Landscape painting - plein air

The focus of this course is to get painters to work from direct observation out in the open countryside around the mill, much like John constable in his early days (one of his paintings shows Polstead church, only a few miles away).

This practical course is for those who already have some oil painting experience and want to paint outside in a wild and beautiful setting. Painting landscapes en plein air has a distinguished history but, with many painters today relying on photography, the craft of the landscape painter is being lost.

Working in the grounds of the mill and the surrounding private nature reserve, we will focus on producing a series of completed oil paintings by direct observation.

Some of my favourite contemporary artists for you to look out for:  Richard Pikesely, Peter Brown, Ken Howard, Tom Coates, Jane Corsellis, Mary Jackson, Fred Ccuming, Roos Schuring, the Plain Air Brotherhood artists.  Books by Bernard Dunstan.

The Location

Situated in one of Suffolk's beautiful 'hidden valleys' above the Stour Valley, this area has inspired many great artists including John Constable, Thomas Gainsborough, Alfred Munnings and John Nash. Assington Mill, which was once owned by a relative of John Constable, and the surrounding private nature reserve will provide our subjects for the day.

The current mill buildings date back to the 17th century and a mill was listed here in the Domesday Book.

For those nervous of working in public, the secluded location is ideal.

Topics covered

Equipment and materials, setting up outside, working methods and techniques, short cuts, finishing paintings on location, getting your wet oil paintings home again.

Hours: 10 am- 5 pm with the option to continue painting after the course has finished.

If you have any questions beforehand, contact Roy via his website


Comment from past students:

On behalf of Mark F, he enjoyed the day very much.  Roy was very helpful and the knowledge he passed on was valuable.  Apparently the lunch was marvellous and he loved the cat.

Thank you for a fantastic day painting with Roy Connelly at Mill Farm. It was a wonderful learning experience and has given me great confidence for future works of art!  Thank you also to our hosts for making us welcome and looking after us so well and also for the delicious lunch shared in the farm kitchen.  Mary P.

Good day at Assington, lots of painting help and advice from Roy, tips and useful information. Thank you for the lovely lunch.  Sarah  J.

Picking up some technical tips was also very useful.  The farm has many good corners for painting.  I might come back!  Lunch was good, as always, People were nice, although on a course like this you do not interact that much.  I cannot think of anything that could have been improved.  If Roy thinks of doing any more days, I will come!  Mary W.

“Please could you thank Roy for all his kind encouragement and tutelage. I learnt so much in a day and he has really opened up a whole new world of painting for me”. Bella B

“I loved the course.  Painting outside is always daunting, but so good!  Roy is an excellent teacher and I learned much”.  Mary W

Thanks for hosting such a great course - and arranging the wonderful weather! I thought the website was informative and easy to use and the booking straightforward. The directions were good and the welcome was very warm. It really felt was though I was a visitor to your home - which indeed I was at lunch which was delicious. Lovely to meet Bob too I thought Roy was a good tutor. He made a point at the outset of finding out everyone's experience and expectations and did his best to tailor his advice accordingly. I felt I learned a good deal. Sarah J.

What a wonderful day we had! It was picture perfect at your lovely home and farm and as you say, the weather made it extremely enjoyable. Thank you both so much for taking such could care of us! Your help of carting us about, delicious lunch in your fab kitchen, tea time chocolate treat and just always being there for us was really thoughtful and generous. I personally really enjoyed getting to meet my near neighbours and seeing the amazing work that you put into this beautiful corner of the English countryside. I often gaze out at the amazing fields that surround us and take my pooches for daily walks, soaking up the atmosphere so it's wonderful to know that so much energy and care are being put back into this delicate ecosystem. I so enjoyed finding out that owls are being given sanctuary and that bees are thriving. I've been actively trying to plant for them and everything is organic by us too so to see it on a grand scale was very heartening. I shall be back to buy some honey soon! Please could you thank Roy for all his kind encouragement and tutelage. I learnt so much in a day and he has really opened up a whole new world of painting for me. Sometimes one just needs a little push and I have certainly caught the bug for painting outdoors. He gave great tips, advice and made it an extremely enjoyable learning experience. I also felt really lucky to have such a good group of fellow students to share the experience with. Now I just need to get some of the right equipment for lighter travel and I should be able to brave the great outdoors! I can't really think of anything that could be improved. It really was very educational yet friendly. I have one small question for Roy, he mentioned he had a supplier that he buys his boards pre-cut from. If he could send me the contact details, that would be super helpful.  Bella B.

I really enjoyed the course on Saturday and found Roy very 'sympatico'! The weather was kind and much better for not being too hot. Lovely lunch too.

My sister Debbie and I thoroughly enjoyed our day course.  The food was fab as well.  The only think we wished was that we had a little more time with Roy to understand the techniques.  We will be booking one of you other courses in the near future.  Jennifer

Thank you also for a great day on Saturday, Roy was an excellent tutor and I am certain my painting will improve as a result!

I genuinely cannot think of anything that needs to be improved upon, and I hope to attend next year if you run the course again.  Please pass my thanks on to Roy.  Kind regards, Mark.

Hi Anne, i had a lovely time on the course, in a wonderful environment and fantastic food!  You are great hosts and i hope to book on another course next year.  Steve J.

Thank you both so much for making my weekend with you so lovely! I thoroughly enjoyed all of it, from the fantastic home cooked food you provided to Roy’s wonderful course. I learnt so much and he was so helpful and encouraging. I just loved the setting, and seeing all the wonderful things you guys get up to on your land…it’s really made me want to come and live in the countryside. I felt very at home!   I’ve really taken to the idea of making my own frames, so if you could possibly pass onto me the details of the framer who does your courses, I might see if I can arrange a one to one workshop with him.  Emily F.

I really enjoyed the day especially your delicious lunch.Only the weather could have been better,but that is not your fault. I now have ideas for Christmas presents so thank you for that too.  Shuna C.

I thought the course challenged my idea of painting.  Glad I took it.  Christa







Roy Connelly
Friday, 27 April, 2018

Times10 - 5


What to Bring

Bring your usual oil painting equipment - this should include an easel suitable for outdoor use.

Bring at least five small boards to work on. Recommended sizes: 6x8 inches (15x20cm), 8x10 inches (20x24cm) and 10x12 inches (25x30cm).

Recommended palette (Artist Quality oil paints give the best results but student quality is acceptable): Titanium white, Naples yellow, Cadmium or Winsor Lemon, Winsor Yellow Deep, Yellow Ochre Deep or Transparent Yellow Ochre, Cadmium orange, Cadmium red or equivalent, Permanent rose, French ultramarine, King's Blue, Colbalt Turquoise Light, Indigo or Blue black, Raw Umber.

A quick drying/painting glaze medium eg: Roberson Glaze Medium or Liquin Impasto. White spirit.

Some decent (ie. not old/worn out) brushes in a variety of sizes. Preferably filberts but rounds and long flats are useful to.

Rags or paper towels/plastic bags.

Good clothing and footwear to suit all weathers.  Don't forget your hat, sun cream, insect repellent etc.


See below.