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.”
A two week course on Beauty in Art
Monday 19th June & Monday 26th June
10am – 12pm UK time via Zoom
“Beauty can be consoling, disturbing, sacred, profane; it can be exhilarating, appealing, inspiring, chilling. It can affect us in an unlimited variety of ways. Yet it is never viewed with indifference: beauty demands to be noticed; it speaks to us directly like the voice of an intimate friend. If there are people who are indifferent to beauty, then it is surely because they do not perceive it.”
Sir Roger Scruton
When our attention to beauty diminishes and when we cease co-creating with it, we need to be concerned. In our modern day, we seem to have neglected beauty in Art and in Architecture and in doing so we have neglected a crucial part of ourselves. We need beauty as much as we need food. But our views of beauty today have become distorted. As the depth psychologist James Hillman said, beauty is not ‘prettiness’.
This two week course will explore beauty in Art across a broad time frame to modern day. We will firstly consider how beauty is defined and whether it is only in the eye of the beholder or perhaps, it is in fact something which embodies universal truths. We will question how interconnected is beauty with the divine? How has beauty shown her / his face? The goddess Venus or Aphrodite, the divine feminine and masculine, goodness, kindness?
Guided by the works of Art themselves, we will look at when beauty first awakened and was brought into the tangible images we now call Art as we explore some extraordinary works from ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, the Middle Ages, Renaissance, Romanticism and the Impressionist period. As we move forward in time we will see how works of art changed in a period which I term ‘when beauty slept’ – the period of industrialisation and interestingly, a time when the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales had only recently been written, including the Sleeping Beauty. We will look at how some artists took the story of Sleeping Beauty as subject matter for their painting and what this might mean symbolically. We will venture into the world of Modernism in Art and ask whether beauty is still present, revealing and then concealing her / his face. This course will be visually rich and historical facts will be linked to ‘bigger picture’ thinking with philosophers such as Sir Roger Scruton, James Hillman, the artists themselves and from ideas about beauty from the periods we will cover, ultimately asking can we awaken beauty in our world today?
This course will be recorded if you happen to live in a different time zone or cannot make the scheduled time.
The Art of Seeing
Awakening the psyche through Carl Jung’s Active Imagination
Thursday 25th May 2023
7-8pm UK time via Zoom
Dr Carl Jung
For Jung, this mode of active seeing was a threefold process and one where the final stage was the most important – he said we had an ethical and moral obligation to make meaning from our encounters with images.
We will follow Jung’s tripartite framework and there will be time for quiet reflection and observation as well as discussion. The work of art will not be revealed until the evening but I can tell you that it is a painting which invites the viewer to both look outwards and inwards in order to step through the portal that art shows us. It is an image rich in detail and depth, guiding the viewer to realms of learning, wisdom and the soul.
The Art of Seeing
The Passion of Christ
(rescheduled from 27th April)
Thursday 4th May 2023
7-8pm UK time via Zoom
“The experience of the Mass is therefore a participation in the transcendence of life, which overcomes all bounds
of space and time. It is a moment of eternity in time.”
Dr Carl Jung
Following on from Easter, this month’s Art of Seeing session will focus on one painting telling the story of the Passion of Christ. Scenes of the Passion came to the forefront of religious art from the 1200s, at a time when both Francis of Assisi and Ibn’ Arabi, in different parts of the world, emphasised a move from the intellectual pursuit of the mystical in the head, to the heart and imagination. Images, texts and sermons encouraged the “unshackling of the imagination” and the compassionate – com patiens meaning to suffer with – response to help experience the divine presence rather than merely think about it. The Fourth Lateran Council declared the transubstantiation in 1215 which further enhanced the move away from the symbolic to the actual. The wine and host no longer just represented or symbolised the blood and flesh of Christ, but actually became the blood and flesh of Christ during Mass. As Swiss psychologist, Dr Carl Jung stated, “The experience of the Mass is therefore a participation in the transcendence of life, which overcomes all bounds of space and time. It is a moment of eternity in time.” The images of Christ focused on his suffering and his humanness through the events leading up to the Crucifixion, the Crucifixion itself, and just after it. Not only did this evoke greater compassion and empathy in the viewer, but also heightened the potential of spiritual and soulful transformation through the resurrection.
The Art of Seeing
The Ancient Egyptian Goddess
Thursday 30th March 2023
7-8pm UK time via Zoom
“The Egyptians lived with an awareness of what might be called the imaginal
– a non-physical yet objective reality that we become aware of through the human faculty of the imagination.
They understood that we were not just terrestrial but cosmic beings“
Dr Jeremy Naydler
The ancient Egyptians lived with an understanding of the cosmos that is sometimes difficult for us to grasp today. Seeing themselves not just as earthly, but also cosmic beings, their lives were lived with a continual awareness and preparation for what followed ‘death’ – the afterlife. They lived with a true comprehension of the imaginal through which the sun, the sky and and the forces of nature were seen and felt through the image of gods and goddesses. Their awareness of the imaginal shaped these deities into extraordinary forms – the great statues – which straddle the animal, human and natural world – an expression of their wholly integrated view of existence. For the ancient Egyptians, the sense of hearing was the most important and primary sense which equated to a greater consciousness, of deep listening as divine knowing. In this session, we will ‘meet’ just one image, one of the greatest goddesses from ancient Egyptian myth whose presence might be worth turning our minds, ears and eyes to in light of the forces currently abound in the world. This session will offer an approach of theory, participation and reflection in order to get to ‘know’ the image a little better.
Annunciation in Art
– the call and response
Two week course
Monday 27th March & Monday 3rd April 2023
10am- 12.30pm UK time via Zoom
“There is some kiss we want with our whole lives, the touch of spirit on the body.“
In celebration of the Feast of the Annunciation on 25th March, this two week course will explore the deeper meaning of the Annunciation in Art – the call and response, one of the most memorable, beautiful and sacred images in Christian art. We will take an overview of the story of the Annunciation and its symbolic meaning, and look at a number of different paintings and sculpture across a broad timeline with a particular focus on the images from the Florentine Renaissance. We will question, Why does this encounter between the divine world and the human world take different forms, character, feeling and response? How is this encounter with the divine shaped into the image?
We will follow the story of the annunciation through the period of the Renaissance when its art form flourished and began to express something of the interior visualisation and soul-state that the beholder was invited to ‘see’. During the 15th century, the Franciscan friar, Fra Roberto, laid out five specific spiritual and psychological states that Mary moves through as told in the Gospel of St Luke, and it is these that laid the foundation for many of the paintings created at the time.
The Annunciation also marked a beginning, of human consciousness realising the divine. Until the mid 1700s, the Florentine calendar began with the Incarnation as opposed to the Birth of Christ, and so the Annunciation also marks the beginning of time as Dr Joseph Milne writes,
“For science the origins of things means the discernment of the temporal unfoldment of nature, the sequence in chronological time through which the forms of nature emerge, and the processes or mechanisms by which they emerge. Origins in the biblical or religious sense, on the other hand, means the immediate ontological presence of the cosmos in which human consciousness finds itself called to make a response.”
From the beautiful and alive images of the Annunciation created by Fra Angelico, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Jan Van Eyck, Donatello, Titian, Caravaggio and many more, as well as later works of art, we will explore the varying responses communicated, from awe to trepidation.
The Art of Seeing
Unfolding Ways of Wisdom
Thursday 23rd February 2023
7-8pm UK time via Zoom
“The philosopher, even in his passions, acts only after reflection;
he walks in the night but he is preceded by a torch.”
Philosopher, The Encyclopedie, 1765
We often think of philosophy as a theoretical concept or something which has just one meaning. But there are different ways or forms of wisdom which unfold rather than offer straight lines of learning. Many works of art from the past reveal little by little their inner meaning, requiring something on the part of the beholder to awaken before imparting their wisdom. They therefore often come to us in images, colours and forms which at first seem ambiguous and enigmatic, holding different meanings simultaneously. In this session, we will participate with one work of art which primarily embodies three distinct forms of knowing, each one a different state or stage of wisdom’s journey. Interwoven with this are suggestions of alchemical meaning through colour, of transitioning from the dark towards the guidance of light, and of the embrace of the phases of the human encounter with the the movements of the heavens and the earth. The image will not be revealed until the evening, but it is an image whose patron had a particular interest in the occult, alchemy, and in reviving ancient Greek philosophy.
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.
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. email@example.com
Six Week Course £120
Week One – Giotto, Brunelleschi, Donatello
Week Two – Botticelli, Raphael, Michelangelo
Week Three – Titian, Giorgione, Vermeer
Week Four – Rembrandt, Van Gogh
Week Five – Monet, 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.
Week One – Origins 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 Two – Living 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 Four – Legends & 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 Five – Real 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
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,
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)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
Caravaggio- Master of Light, Dark & Perception
Friday 19th February 2021, 10am- 1pm live class via Zoom
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.
The Hidden Secrets of Masterpieces
Five Week Course via Buckinghamshire Adult Learning, Tuesday 3rd November – 1st December 2020, 7.00- 8.30 pm, ONLINE classes
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
Reclaiming Beauty – Sculpture: from Myron to Michelangelo
via Surrey Adult Education, Friday 20th November 2020, 10am – 1pm – ZOOM class