A day-long outdoor workshop in  the beautiful gardens of SHANDY HALL, Coxwold, York YO61 4AD

Please note that all summer 2023 workshops are now fully booked. Please get in touch if you would like to be put on a waiting list for 2024’s summer sessions, or you might want to book a bespoke session for yourself and a friend or two before then.

Located in the pretty village of Coxwold, Shandy Hall is situated in the North York Moors National Park, close to the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, approximately 19 miles north of York, midway between the market towns of Thirsk, Easingwold, and Helmsley. View map

Information about Shandy Hall

2024 Dates

To be announced.

All the workshops are on Tuesdays, 11am–4pm


£60 per person
£90 per person (including a sketch kit – see below for details)

Book 'A Useful Sketch Book'


What’s the difference between a pretty sketch book and a useful one? A well-observed and playful sketch book can aide recall and encourage creative mark-making and abstraction, as well as being an attractive object in its own right.

Meeting in the beautiful gardens of Shandy Hall, Kate Pettitt will help you to improve your confidence working outside, loosen up, make visual decisions, and use your materials creatively to record and annotate in a way that will advance your own methods of working.

With a maximum of six people per session, there will be plenty of one-to-one time with Kate, and it’s a great chance to get to know your fellow artists too.

Please note that while you’ll be working outside, this is not a plein air painting workshop. You will be working in sketch books on multiple short studies throughout the day.

Book your place on a day of your choice here (gift vouchers are also available for workshops if you’re buying them as a present – please contact me for details):

Book 'A Useful Sketch Book'


Full venue information including access information will be sent, along with course notes, after booking.

You will:

  • Select and focus on your subject matter
  • Observe and record useful information in your sketch book
  • Edit and make decisions about what will be useful to you and what materials suit your subject
  • Find out what kit works in more challenging environments, and how to work with your materials outside
  • Relax, loosen up, and gain confidence working quickly and creatively with limited materials
  • Gain and share knowledge and experience, and make new friends
  • Enjoy spending a day in a wonderful outdoor venue – lots to see and enjoy.

At the end of the day you will have a sketch book brimming with useful material that you can use to inform your own artworks and the confidence to develop your sketch book skills further.

Suitable for:

  • All artistic abilities and styles
  • Age 18+
  • Anyone who wants to improve observational skills, confidence, mark-making, and working quickly outside
  • People who love the great outdoors and nature, and don’t mind a bit of English weather
  • People who want to use their observational skills to develop their own art
  • People who have their own transport, or are able to share/make their own way to the workshop locations.

Please also see ‘Access’ information for the specific venue.

The price includes:

  • One day-long session, working outdoors at a beautiful Yorkshire venue, with plenty of one-to-one time with Kate and time to study
  • Entry to Shandy Hall‘s gardens (parking in the village is free)
  • Use of Kate’s A3 drawing boards, water pots, palettes and seat pads if you need them
  • If you’ve paid for a workshop with sketch kit, you will also receive the following items to use and keep:
    • An A5 sketch book
    • A refillable water brush
    • A charcoal pencil (black)
    • A chalk pencil (white)
    • A tube of white gouache
    • A water soluble graphite pencil

You need to bring:

  • Your own packed lunch and refreshments for the day
  • Art materials (you don’t need as much as you might think!):
    • A watercolour palette to record colour. If you want to use a particular medium as well, then please do bring it along, but remember that you’ll need to carry it around with you all day and work with it outside. Keep your materials small and lightweight and please do not bring oil-paint
    • Soft pencil/graphite and charcoal pencil (pastels are optional)
    • Paper/sketch book (no larger than A3)
    • Two paint brushes (different widths)
    • Fixative (advised for use with charcoal and pastel)
  • A plastic bag (for putting wet palettes/brushes etc in)
  • A fold up chair if you are unable/prefer not to sit on the ground on the seat pads provided
  • An umbrella so we can continue work in showery weather
  • Sensible clothing. Please bring a waterproof and something warm to put on if it looks like it might rain. Sensible shoes are always advised for working outdoors, even in gardens – we will not be walking great distances, but we might walk over uneven ground or off the beaten path. Don’t wear your best clothes – you might get covered in charcoal if you get carried away!
  • If we have sun (it sometimes happens), please bring sunscreen and any other sun/insect protection and/or hay fever medication etc you might require as none will be provided.

Group size

There is a maximum of six people per session, so there’s plenty of opportunity for one-to-one time with Kate. A minimum of three people is required for the session to run. If the session does not run due to lack of numbers, illness or other unforeseen events, you will be able to book another session, or you will be refunded in full.


If you have limited mobility or any health conditions or impairments that may need special consideration, please let Kate know in advance. It may not be possible to access every part of a venue, or a bespoke one-to-one sessions may be more suitable for you (these can be arranged). Visit the Shandy Hall page (link below) for details of venue-specific access and facilities.

Bad weather

This is England, so let’s face it – it might rain! A bit of rain and wind can add to the fun and sometimes makes some interesting marks, so please be prepared to ‘weather it out’ if we have the odd shower. However, if the weather is out to get us, we will either use umberellas or re-locate to an undercover area on site. If the weather is really out to get us, we will postpone/reschedule the session for a better day or you will be offered a place on another workshop (subject to places being available). If you are unable to attend the re-scheduled session you will receive a voucher for another workshop or a one-to-one session with Kate for the equivalent time and value.

Please contact me if you need any further information about the workshop.

Information about Shandy Hall.

View workshop terms and conditions.

Book 'A Useful Sketch Book'


Marti working with watercolour to collect colour information

“We had a a great time and learnt lots … Kate was a lovely, enthusiastic teacher (and) the house and gardens are beautiful. The weather was a real bonus!” Marti – May 2023 workshop attendee

Carolyn working to capture the solidity of the trees and the softness of the grasses in the Wild Garden