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Art Theory for Traditional Painting (Online Short Course)

Art Theory for Traditional Painting (Online Short Course)

Central Saint Martins
Taught by
Vaishali Prazmari


How did the old masters from both East and West create their paintings? The short course explores the content and context of these fascinating and beautiful artworks. You will delve deep into each art form and examine it from different angles.

You will learn how traditional artworks were created using the materials available in their times. You will explore everything from Western Medieval illuminations to Chinese ink paintings and interpret the relationship between words and image. With your tutor, you will identify and analyse various techniques, including gilding and calligraphy.

You will be introduced to techniques in weekly online classes and set assignments to complete during the week. You will discuss these ideas in class together with your tutor and build up a holistic picture of traditional painting techniques.

At the end of the course you will have a foundational knowledge of traditional and historic painting techniques which you can employ when looking at real-life examples in museums and galleries worldwide. You could apply your knowledge to any career in the arts or to further study in fine art, art history or art theory.


  • Traditional and historic painting techniques
  • Traditional techniques, content and historic context of Western oil painting
  • Techniques, content and context of Western Medieval painted book arts and illuminations
  • Techniques, content and context of Eastern miniature painting
  • Techniques, content and context of Eastern painting on paper and scroll
  • Surface preparation including different papers, canvas, parchment and silk
  • Variety of tracing and transferring techniques
  • Drawing, ink and illumination techniques
  • Gold gilding and calligraphic techniques
  • Brushwork techniques, tools and equipment
  • Pigments and paint making techniques
  • Paint application techniques, application of mediums and varnishes
  • Colour, composition, design and framing theory and ideas
  • Rendering, shading and outlining techniques

Course Outcomes:
By the end of the course you will have;

  • Acquired a foundational knowledge of the basic traditional and historic painting techniques
  • Been exposed to a variety of different methods used, including surface preparation, tracing techniques and brushwork
  • Become familiar with the variety of materials, tools and equipment used
  • Developed confidence in assessing traditional and historic artworks in terms of their content and context
  • A basic understanding of colour, composition and framing theory
  • Acquired an appreciation of how different art forms developed and influenced each other through cultural exchange

Who is Art Theory for Traditional Painting (Online Short Course) for?
This course is perfect for anyone working in the arts including professional artists, illustrators, designers, antiquarians, historians and librarians. It is also ideal for students and anyone who wants to learn about different painting cultures and increase their knowledge and appreciation of different art forms.

Level: All Levels

Why choose an CSM Online Short Course
Our online learning short courses allow you to experience Central Saint Martins wherever you are in the world. The real-time chat sessions are fully interactive allowing you to communicate easily with the tutor at the same time as fellow students. Additionally all CSM Online Short Courses include;

  • Live sessions with expert
  • Lesson recordings
  • Practical assignments
  • Personal feedback
  • VLE with course content
  • Forums for support
  • 3 months online access
  • CSM Certificate upon completion

Please note that all courses are taught in UK time. To check and compare times please click here

Please note: This course is for students aged 18 and older
Please note that Online courses are closed to all new bookings 48 hours prior to the course starting.

Tutor Description

Vaishali Prazmari is an artist incorporating Western and Eastern (Persian, Indian and Chinese) elements into her work. These Silk Road traditions are epitomised in Islamic, Safavid Persian and Mughal Indian miniature paintings. She brings historic painting to life for a wider audience through her roles as artist, educator and curator: and is a seasoned tutor having taught all ages at all levels. Born in London, she has lived on an island in Hong Kong, Paris, has exhibited nationally and internationally and she currently lives and works in London.

Vaishali holds degrees from the Slade School of Fine Art (oil painting) and the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts and a History MA in Medieval and Renaissance Studies (UCL) specialising in floating islands. She studied traditional Persian and Indian miniature painting at PSTA where she has also taught and Chinese painting under a master in Hong Kong. She is currently pursuing a practice-led PhD at the Slade making 1001 artworks inspired by the 1001 Arabian Nights. Having studied the traditions of historic painting as well as today's contemporary art she is uniquely placed to offer these original courses blending the best of the East and the West.

Available dates