This six-week course will introduce you to the merits of both traditional oils and fast-drying alkyds. We will experiment with different techniques, gradually increasing skill levels. Short exercises using different types of brushes and palette knives will build up to painting larger more complex pieces. The demonstrations will reveal how to paint elements within a landscape but by the end of the course you will have the tools and knowledge to paint whatever you like.

NEXT COURSE: Please contact Kate if you would like to attend the next course planned for the autumn.

COST: £198 for 6 classes of 3 hours


Brief  Course Outline

Week 1 - Introduction to oil paints, brushes, supports, palettes and thinners. Paint a still life to try different paints - edges and form, dark to light, fat over lean.

Week 2 - Underpainting with oils or acrylics; colour theory, pigment types, colour mixing.

Week 3 - Elements in composition - planning your paintings for balance and interest.

Week 4 - Correcting mistakes, scraping back, tonking, ragging and scraffito.

Week 5 - Mark making - impasto, knife painting, selecting your brushes and how best to use them.

Week 6 - Tips on painting portraits, alla prime and glazing, varnishing and troubleshooting.

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Materials List

Bring with you any painting materials you may have as in the first lesson we will be looking at everything you might need for the course including small samples of the alkyd paints for you to try. However, if you would like to buy some things beforehand I recommend A4-size (or preferably bigger) oil paper or canvas boards; artist quality oil paints*; a wooden palette or tear-off palettes; a selection of sable, synthetic and hog hair brushes (rounds, flats and filberts plus a soft fan brush for blending); palette knives; a board or table easel to lean on; two jars for thinners; Zest-it dilutant and brush cleaner; charcoal or chalk for drawing; masking tape; kitchen towel or lint-free rags; apron; pictures for inspiration and newspaper or something to protect your wet painting on the way home. Please wear old clothes.

* When buying paints it is always prudent to buy from quality manufacturers as cheap, student quality paints contain more fillers and can put you off the medium before you have even started. It is better to buy a few decent quality paints and mix the colours you need, rather than a large selection of colours you will never use. I like working with Winsor & Newton's Griffin Alkyds because they are fast drying, ready to paint over the following day and dry to similar sheen levels. Some people prefer the more traditional slower-drying oils of which I would recommend paints made by Daler Rowney and Micheal Harding amongst others. Basic colours should include a warm and cool version of each of the three primaries ie. Cadmium Red, Crimson Red, Cadmium Yellow, Lemon Yellow, Ultramarine Blue, Cerulean Blue, plus Titanium White and Mars Black. You may also wish to add in some pre-mixed colours like Hookers Green, if you like painting landscapes or Flesh Tint if you want to paint people. Some of the earth colours like Raw Umber and Burnt Umber, Yellow Ochre, Raw Sienna and Burnt Sienna are also very useful to have in your paintbox. We will be using Zest-it as a thinner and also for cleaning brushes instead of turps to reduce fume levels.


Lovely, happy group of people. Super, informative, well-structured teaching that has given me confidence to carry on painting in oils.
— Sandra D

Student Galleries & Comments

Click on an image to enlarge and flick through the gallery


I realised that painting in oils is very complicated and challenging but the actual process of putting down paint and learning is always fun. Kate is a good teacher - her good humour, patience and encouragement enhances one’s enjoyment of the course.
— Anne Bland
A good comprehensive grounding for anyone staring out in oil painting.
— Kay W
Such a fantastic teacher - cool, calm, instructive and confidence building.
— Zebrina R
Kate’s classes are always fun - this one especially so. Kate’s patience and encouragement provide a safe environment for us to learn in and we can relax and enjoy it all.
— Lesley S
If you ever thought you couldn’t paint in oil, try Kate’s course - surprise yourself!
— Sally
Excellent artist and excellent teacher. I achieved all of my aims... and more!
— Sue P
I really enjoyed the course, both the instruction and the giving confidence as well as the company of the other participants - friendly and lively. I really appreciated proper lessons and handouts.
— Julia C

Art Class Gift Voucher

Treat someone you love. Available in any amount as whole or part payment towards any chosen course, class or workshop.

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