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Oil Painting Level 1 Short Course

Course description

Oil Painting Level 1 is suitable for those new to oil painting and those with some experience, the course will build your painting skills and confidence in the medium of oil paint.

We will throw light on the materials and processes involved, and have you working from still life right from the beginning with particular emphasis given to painting without the use of drawing or preparatory line.

We will look at a range of techniques, including mixing colour, understanding colour harmonies, using different surfaces, glazing and various paint application methods. You will then go on to working on self-directed projects whilst guided through interpreting your initial sketches and concepts, as well as organising them into a plan.

Course outcomes

Youll leave the course with a body of work and youll have more awareness of the diverse concepts and production of the generic process of oil painting. Many people move on to Oil Painting Short Course: Level 2 upon completion of this course.

Who should attend

Those who wish to develop the skills to express themselves through the medium of oil painting.

Clear, easy to understand lessons:

  • Our tutors will explain things in easy to understand, accessible English. If they need to use any special terminology they will make sure they explain what they mean.
  • New methods will be shown to students through live demonstrations, in a way that's clear and easy to understand.
  • Experience life on campus
  • Network and share ideas with students from across the globe
  • Access the technology and materials relevant to your discipline
  • Shop in our college shops for any materials you might need
  • Ask questions of your tutor in real time
  • Receive feedback and critique on your assignments
  • Experience the many sights of London on your down time

A certificate of completion:

  • You've put the work in so we want to make sure you have something to show for it!
  • As long as you attend a minimum of 80% of your classes, we will provide you with a certificate of attendance.
  • We always recommend you attend all of the classes so that you get the most out of the experience!
  • Certificates are great to compliment your cv.

Available dates

Enquire about this course and we will contact you when new dates are published.


Topics covered:

  • Imprimatura to create an under painting
  • Colour theory and mixing colour
  • Drawing with paint
  • Creating form and space using colour
  • Glazing and scumbling
  • Various paint application methods
  • Balance and Harmony in painting
  • Using different mixing mediums


Please bring the following materials with you on the first day:

  • Palette and palette knife
  • An A2 canvas board*
  • Any objects you might like to see in a still life
  • Linseed oil (not Stand Oil)
  • An apron or old shirt to protect your clothes
  • 2 empty glass jars for your medium
  • Selection of brushes - bristle and/or synthetic (see pdf for further details)
  • Selection of Oil Paints (see below for further details)

Please note that studio safe solvent and medium is provided by the college. Students are advised not to bring their own products for health and safety purposes.

*While an A2 canvas board is recommended by the tutor, you are welcome to bring additional boards, canvases or other painting surfaces in your preferred size or shape.

Oil Paints


  • Titanium White (large tube)
  • Ivory Black (or Lamp Black)
  • Lemon Yellow,
  • Cadmium Red or Cadmium Red Light
  • Quinacridone Red (can be Rose Madder or Magenta)
  • French Ultra Marine Blue or Cobalt Blue
  • Burnt Umber Brown
  • Yellow Ochre

Further recommendations:

  • Naples Yellow
  • Cerulean Blue
  • Phthalo Blue
  • Manganese Purple
  • Viridian Green

For general painting we would recommend using the following brushes and sizes:

  • Flat Brushes (long flat/ flat) sizes: 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20
  • Round Brushes (pointed) sizes: 2, 4, 6
  • Filbert Brushes sizes: 3, 5, 8
  • Rigger sizes: 2, 4

Brush sizes are dictated by the size of the painting you are working on, so please scale up as necessary. Oil painting brushes usually have long handles, but the smaller sizes used for detail may have shorter ones. Hog hair brushes are traditional and great to use, but good quality synthetic ones can be just as good.

Please note - Students should make arrangements to take their work home at the end of the course. Any work that is left in the studio, during or after the course, is at a student’s own risk. In such circumstances students should ensure that work is clearly labelled with their name, course title and dates. Work will be kept for no longer than one month after the end of the course. Please note that we are unable to arrange for the delivery of your work, but would be very happy to prepare this ready for collection should you wish to arrange for a courier.

Most materials needed for the short courses are available at the Chelsea College of Arts' Art Shop. Please contact the Art Shop directly for opening hours and availability.

Meet the Tutor:

Oil Painting - Level 1 is suitable for those new to oil painting and those with some experience, the course will build your painting skills and confidence in the medium of oil paint.

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