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Fundamentals of Painting | Still life to the Human Form in Oils with Michael Simms

Learn the fundamentals of oil painting, with a focus on still life and the human figure. Following a step-by-step approach, students will begin with basic still life objects and then 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 still life objects, then progress to individual body parts and facial features, as well as one major work depicting a figure.

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.

What to expect

Suitable for all skill levels, the course provides a fun and relaxed environment to explore the following:
• Understanding the essentials of tone and colour theory.
• Painting techniques, ranging from ‘alla-prima’ to building up layers, glazing and scumbling.
• How to lay a strong foundation for a painting.
• Basic anatomy.
• 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 still life and individual body parts and facial features, as well as one major work over the course.

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 an introductory course first.

Material List

• 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 x 600mm ideal).
• Oil painting colours: titanium white, raw umber, yellow ochre, cadmium red, ivory black. (Additional options include Ultramarine Blue and Alizarin Crimson).

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

About studio classes

Our class sizes are small, ensuring you receive the individual tuition you need. We have a maximum of 12 students per class.

Unless otherwise noted, prices *exclude* art materials. Click here to see a list of local art supply retailers.

To learn about our studios, kitchen facilities and how to get there, click here.


Use Vouchers and Save

Art Est accepts the NSW Creative Kids Voucher, Parents NSW Voucher, and Australian Partners of Defence member discounts. You must use your voucher or membership at the time of booking. To book with a Service NSW voucher, you will need to book over the phone or with our voucher booking form. Please note: we cannot accept the Service NSW vouchers via our online checkout. 

To find out what vouchers or discounts you can use on your class and how to book with these, visit our special offers page:

Special Offers  

More Information

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$620 Limited inc GST
Fundamentals of Painting | Still life to the Human Form in Oils with Michael Simms

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Early Bird Discount: Enrol by 4 July 2022 to receive 5% off on your term fees. Discount automatically applied at the checkout.

Bonus: Enrol in Fundamentals of Drawing with Michael Simms also and receive 10% discount on both courses. Fee includes model.

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