Poignant Poses and Portraiture

Rob Unett’s sell-out course is back for 2023!


Monday 24 – Friday 28 April 2023 


Rob Unett


Studio 20, 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

On this exciting portraiture course, Rob will guide a powerful expressive experience exploring the human figure through life drawing with models, experimental exercises, and techniques that he uses to create dynamic forms.

To represent a figure on a page, for something to appear and for this appearance to omit gesture and emotion, we must first assemble a visual vocabulary of techniques, methods and feelings to speak ‘human’ through. 

On this course you will intensely, rapidly, abstractly and prolifically draw and paint all things figure, shifting from minimal to maximal approaches to rethink bodily aesthetics. Compositional variety, scale, shape, material, colour and texture will aid in 2D physical representations – all created to sound, so as to visualise rhythm via pressure, tuning into one’s energy to find ‘a way’. We will be reacting to the real and the imagined; studying models, photos and assemblages.

Traditional tools and contemporary methods will push us even further, introducing editing and manipulation to our practice. Co-creation and collaboration to both review and create work will develop new approaches to figure painting.

Challenge is fundamental to opening our perspectives to a panorama of possibility. Be immersed and break rules to break free. If you are on a pause, thinking of alternative directions, this course will move you forward, opening your art to new outcomes. Whether newcomer, learner, hobbyist or professional, everyone is welcome under the proviso of committing yourself to the commission and being open to exploration.

All materials are provided. Please bring your own tools and equipment if you would like to, as well as an apron and old clothes.


“Thank you Rob Unett. I feel like I’ve just about recovered from youR course at Dartington. It was an amazing experience. Challenging, liberating and transformative. I already know it was one of the best decisions of my career. I was surrounded by kind, passionate and skilled people and a teacher I truly respect. I already feel the impact of this week in every decision I make for my practice and even in parts of my life outside of my practice.”

Extra information

On this course you will:

– Discover a new approach to drawing and painting the human form.
– Generate a wide range of personal examples to revisit and progress.
– Benefit from guided practice, mentoring with experience of a wide range of media.
– Enjoy free periods to play.

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


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


Rob Unett

Rob Unett

Artist, illustrator, & Creative Director.

I study and depict the clothed and nude figure.  After a long period of researching a subject I am ready to create. Before I begin painting I empty my mind, I feel nothing, and through marks on any surface, immediate and poignant thoughts become known; I react to these.Read More


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. An upgrade to a single room with en-suite bathroom is an additional £27.25 per night and a double room with en-suite bathroom is an additional £43.60 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 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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