
  • Double room with en-suite bathroom is an additional £49.70 per night

If you would like to upgrade, please first book with residential option included, and then contact our Guest Services team on 01803 847150 or email guestservices@dartingtonhall.com to check availability. Our Guest Services department is open daily, 8am–8pm.

Should you decide to upgrade to our en-suite accommodation, please be aware that this is 20 min walk, or 3 min drive, to the Old Postern site, where some of our courses are held. There is car parking available near to all venues on the estate.


You may like to stay on our beautiful and relaxing campsite, amidst the stunning rolling hills and ancient woodlands of Dartington. Find out more about the campsite here.

Should you decide to stay on the campsite, please be aware that this is 10 min walk, to either Schumacher College or Dartington Hall, where our courses are held. There is car parking available near to all venues on the estate.

Book now

Begin your online booking below. You will receive an e-ticket for this event. You are welcome to email us at shortcourses@dartington.org or call us at 01803 847008 with any queries you have. Full Short Course T&Cs can be found here >

If you place a deposit, you will be contacted by us four weeks before the course start date to pay the outstanding balance. You will also be contacted with full details about the course before you arrive.

Please note that in most cases bookings for all our Short Courses close at midday on the Thursday before the course begins. This enables us to give you the best possible course experience and ensures all bookers receive the relevant course materials before they arrive.

Offer: Special rate for Dartington Members

Dartington Members will receive a 10% discount, applied when they log in during the checkout process. For more information about Membership, click here (opens in new tab).

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