Summer 2020


We all know that the best way to get better at painting and drawing is to practise, practise and practise. However as the years draw on and we notice our mortality, time becomes more precious and endless practice is less attractive. Wisdom also shows us that we can just repeat the same mistakes again and again and worst of all, may not even be aware them.

Ideally we mix practice with learning, doing with thinking, action with reflection.

One of the best ways of becoming a better artist is to periodically attend workshops, masterclasses and tutored courses where you will be exposed to ideas that challenge you and bring insights. It’s not always a comfortable process, none of us like the shortcomings in our work pointed out to us but when it’s combined with strategies for overcoming them and intelligent support from someone we respect, it becomes bearable.

Even self taught artists like Henri Rousseau had some input from academic painters like Gerome despite claiming he had “no teacher other than nature” his paintings have lasted well and show technical skills he must have acquired somewhere. A good teacher will give you the skills you need to develop as an artist, working with who you are and without cramping your style.

Pathways to learning

If you are new to drawing and painting it may be helpful to think about what most visual artists need to learn in order to do what they do. Most will be able draw. Drawing is an essential tool, more for training the eye rather than to produce finished drawings. We find many artists will practise observational drawing, particularly of the human figure, as a core discipline throughout their careers. So if you don’t know where to begin start with drawing.

We recommend attending our Introduction to Life Drawing on Thursday evenings or our Skills course on Tuesday or Friday mornings to kick you off. Then attend regular drop-in sessions to practice what you have learned and join up with one of our artist led tutored groups


Mondays, daytime and evening sessions
Summer Term   20th April – 13th  July
Half term 11th May

Daytimes 10.00am-4.00pm
Evenings 7.00pm – 9.30pm

  • 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 – attend all twelve classes or session one or two.

More info and sign up here


The Elements of Drawing – A foundation in visual art after Ruskin
Suitable for absolute beginners and those with skills gaps.

Tuesday mornings 9.30am-12.30pm
Spring Term 7th January – 31st March
Half term 18th February

  • Learn to draw and paint from the absolute beginning
  • Gain the skills all visual artists need for effective representation
  • Progress from simple mark making through line, shape, tone and colour
  • Work in a variety of media in a friendly group

More info and sign up here


Tuesday evenings 7.30pm-9.30pm
Summer Term 21st April – 14th July
Half term 26th May

Tutor Simon Dunstan

This is the new follow-on course for artists who have completed the Introduction to Life Drawing Course and want to move their skills to a higher level, and for those artists who have become a little rusty and need to lift and refresh their drawing skills.

More info and sign up here


Tuesdays or Wednesdays 7.00pm-9.30pm for twelve weeks
Summer Term 21st /22nd April – 14th/15th July
Half term 26th /27th  may

Learning portraiture in oil paint with an expert. Alex’ course is progressive, if you haven’t painted with him before the beginners portraiture is on Tuesdays.

More info and sign up here


Thursdays 10.00am-4.00pm
Summer Term 23rd April – 16th July
Half term 28th May

  • Learn to paint in oils
  • Practice observational painting from still life and landscape
  • Benefit from the practical experience of a celebrated artist
  • Gain essential studio skills for painting from reference or life
  • Learn to paint quickly and effectively – ideal for landscape painting
  • Work out doors ‘en plein air’ when the weather is agreeable

More info and sign up here


Thursday Evenings
Summer Term 23rd April – 16th July
Half term 28th May
7.30pm prompt until 9.30pm
Twelve week term – sign up for any six

Working from the nude model we explore a variety of drawing methods and you will discover what works for you. We have a demonstration early on in the evening which will introduce a technique or key concept. For beginners this can form the structure for progressive learning, for the more experienced it’s always good to be reminded or just to dust down old skills.

More info and sign up here


A foundation in the elements of visual art – Introduction to oil painting. For beginners or advanced artists with gaps in their skills set.

Chief Tutor Simon Dunstan.

Friday mornings 9.30am-12.30pm
Spring Term 10th January – 3rd April
Half term 21st February

  • Learn to paint in oils from the beginning
  • Understand the mechanics of oil paint
  • Discover ways of looking that lead to successful images
  • Embrace your own visual language in this powerful medium

This is the follow on course from Skills part one where we move on to painting in oils.

More info and sign up here