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Online | Fundamentals of Painting the Human Form in Oils with Michael Simms

Course Overview

Learn the fundamentals of oil painting, with a focus on the face and figure. Through following a step-by-step approach, students will develop the skills required to successfully capture the human form with oil paints – while also exploring their own artistic instincts. In this course students will complete a series of painted studies of individual body parts and facial features, as well as one major work over the 8 weeks.

Your tutor Michael Simms is a multi-award winning artist based in Sydney whose work is characterised by dream-like depictions of the human figure. His classes will consist of painting demonstrations, talks and individual feedback. Students will paint from a combination of master copies, photographic reference, and a live model when in-person classes return.

What to expect

Suitable for all skill levels, the course provides a fun and relaxed environment to explore the following:

• How to lay a strong foundation for a painting depicting the human form.
• Basic anatomy.
• Understanding the essentials of tone and colour theory.
• Painting techniques, ranging from ‘alla-prima’ to building up layers, glazing and scumbling.
• Mixing dynamic flesh tones with ease.
• Painting clothing.
• Lighting, atmosphere, expression and how to build confidence in your creative instincts.

What you will achieve

Students will complete a series of painted studies of individual body parts and facial features, as well as one major work over the 8 weeks.

Is this course right for me?

This course is suitable for beginners as well as more experienced students who wish to develop their portrait and figure painting skills. Students should already be comfortable painting with oils. If you have painted with acrylics and are keen to try oils, then you will learn how to paint in oils through this course. Absolute beginners who have never painted before should complete and introductory course first.

Materials list

For online classes taught via zoom, you will need:

  • Easel
  • Set up in an area with good light
  • The ability to take photos of work in progress (i.e. mobile phone)

Art materials required:

• 1 bottle of odourless solvent (Gamsol preferred).
• 1 bottle of linseed oil.
• At least 2 empty jars.
• A palette knife
• Willow charcoal and kneadable eraser
• Rags and a roll of paper towel
• Palette
• Brushes: flat brushes, sizes 4, 10, 20 or similar.
• Students will need several canvases to work on throughout the term. Fredrix Canvas pads are ideal for quality painting sketches that we will do in the first few weeks (at least 305mm x 407mm), or unstretched canvas stuck to cardboard/wooden backing is also fine.
• One stretched canvas for a larger work (420 × 600mm ideal).
• Oil painting colours: titanium white, raw umber, yellow ochre, cadmium red, ivory black. (Additional options include Ultramarine Blue and Alizarin Crimson).

We recommend buying ‘artist quality’ paints (Art Spectrum oils are a good, reasonably priced brand) or brands that have a ‘student quality’ (Winsor & Newton)

This class will run online

Due to Sydney’s COVID-19 restrictions, our classes have been designed to run online. Click here to see our detailed guide to setting up, and having a smooth online class.

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

Read FAQs Terms + Conditions

$600 Limited inc GST
Online | Fundamentals of Painting the Human Form in Oils with Michael Simms

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Enrol by 10 October and receive 5% discount on your course fees. Our classes are all held online via zoom.

If there isn't a class to suit you, please the waiting list.