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Classical Oil Painting Foundations and Beyond with Matilda Michell

Students will learn about the approaches of the ‘Great Masters’ such as Rembrandt, Chardin, Velasquez and more. All levels are welcome in this relaxed and friendly class. Beginners learn step by step and building skills week by week, and those with prior experience are encouraged to extend their skills through a range of structured exercises as well as having the opportunity to work on their own projects under Matilda’s guidance.

Your tutor Matilda Michell has gained a reputation for her research into the materials, methods and interests of Spanish, Dutch and French master painters including Diego Velázquez, Rembrandt, Chardin as well as 20th century painters like Euan Uglow. Through demonstration and practice students will gain a thorough understanding of the materials and techniques available to them and improve their understanding of oil painting.

What to expect

All students will gain a thorough understanding of approaches to classical oil painting including:

  • learn about composition, tone and colour
  • having the opportunity to explore a range of genres including still life, nature, figure, portraiture
  • learn a variety of oil painting approaches from the direct “alla prima” method to techniques for building up a painting in layers
  • learn about colour, colour mixing and about about transparent and opaque pigments
  • learn methods of underpainting, glazing and scumbling
  • learn to different approaches to paint application and
  • how create of mood, space and focal points within a painting.

Students will work on paintings over several weeks, developing them to fully resolved images.

Is this course right for me?*

Matilda welcomes beginners to this class as well as experienced students who wish to develop or consolidate their oil painting skills. What matters is a desire to learn the genres of still life, figure, nature or portraiture and learn about classical techniques of artists such as Rembrandt, Chardin, Velasquez and more. Beginners learn step by step and building skills week by week. Students with prior experience and continuing students are encouraged to extend their skills through a range of structured exercises and working on their own projects.

High School students in year 10 and above are encouraged to attend this class.

Materials list

Materials are not included in the course fee. All students will need to bring the following:

  • For the first class you will need a canvas about 14"x18". You will need more canvases as the term progresses
  • Brushes | Princeton or art basics are good brands that are not too expensive | 3 or 4 filbert brushes Size 1 | 3 or 4 filbert brushes Size 4 | 3 or 4 filbert brushes Size 8
  • Rags
  • Odourless solvent or a brush cleaner (eg Disolv) for cleanup. Solvents MUST be odourless. Oil painting solvents and mediums must not be tipped down the sinks. You will need to bring jars with lids to take away spent solvents/mediums. Spent solvents/mediums must be taken with you and not left in the studios. You tutor will give you information on reusing and disposing of spent solvents and mediums.
  • Small bottle of ‘Lean’ medium (Art Spectrum or Archival brand ) or odourless solvent and small bottle of stand oil to make your own medium in class.
  • Small palette knife
  • Palette
  • Willow charcoal
  • Any acrylic paints you already have for applying a ground layer (titanium white, yellow ochre, burnt sienna, raw umber are good colours).
  • Oil Paints.* We will discuss materials in the first class, so if you have a decent set of oil paints and brushes you don’t need to buy anything special until then. For anyone who wants or needs to buy additional materials, the list of recommended colours are | Titanium white | Yellow Ochre | Raw Umber | Terra rosa| Indian red | Ivory Black | Bright Red (spectrum red or winsor red depending on brand) | Alizarin Crimson hue or Quinacridone Magenta | Ultramarine Blue | Bright Yellow (spectrum yellow mid or winsor yellow mid depending on brand) | Indian Yellow. Optional oil colours to increase your range: raw sienna | burnt umber | Pthalo blue | prussian blue. We recommend buying ‘artist quality’ paints (Art Spectrum oils are a good, reasonably priced brand) or brands that have a ‘student quality’ (Winsor & Newton)

Our term classes are held in our spacious studios.

Our main studios are air-conditioned for year round comfort, and extra measures are in place for your health and well being.

Please read about our Covid-19 safe measures here.

Fees for adult classes exclude art materials.Click here to see a list of local art supply retailers.

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Course testimonials:

  • Matilda Michell is an outstanding teacher and artist. She is endlessly inventive, and excellent communicator and is incredibly helpful, She has a huge fund of knowledge about classical oil painting and visual art in general. She is also a wonderful painter herself. I have learned a vast amount and my painting has improved enormously under her tuition.
  • I love this course. Matilda is a natural teacher and such an accomplished artist.
  • Matilda is a highly knowledgeable and skilled teacher. It is a privilege to be taught be her.