Courses,  In Person Sessions & Zoom Classes

“Mary does not ‘teach’ as such;  she introduces a painting (or an artist, or an idea) and then enters a process of mutual discovery as a co-explorer, always stimulating an attitude of ‘gazing’ and encouraging a heart response.   She fosters the development of  individuals having an openness of vision to perceive what is going on in themselves as well as what the basic intention of the artist might be. Mary’s classes are inspirational.   They have a spiritual dimension in the broadest sense, and encourage the participator to find their ‘inner eye’ to perceive not so much facts and figures about artists and art history, but how art can change us.   At the same time, Mary is very kind and attentive to all her students, and respects everyone’s contribution.   Her classes are wholly accessible both to folk who have in-depth experience of ‘art appreciation’ and those who have little.”

Veronica Bennetts

 

The Art of Seeing 

 These sessions are having a break for the Summer, but will resume in September 2022!

The Art of Seeing – Overview
We know how to read a book and get lost in the other world of the imagination, and we allow ourselves to be moved emotionally and viscerally by music, but have we lost our visionary capacity when it comes to looking at works of art?
Just one work of art will be the focus of our attention and discussion each month. By slowing down and taking time with each work of art, we are able to relax and un-wind, observe detail, character, emotion, gesture, atmosphere, nuances and subtleties presented through the image that are simply not possible from rushed or fleeting glances. When we spend longer than a few minutes looking, we are also able to engage more embodied responses which include imagination, visualisation, contemplation, meditation and reflection, all modalities of knowing and seeing that are just not attainable from a rational mode of looking. Space will be created for you to share what you see, perceive and feel as well as learning a little about the context of each work of art.
These sessions are £10 per person. Email me directly to book at info@maryattwood.com or you can use the PayPal button below.
This session will be recorded. if you are unable to make this time, you can still purchase the recording. 

 

 

Seeing the World Anew:

The Emergence of Landscape in Art 

Gainsborough, Constable, Turner 

Three week Summer course

Mondays 8th, 15th & 22nd August 2022

10am – 1pm, via Zoom

 

Psychiatrist and literary scholar, Dr Iain McGilchrist, writes that the arts in general, and the ways in which they change over a period of time, can tell us about the history of ideas. Visual art in particular presents to us in a beautifully sensory and visceral way, how we have seen ourselves in relationship to the natural world over time, and our sense of belonging to it. This three week Summer course, ‘Seeing the World Anew: The Emergence of Landscape in Art’ will have a particular focus on the work of three leading British artists; Gainsborough, Constable and Turner. We will explore how landscape became a genre in its own right and how each of these artists drew on influences from other artists in Europe, past and contemporaneous, as well as reacted to changes that were occurring in the world at the time. Each were innovators in unique ways, and they come to the forefront at a time when rapid scientific, social, political and technological changes began to alter the landscape of the Western world as it moved from the Age of Enlightenment into the industrial revolution. They looked both backwards and forwards, and through their art, conveyed an extraordinary coming together of imagination, deep seeing and social history. In turn, they created ripples which influenced the Impressionists and other leading artists in the decades and centuries that followed, forever altering the window on the world that art shows us.
Throughout this course we will draw on the broader implications of these artists’ ways of seeing the world anew through psychological and philosophical contexts as well as historical. This course will be recorded if you cannot make the scheduled time.

Three Week Course – £70  
Email me directly to book at info@maryattwood.com if you are not a fan of PayPal or you can use the PayPal button below.
This course will be recorded if you are unable to make the scheduled time. 

 

  

 

Lives of the Great Artists 

  Six Week Course, Mondays 25th April, 2nd May, 9th May, 16th May, 23rd May, 30th May 2022 

10am – 1pm, via Zoom

 Over the course of six weeks we will explore the lives and works of some of the Western tradition’s greatest artists spanning the late Medieval period to the current day. At a time when our cultural depth is seriously deprived and the many images of celebrity and role models presented to us are emptied of any real value or meaning, turning our attention towards great artists can offer a different perception of what it means to be human in relationship with the world, and offer substance, inspiration and true enrichment.  There is something both magical and human about going behind the scenes of a work of art to its creator, someone who invites us to see the world in completely new ways. Discovering the character and way of life of an artist gives us a fascinating insight into the psychological and spiritual aspects of human nature as a whole, and goes some way in helping us better understand ourselves. As Dr James Hillman wrote;

‘Extraordinary people excite; they guide; they warn; standing as they do, in the corridors of imagination – statues of greatness, personifications of marvel and sorrow – they help us carry what comes to us as it came to them. They give our lives an imaginary dimension.’

We will consider the extent to which the voice and heart of the artist can be sensed through their work while we explore each artist’s creative journey, passions, failures and successes. Throughout the course, we will question how aspects of of an artist’s life and work can inspire us, and lift the human soul and spirit, enabling us to see and know in ways we may not have thought possible. As well as honouring the historical and biographical, this course will also look at the lives of the artists through the broader lens of depth psychology found in the work of Dr James Hillman, the alchemy of different psychological states and the archetype of ‘artist’ through the work of Dr C. G. Jung, culture and psychology through the work of Professor Louis Sass, and the philosophical and psychological through the work of psychiatrist Dr Iain McGilchrist, among others. 

 This course will be recorded so if you are unable to make this time, you can still purchase the recording. If you are not a fan of PayPal email me and I will send you a different payment option. info@maryattwood.com

Six Week Course £120

Course Outline:

Week OneGiotto, Brunelleschi, Donatello

Week TwoBotticelli, Raphael, Michelangelo

Week Three – Titian, Giorgione, Vermeer 

Week Four – Rembrandt, Van Gogh 

Week FiveMonet, Picasso

Week Six – Frida Kahlo, David Hockney

ALL COURSES LISTED BELOW ARE PREVIOUS COURSES

Stories and Myths in Art 

  Five Week Course, Mondays 21st Feb, 28th Feb, 7th March, 14th March, 21st March 2022

10am – 1pm, via Zoom

 

Over the course of five weeks we will explore the world of art and the stories they convey that have inspired people for thousands of years to the present day. This is a world rich in the imagination, in word and in literature and in both the real and magical.

We will explore Classical and Christian myths;  stories which are played out in mysterious places and spaces of land and sea, stories of visions, dreams and miracles; the journey of the soul; Arthurian legends; the fairytale;  real stories of tragedy, and stories of the every day. The rich panoply of the stories and myths presented in art invites us to connect to these images – and ourselves-  in a more meaningful and direct way.   Stories evoke emotions and connection and when these are played out in art, they work through deeper layers of the psyche, the imagination and the heart.  
We will explore the deeper meaning of myth through metaphor and the symbolic,  question whether older myths are still relevant today, explore which myths most appeal to you and explore the differences, if any, between myth and story. For the final week you will be invited to find a myth or story in art that you would like to present and write about.  This course will be recorded so if you are unable to make this time, you can still purchase the recording.

 

Course Outline:

Week OneOrigins of Stories and Myths told through Art: Journeys 

This will include, among others – Homer’s Odyssey / The Muses / Greek and Roman Myths/ Journey of the Magi and some of the artists we will cover will include – Raphael, Gentile da Fabriano, JW Waterhouse, Titian and more.

Week TwoLiving Statues / The Christian Myth

This will include, among others – The Ancient Greek Boxer / Mythical Creatures / Venus / Visions, Dreams & Miracles /  Death & Dying and some of the artists we will cover will include Botticelli, Giotto, Michelangelo, Duccio, Caravaggio, Aubrey Beardsley and more.

 

Week Three- The Soul’s Journey and The Imagination 

This will include, among others – Virgil’s The Aeneid / Dante’s Divine Comedy and some of the artists we will cover will include Claude Lorrain, JMW Turner, Auguste Rodin, Rossetti, Botticelli, William Blake and more.

 

Week FourLegends & Fairytales 

This will include, among others  – Arthurian Legends / The Sleeping Beauty / The Mermaid and some of the artists we will cover will include Frank Dicksee, William Holman Hunt, Edward Burne-Jones, Rossetti, JW Waterhouse, Walter Crane and more. 

 

Week FiveReal Life Stories in Art / Presenting your chosen work of Art

This will include, among others – Lady Jane Grey / European War & Tragedy / The Every Day and some of the artists we will look at will include Delaroche, Goya, David, Courbet, Picasso. In this last session we will also have a fun quiz. 

 

Book the full five week course for £90 and save £10 using the button below

 

 OR you now have the option of booking each session separately  

Week One – 21st Feb – Origins of Stories and Myths told through Art: Journeys –  £20

 

Week Two – 28th Feb – Living Statues / The Christian Myth –  £20

 

Week Three – 7th March – The Soul’s Journey & The Imagination – £20

 

Week Four – 14th March – Legends & Fairytales  –  £20

 

Week Five – 21st March – Real Life Stories in Art / Presenting your chosen work of Art  –  £20

 

 

The Creativity, Life & Works of Leonardo da Vinci: Seeing into the Heart of Things  

Three Week Course Sundays 6th, 13th & 20th March 2022 

3- 5pm, via Zoom

 ‘We live in an age of celebrity, of flashes in the pan. But when it comes to Leonardo’s works, which supersede time and place, we have to realise that there is something more going on here, something beyond the pigment…’

Professor Martin Kemp

These sessions will have a particular emphasis on his works of art, and on creativity and the coming together of both the human and the ‘genius’, of someone grounded in the world of natural phenomena yet deeply spiritual and soulful. We will question what we still might be able to learn from his embodied approach to discovery and learning, to skill and imagination, and to keeping our eyes open to the beauty and mystery of the world around us with an ability to be able to ‘see into the heart of the things’, as one biographer described Leonardo. 
In this three week course, we will explore the nature of creativity through the life and works of Leonardo da Vinci. A name which barely needs an introduction, Leonardo and his works have become synonymous with the term ‘genius’, driven by an insatiable urge to explore the world of natural phenomena and what lay behind it. Yet Leonardo also encountered his own very human struggles and worked with immense persistence and resilience, incorporating a number of different qualities and cognitive faculties which co-existed alongside each other. Considered to be the archetypal renaissance person – a polymath, his paintings and drawings, his words and others’ descriptions and observations of him,  reveal the depth and breadth of qualities associated with the term ‘creativity’ and reach beyond the ‘ordinary’ world of the human to the ‘extraordinary’ in the cosmos. What we find in Leonardo is a coming together of head, hands and heart/ imagination, which awaken the whole human and the world. 
We will consider the faculties of: Intelletto (higher Intellect), Invenzione (skill with discovery), Fantasia (imagination) and the Sensus communis (common sense) as fundamental aspects of creativity which Leonardo wrote about and developed, and the qualities of apprenticeship, imitatio and rebirth in their literal and deeper symbolic meaning. We will explore Leonardo’s mind and work with a ‘renaissance view’ – that is –  of a necessity for the broadest possible context for knowledge and understanding by also seeing through the lens of Leonardo’s contemporaries; of depth psychologists Carl Jung & James Hillman; of the neuroscientist Dr Iain McGilchrist; and art historians E.H Gombrich and Professor Martin Kemp, among others. 
These sessions will have a particular emphasis on his works of art, and on creativity and the coming together of both the human and the ‘genius’, of someone grounded in the world of natural phenomena yet deeply spiritual and soulful. We will question what we still might be able to learn from his embodied approach to discovery and learning, to skill and imagination, and to keeping our eyes open to the beauty and mystery of the world around us with an ability to be able to ‘see into the heart of the things’, as one biographer described Leonardo. We will follow Leonardo’s life chronologically through his work and words, and in doing so, consider the transformative effects on us, the learner, when we encounter his work through a deeper participation. 

Week One – Awakening & Apprenticeship – painting and a window to the world

Some of the areas we will cover will include – Leonardo’s early life in Vinci; Master and Apprentice – Verrocchio’s workshop in Florence;  painting the movements of the heart and the soul; the eye – seeing and looking, discovery and skill (invenzione), the discipline of draughtsmanship; human struggle. 

Some of the works of art we will cover will include –   St Jerome, Ginevra de’ Benci, The Annunciation (Uffizi),  The Adoration of the Magi; early drawings among others.

 

Week Two – Leaving the Master –  rebirth and beauty 

Some of the areas we will cover will include – the flourishing of gesture, expression and emotion; liminal places; the brain hemispheres and perspectival depth and space; coming into being; the seat of the soul and the sensus communis, rebirth, beauty and the flourishing of the imagination, the goddess and inspiration.

Some of the works of art we will cover will include – The Virgin of the Rocks; The Last Supper; the Sforza monument; Vitruvian man; anatomical drawings and other drawings; Lady with an Ermine among others.

 

Week Three – Seeing into the Heart of Things –  the body and the living earth

Some of the areas we will cover will include – the coming together of imagination, intellect, skill and discovery and common sense (sensus communis); sfumato and the mystical; looking at and seeing through; final years and death.

Some of the works of art we will cover will include – Salvator Mundi; the mystery of the lost frescoes, The Mona Lisa; Leda and the Swan; the Centenarian;  Deluge drawings and more. 

Please bring pen / pencil and a notebook. This course will be recorded so if you are unable to make the live sessions you will receive a recording of each week. For more information and to book, click here. 

 

 

The Classical Tradition in Art

  Saturday 12th March 2022

10am – 1pm, via Zoom

 

Why has the classical tradition been such a constant source for architects, artists and sculptors? How did this ‘style’ or way of showing its visual forms evolve and develop? For ancient cultures, the classical proportions, harmony and beauty shown through architecture, sculpture and painting were a means of conveying the divine proportions of the cosmos, expressed through mathematics and geometry, and of revealing the higher aspects of the soul and other beings or ‘Ideas’. These archetypes of Beauty, Love, Wisdom -and also War – and so forth are expressed in the most exquisite images in sculpture and painting at the centre of which is the human body. And architecture was understood as the highest expression of the cosmos in physical form. In this session we will look at the beginnings of the classical tradition from ancient Greece, beginning with the work of Phidias and the Parthenon and follow it through to Roman times, the Renaissance, when it was revived after a long period of dormancy, to the neo-classical period and finally to today and how artists and architects have re-appropriated it. Please bring pen / pencil and a notebook. For more information and to book, click here. 

 

 

Seeing Masterpieces with Fresh Eyes 

 Saturday 27th November 2021,  10am- 3.30pm  

First in-person teaching session since lockdown! 

Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, HP9 1RN

This day workshop is my first time teaching in person since lockdown so I am very much looking forward to it. This session will invite you to look at some well-known works of art with a different perception, or ask if that is even possible. Have we become complacent when looking at great works of art because they have appeared in adverts, on chocolate boxes and all manner of commercial products? We will look at some ‘masterpieces’ of art close up, discover different ways of seeing and engaging with these great works, ask ‘what makes a masterpiece?’ and look anew with fresh eyes. The course is for all abilities. The aim of the course is to give you the opportunity to look at great works of art in more detail, and form your own opinions as to what you think makes a masterpiece. You will also have the opportunity to share your own views, insights and perceptions about these works of art. Please bring pen / pencil and a notebook. 

 

The Post- Impressionists

 

Five week course via Surrey Adult Learning, 

Fridays 5th, 12th, 19th, 26th November and 3rd December 2021,

10am- 1pm  

via ZOOM 

 

Be inspired and intrigued each week as we look in-depth at the world of the Post-Impressionists as well as some of the works they created. At a time when we are becoming less engaged with each other, and in a world where the virtual is taking over from the real and experienced, exploring biographies of great artists helps to re-engage us with character and with uniqueness – qualities which enhance our minds and lives. The Post- Impressionist artists each established their own unique style but were united by a shared intention to change the appearance of art established by the French Impressionists. This course will look at the work of Cezanne, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Seurat and others, following both the ideas behind their work as well as their artistic styles and approaches. Rejecting the naturalistic colours and light established by the Impressionists, this group of artists discovered new techniques and approaches which turned away from accurate perspectival space and depth opting for distorted perspective or blocks of colour which sought to capture the new ideas emerging about perception. We will also consider this movement in the broader historical and philosophical context of the changes occurring in Europe at the time. There will be time for participation and discussion. To find out more and to book, click here.

 

Why We Need Art 

Exploring ways of seeing Art: Neuroscientific, Psychological, Philosophical and the Mystical  

Sunday 5th December 2021, 3- 5.30 pm (UK time)   

  via Zoom  

This session will include both theory and participation as we take a journey through the ways in which art can be perceived; from the neuroscientific, the psychological, the philosophical and the mystical, and the implications these approaches may have on us, the viewer,  by seeing through these different lenses. For millennia Western art has been a means through which humans sought to understand their place in, and relationship to, the world. But in modern times, many of these approaches have been lost. As we track the points in our history where these changes occurred from the Reformation and subsequent Enlightenment, we will take a  journey through the works of art themselves as artists sought to either express a loss of enchantment from the world, or conversely embrace it. Drawing on modern neuroscience, psychology, ancient Greek philosophy and the mystical traditions, each of these modes of knowing and approaches to art will be considered in turn as examples of great architecture, paintings and sculpture are explored. The work of ancient Greek and Renaissance philosophers, psychiatrist and author Dr Iain McGilchrist’s theory on the left and right brain hemispheres,  Drs Carl Jung and James Hillman, and the mystical as expressed through ancient wisdom traditions will reveal different ways of seeing and attending to art, which claim to have the potential to be transformative for both image and seer.  

 This session will be £15 per household. To book please click here which will take you to the website for the Centre for Myth, Cosmology and the Sacred.

 

Summer with the Impressionists –

Monday 16th August 2021, 10am- 1pm (UK time) via Zoom

 The Impressionists each had their own style which sought to portray the changing landscape of the late 19th and early 20th century. But they were united in their desire to break with the established tradition of history painting. As industrialisation created the impulse of the move from rural to urban areas, this group of artists told the story of that change and created paintings that simultaneously expressed both the beauty of nature and captured the tension the new changes brought to society and life. In this session there will be time for discussions and some writing and observational exercises as we look at how these artists expressed light, colour and space – and time – in what was considered utterly revolutionary at the time, and not always liked.  

 This session will be £20 per household. To book email me directly at info@maryattwood.com or book via the PayPal button below.

Lives of the Great Artists – Six Week Course,

Mondays  10am- 1pm, 22nd Feb – 29th March 2021 – live online classes via Zoom 

This course will delve into the biographies of some of the world’s greatest artists; their lives, characters, inspirations and psyches from Giotto to Giorgione, Michelangelo to Monet, Botticelli to Brancusi. Discover the fascinating stories about their lives as well as some of the works they created.
Each week we look in-depth at the lives of just a few great artists as well as some of the works they created. At a time when we are becoming less engaged with each other, and in a world where the virtual is taking over from the real and experienced, exploring biographies of great artists helps to re-engage us with character, with personality, with individuality and with uniqueness – qualities which enhance our minds and lives. Spaces for this course is limited. Price – £117 for the course.

 

Caravaggio- Master of Light, Dark & Perception

Friday 19th February 2021, 10am- 1pm live class via Zoom

Following on from the popular session I ran in 2020, in this session we will return to the life of Caravaggio and his extraordinary works of art. This session will focus in detail on some of Caravaggio’s most famous works of art as well as those lesser known. His works are viscerally alive, full of drama, movement and emotion, often concealing deeper meaning, and ask the viewer to be an engaged participant. We will also explore his ideas of perception and us, the viewer, who he invites – or more so confronts – with his images. He continually plays on ideas of perception, of seeing and being seen, and paints himself as the characters he portrays.  We will discover his innovations, his inspirations and his life story which has made him one of the most famous and influential artists in the world. This session is £20 per household and can be booked by clicking on the PayPal button below. Alternatively you can email me directly if you would rather pay by bank transfer at info@maryattwood.com.

 

The Art of Romanticism

Friday 12th February 2021,  10am- 1.00pm live class via Zoom 

This session will look at the Romantic artists who arose from the world of the Enlightenment and subsequent industrialisation. In a world changing faster than they could keep up with, where the machine and industrialisation was reducing the living world to something dead and inanimate, these artists sought to address the growing imbalance they could see in the world by painting both its harsh realities as well as the inner and outer reaches of the mind and imagination. We will look at works by Theodore Gericault, William Blake, Casper David Friedrich and more. 

This five week course will be a visual feast of great works of art but when it comes to looking at art, there is so much more than meets the eye. These sessions will introduce you to a few known ‘masterpieces’ and reveal some little known facts about them. From the efforts Leonardo Da Vinci employed to entertain his famous sitter, the mysterious figures in Van Gogh’s Parisian terrace to the skull at the base of Hans Holbein’s painting, you will discover aspects of works of art you may never have even considered. Spaces are limited. To find out more and to book, see here.

 

Leonardo Da Vinci – His Life and Work 

Two week course via Surrey Adult Learning, Wednesday 4th November and Wednesday 11th November 2020, 7- 9pm – ZOOM classes

Often heralded as the archetypal Renaissance man, Leonardo Da Vinci was truly one of the great polymaths of his time and arguably unrivalled since. Scientist, mathematician, inventor, painter, sculptor and writer, Leonardo had an insatiable yearning to discover what might lie behind the world of natural phenomena. Leonardo wrote, ‘all our knowledge has its origins in our perceptions” which is commonly misunderstood today as just referring to that which we can see. But during Renaissance Italy, when Leonardo lived and worked, the eye was considered the window to the soul.  This class will take a voyage through his life and beautiful works of art, from finished masterpieces, unfinished works, drawings and explorations of the human anatomy, which provide some insight into this fascinating figure from history. Spaces are limited for this. To find out more and to book, see here.

 

Reclaiming Beauty – Sculpture: from Myron to Michelangelo 

via Surrey Adult Education,  Friday 20th November 2020, 10am – 1pm – ZOOM class

To echo the words, ‘reclaiming beauty’ from Sir Roger Scruton, this course will focus on European Sculpture from Myron to Michelangelo, Rodin to Giacometti with an emphasis on the changing face and meaning of beauty.
From the ancient Greek sculptor Myron to Renaissance genius Michelangelo, from the revival of classical art through French sculptor Rodin, to the elongated figures created by Giacometti, sculpture has changed through millennia. This session will look in- depth at great sculpture with a specific focus on the sculptor’s intention of encapsulating beauty, what beauty meant to them, and how the meaning of beauty has changed over time. Spaces are limited.