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Painting: The First Step

Painting: The First Step

Central Saint Martins
Taught by
Roger Gill


This daytime beginners course has been designed for people who have an interest in painting and want to take the first steps towards the realisation of their artistic goals. You will get professional advice on materials and techniques and learn their connection to the work of renowned painters, past and present. 

You will work on landscape, figure and still life painting, for which we will supply the subject matter. With the expert advice from a tutor who is both a practising and exhibiting painter, there will be plenty opportunities for one-to-one advice and encouragement.

Topics covered

  • The first sessions will deal colour and the application and technical aspects of oil and acrylics.
  • You will create a direct, or "alla prima” painting each session. 
  • Students will learn to enjoy paint and its properties by using a variety of palettes and application methods.
  • The approach will become gradually more deliberate and measured, using more traditional layering techniques, including imprimitura, grisaille, and other types of under painting. 
  • You will explore the different qualities of transparent and opaque paints.

Students will be encouraged to make sketch books around particular themes between sessions. 


By the end of the course you will have explored a range of different techniques and approaches to painting using different subject matters. You will have acquired knowledge of historical and contemporary painting and should have produced a number of pieces created through applied techniques.

Who should take this course? 

  • The course is ideal for beginners who want to get started in the world of painting.
  • Those with some previous experience who need to reinvigorate their skills and boost their confidence will also benefit.
  • It is suitable for professionals and mature students who want to broaden their interest and venture into a completely new area.

Entry requirements: None

Level: Beginners

Follow up courses

The course runs throughout the year and can be used to strengthen your techniques until you feel prepared to venture into Painting: The Next Step, a more advanced course where you can develop your practice further towards more personal, experimental and professional levels.

Related courses

Should you not be able to attend during the week, you should also check our Beginners Painting course on Saturdays.


"An important part of my own personal development was achieved this term" - C Biss, December 2016

"I found 'Painting - the first step' extremely inspiring. The whole experience exceeded my expectations. I'm very grateful to Roger Gill who, over the course of 10 weeks, has helped me discover a new found passion for painting"  - K Burns, December 2016

"Thoroughly engaging with a tutor who knows what he's talking about" - J Selfridge, December 2016

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

Tutor Description

Roger Gill is an artist and tutor who works in London and who has exhibited in the UK and Europe. He teaches a number of drawing and painting courses at Central Saint Martins, including courses on life painting, oil painting techniques, portrait drawing and painting and bespoke one-to-one tuition.

To view Roger's work see


Please bring to the first session:

  • 2 canvasses 50cm x 40cm
  • A selection of earth colours: burnt umber, burnt sienna, raw umber, raw sienna, yellow ochre and titanium white. You can choose between oil painting and acrylics.
  • short painting brushes (2 large , 2 medium, 2 small)
  • flat painting brushes (2 large, 2 medium, 2 small)
  • bristle painting brushes (2 large, 2 medium, 2 small)

For the following sessions:

1.Paints (you can choose working with either oil paints or acrylics, or both):

  • lemon yellow, cadmium yellow and Indian yellow
  • cadmium red and alizarin crimson
  • ultramarine blue and cobalt blue
  • viridian green, violet, and raw umber
  • burnt sienna and raw sienna
  • yellow ochre, ivory and lamp black


  • lots of rags and tissues
  • jars with lids
  • palette knife. and white palette
  • linseed oil
  • liquin (speeds up drying time)
  • acrylic retarder (slows drying time)

For Health and Safety reasons students are not allowed to bring any solvents to the studio. We will provide low odour mineral spirits.

Any kind of spray products, turpentine or white spirits are banned from the building and the internal courtyard.

Available dates