Monday Evenings – Erin Raedeke – an Introduction to Still Life


A six week painting course with an award winning artist 

7.00pm – 9.30pm

Monday 14th June – 19th  July

Book now


Harmen Steenwyck – Still Life: An Allegory of the Vanities of Human Life

Still life painting can be as simple as popping a piece of fruit in front of you and getting out your crayons. The genre can also be complex and multi layered. Take a Vanitas painting from the 17thC like the one above. It works as a composition and the textures, colours and rhythms of shape anoints our aesthetic organs as much as any contemporary work. It also uses the symbolism of the chosen objects to cause us to reflect, you thought you were happy? Well, all of that love, culture and conquest with which you have built your life will wither and die; life is fleeting and the worms await us.

Apparently our ancestors would cheer themselves by contemplating an image like this and whilst it is rather depressing, it does have a quiet beauty.

Erin Raedeke picks up the symbolic ball and runs with it, like a rogue cheerleader at an American football game. Her still life paintings are not just an artful arrangement of shapes and colours, they are loaded with her personal story, deeply psychological statements, which are meditations upon life itself.

The beauty of this approach is that the tableau can be created on a table in front of our easels, it can be a theatre of memory and feeling made from the chaff of life’s events or a solemn reverence to forms of importance or value.

Erin chooses the things she paints carefully so that when she paints she is charged with their significance. Her process is acutely observational, she is very interested in recording the experience of colour and shape which fills her works with light, her images seem to be joyful and yet the objects she records are often connected with a darker memory. There must be a philosophical thought around that one.

This is a six week course exploring the evolution of a still life. Erin will look at the practicalities of setting up and painting still life along with ways of connecting the practice with who you are as an artist. Getting that bit right can bring real energy and motivation to your work.

Erin is based near Washington DC in the USA and will take the class using Zoom, a now proven and effective channel for learning.

  • Learn the secrets of mixing the colours you see
  • Work with oil paint
  • Develop strategies for building colour harmony
  • Explore composition
  • Discover narrative strategies for image making
  • Establish a home studio practice
  • Get going as a painter

What will we do?

Over six weeks You will work through a series of still life projects, looking at the work of other artists and learning directly from Erin about the the use of colour and composition in painting. You will establish a studio practice for yourself with the support of a top tier painter and a group of like minded students.

Who is this for?

A painting course is always easier if you can draw a little. That said the broad scope of this painting course makes it suitable for beginners who want to start painting or more experienced painters who would like to learn more about colour and composition from a sophisticated artist like Erin.

What do you need?

A place to work where you can clearly see the screen of your computer. An easel of some kind, good lighting and basic oil painting kit, you can see a standard setup here

Erin teaching over Zoom from her studio

About Erin Raedeke

Erin received her BFA from Indiana University in 2000 and her MFA from American University in 2009.  She has had solo exhibitions in New York, Baltimore and Philadelphia, among others, and has participated in numerous group shows, including the BP Portrait Award exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery in London.  Raedeke has been a recipient of the Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award in 2013 and 2016. She has given artist lectures at universities and colleges in California, Illinois, Arkansas, Maine, Florida and Virginia.  She has taught numerous workshops around the area and has been an instructor at the Washington Studio School for the past three years. You can see more of Erin’s work on her website here And there is an interview with her on the Painting Perceptions blog here

What students say about Erin

Here is a testimonial from a recent student:

“Hi Erin, I am missing the class already and wanted to thank you for everything. Your demos were very, very helpful. I learned a lot from mixing and the use of all your special colors besides the traditional palette. A great lesson in Color.

Also when you commented each work you made emphasis on composition details and aspects that enhance the painting. Also, you brought awareness of cools/warms and lightest/darkest that were been better internalized by me. The same as finding important negative spaces.

It was an added benefit to learn to prepare surfaces. Something I’ll do in the future.

A new aspect of working remote has been the setting of our own still lives, something always done by the instructor. Your recommendations were very helpful. I tell you a secret: I started preparing the new set up a day before the class and kept changing elements the whole day (creating some mess in the house). I think I have improved doing it.

It is encouraging all your comments on my work. Thank you!”



The course costs £225 for six evenings

Registration & Payment

You can secure your place on the course by completing the booking process below and paying the £50 deposit or full course amount.

The next sequence runs on Mondays 14th June – 19th July

Free Introduction to Still Life

Erin will be giving us a short introduction to her work and showing us how she sets up a painting on the 7th June at 6.00pm. This will be a free half hour talk and demonstration where we will gain some important insights into how an award winning and internationally collected artist manages their production.