Monday – Painting in Oils with Clare Haward

Representation, colour and seeing.

For beginners and improvers

Seated Figure
Seated Figure – Clare Haward

Mondays for twelve weeks

Autumn Term 10th September – 3rd December
Daytimes 10.00am-4.00pm
Evenings 7.00pm – 9.30pm

Half term 22nd October

  • Learn to paint directly in oil paint
  • Unpack the secrets of great composition
  • Explore colour and how to mix it
  • Work from still life and the human figure
  • Become expert in studio practice
  • Get close support from experts
  • Flexible format – buy 12 or any 6 out of 12 sessions

When we learn to paint in oils we bring together a wide range of creative skills. Drawing, so fundamental to the visual arts needs to be mastered with a method for nailing proportion. Add to that an understanding of tone, line, colour, edge, composition, design, texture and so on and the task can appear mammoth. Like an elephant, mammoths are eaten one bite at a time, with Clare those bites become appetising mouthfuls garnished with good humour.

In this course Clare works with you at the level you find yourself. Skills will be built when required and with agreement a programme will be developed to best bring you towards excellence. Clare works with deep principles that underlie representational, impressionistic or abstracted images giving you the freedom to develop your own voice whilst exercising artistic rigour. “Thinking abstractly to create representation” is how she puts it. It is not a specific method or series of steps but rather a training of the sensibilities.

Rather than creating a finished masterpiece, Clare will introduce a series of exercises to allow you to gain experience and skills in working from still life or the figure, interpreting what we see with paint and colour shapes, to build experience as a painter, to ask questions, explore colour and try to understand how to represent what we see with paint.

She is endlessly supportive and has a gentle touch whilst being relentless in pushing you towards your best.

A studio day might include working from still life or the nude model in oils or charcoal. Demonstration will be given and plenty of one on one tuition. Different themes and ideas will be introduced dynamically in response to the progress of the individual and the group.

Monochrome subject – understanding tone

Whilst we would encourage you to commit to a full term we also know that many of us have busy complicated lives. So this group is flexible in that you can buy a suite of six sessions to use over the twelve week term.  We all miss the occasional session but this way you won’t suffer the sense of silent grievance we all experience when paying for something we don’t get! If, after completing six sessions you wish to attend more you may pay for each session individually – £35 for a half day and £65 for a full day

Clare’s approach starts with a series of questions about what we see: to define a well-composed statement about the drama of colour, tone and edge out of which emerges the illusion of form. She will teach us a realist method that grows from the abstract qualities of what we see. As such it is suitable for beginners and those wishing to refine their technique.

Monochrome Study or ‘grisaille’ – student work

The method you will be taught is part of a long tradition of direct or ‘alla prima’ painting – the paint is applied in it’s final colour directly to the canvas without under painting, glazes or scumbles.

Once mastered it is a quick and effective way of painting images with great subtlety or intensity.

When learning to paint we try to keep things simple so that may mean using a reduced palette and painting just a few objects.


Subjects will include still life. When we paint still life we are often describing simple regular forms like vases and bottles. The skills put in place support more complex forms as we progress.

Some days you will work from the nude model, a perfect and traditional subject when learning to paint. If you can paint the human figure you’re well placed to tackle other genres.

Figure Study – Clare Haward

You will work in the studio with Clare painting and demonstrating alongside you and giving you plenty of one on one tuition. These are small groups so you are guaranteed attention.

Over the twelve week course Clare will shepherd us from blinking incomprehension through tentative steps and finally quiet confidence as we learn to see the light that falls rather than that which it falls upon.

She will introduce us to the materials so that we will be able to choose surfaces, brushes and paints that best serve our purposes. Colour mixing will be explained so that you will be able to mix the colour that you see or the one you want to see. Care of brushes, palette and so on will be picked up along the way as we all go about the business of being an artist for the day.

Working from the figure

The studio day is broken by lunch at 1.00pm  Lunch is shared around a table, life is too short to slum it. If you have a special diet you are welcome to bring your own food or have a word with us and we’ll see what we can do, in any case food is largely vegetarian and very modestly priced.

About Clare

Acclaimed artist Clare Haward‘s work appears in galleries around the country and in many private collections. She regularly exhibits in national shows and competitions. Her quixotic approach to painting confounded the presenters on the recent Sky Landscape Artist of the year for which she was selected. Her approach is rigorous and sensual, sensitive to colour and composition, edge and tone. Clare is acutely aesthetic with an exquisite colour sense and best of all she’s a fine communicator.

What some of Clare’s students say about working with her:

“Clare is a sensitive teacher who gives you tailored advice to improve your own painting technique. After being taught by Clare I have noticed a big change in my ability to translate the colours that I see onto the canvas, and her words of wisdom have been a huge support throughout my artistic development.” – Lauren

Physalis Alkekengi by Lauren Ratcliffe

“Clare’s method of painting is so completely different from mine that I felt I was exploring very new ground. Her personality and teaching approach are very thoughtful, caring and gentle in manner. She has a very intelligent insight into how best to explain her work and how different learners require different approaches.” – Robert

“I really enjoyed the way we just jumped straight in and got painting. Clare is encouraging in a constructive and helpful way. I know I’m terrible for giving up on a piece and moving on if I don’t feel it’s going well and she’s great at telling me which bit to look at/work on next and see that there’s (usually!) something worth persevering with.” – Emma

“I have loved doing Clare’s class. She is inspiring, patient and encouraging. I haven’t painted for years, so Clare’s class has been immensely helpful in removing my fear of putting paint on canvas, and seeing improvement as we’ve progressed is quite fulfilling! I’d highly recommend it for anyone wishing to paint!” – Charlie

“Clare was encouraging with my painting efforts in many ways. She provided a challenging project yet was also patient with me carrying it out. She taught one of the most important skills and that was “how to see.” I’d definitely recommend her class to anyone keen to develop their painting skills.”Doug

Course fees

We understand that life gets very busy and it’s sometimes hard to make a consistent commitment. This course works well without constraining the artist to join in every week. You can buy 6 sessions and use them on any of the 12 week dates that fit your personal diary.

Fees for twelve full days £600
Fees for any six full days, or twelve half days £350
Fees for twelve evenings £350
Fees for six evenings or £200

Concessions may be available upon request however as Clare’s course is very busy we are not offering an option to purchase 6 half day sessions.

If you’d like to talk to Clare about any aspect of this course please email her directly on or ring the Dulwich Art Group on 0770 4450 169


To register please fill in the form below and pay the £50 deposit.

Pay your £50 deposit securely by clicking the button below.

Oil painting does require quite a lot of equipment which can be quite personal but if you don’t already have the kit here is a general list of what we’ll need:


  • Wooden Palette
  • Drop Handle Palette Knife
  • View Finder
  • Turps
  • Brush Washer
  • Palette cups
  • Linseed Oil or Liquin
  • Oil Primed Linen Canvas – approx 30x40cm
  • Rags or kitchen towels


  • Hog brushes – sizes 8-12 – flats, filberts, rounds

Oil Paint
Artist quality oil paints – Old Holland and Michael Harding are the highest quality, but more expensive. Winsor and Newton Artists Oils are a more affordable option. Student paints are a false economy and will ruin your life.

Basic Palette to begin with:

  • Raw Umber
  • Titanium White
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Alizarin Crimson
  • Ultramarine Blue

Extended Palette:

  • Cadmium Red
  • Cadmium Yellow
  • Cadmium Yellow Lemon

Additional Colours for the committed –

  • Phthalo Blue
  • Cadmium Orange
  • Cadmium Green
  • Windsor Violet
  • Viridian or Phthalo Green