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Painting Art History with The Impressionists Short Course

Painting Art History with The Impressionists Short Course

Central Saint Martins
Taught by
Alice White


This unique course combines practical painting and drawing tuition with dynamic art-history lectures, to provide a fresh understanding of art education for all contemporary creatives.

Designed for those with intermediate-level painting and drawing skills, as well as beginners with an interest in how art history informs the studio practice, this course will show you how to articulate your ideas via the vivid use of colour, mark-making, and composition. You will learn how to express yourself like an Impressionist.

Structured around the remarkable collection currently on display at the National Gallery, your tutor will reveal how famous painters such as Monet, Degas, Van Gogh and Cezanne can be viewed as ‘Material Innovators’:- artists who engaged with experimental painting processes as a fundamental part of the creation of their artwork as a whole. 

It is essential that you attend the first session for an introduction to the course and an in-depth lecture on material practice in the history of Impressionist painting.

IMPORTANT TO NOTE: The first session of this course will commence at 10.00am at the National Gallery (the closest underground station is Charing Cross).  You will meet your tutor at the entrance to the Sainsbury Wing.


Topics covered

  • Mark-making techniques of the Impressionists 
  • Colour theory and its place in Impressionist painting 
  • Drawing at the National Gallery
  • Introducing art history into art practice 
  • Painting and mixed-media composition 

Who should take this course?

Intermediate/ Beginner Level painting and drawing students, or those from other creative fields.

Course Outcomes

This course is an opportunity for you to:

  • Develop both your critical and practical understanding of Impressionist artworks; how they are made, and their impact on contemporary art.
  • Attend energetic, informative art history lectures within both studio and Gallery environments.
  • Gain an understanding of the key skills required in using visual research practices.
  • Develop the confidence to employ your own creative skills, together with inspiration from existing artists, to create new artworks
  • Produce a number of compositional works in both painting and drawing materials which can be used in portfolios
  • Get advice on the potential next steps in your artistic journey.

Entry requirements: Students with basic drawing and painting skills in any medium, as well as those with a background in art history and curation, will find this course ideal. Painters who wish to develop their skills and understanding of art are invited to join.

Level: Intermediate, but Beginners may benefit also.

Please note: This course is for students aged 18 and older

Tutor Description

Alice White is a professional oil painter based in London. She has many years of experience teaching painting at Central Saint Martins. Courses that she teaches include Beginners Painting, Painting the Nude, Still Life and Contemporary Oil Painting.


Please bring with you to the first session:

  • An A5 Sketchbook
  • A range of drawing pencils (from 4H to 4b)
  • Putty Rubber
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Any of your favourite drawing/painting mediums, EXCLUDING chalk or pastels which will not be allowed in the gallery. (Permitted materials include: Felt tip pens, Colouring Pencils, Ink Pens)

For the remainder of the course:

  • An A3 portfolio or tube to carry work home with you
  • 1xPad A3 Paper Suitable for Acrylic Paint
  • Masking Tape
  • Willow charcoal
  • A palette with wells
  • A range of brushes of differing size and shapes
  • Kitchen towel or old rags to clean your brushes and palette
  • Water pot
  • A range of acrylic OR watercolour OR gouache paints (including Titanium white, Cadmium red, Alizarin crimson, Ultramarine blue, Cadmium yellow, Lemon yellow, Raw umber, Burnt umber)
  • Any of your favourite drawing/painting mediums (This can include Coloured crayons, Felt tip pens, Colouring Pencils, Pastels, Biros, Chalk pens, Ink Pens, Palette Knives, etc)
  • Optional:- 1x primed canvas board or small canvas the size(s) you want to work with. (e.g 30cm on the longest side)


Available dates