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How to build, prime and paint a canvas

Weekend-long practical course

Short courses

  • 27 October 2018, 10.30am — 5.30pm
  • 28 October 2018, 10.30am — 5.30pm

Book now
Part of our

Klimt / Schiele

events programme
Go to exhibition page

Sir Joshua Reynolds PRA (1723 - 1792), Studio Experiments in Colour and Media (detail).

This canvas was used by Sir Joshua Reynolds to experiment on gums, varnishes, oils and waxes as well as various pigments probably to record the effects of time on the colours and materials..

Oil on canvas. 609 mm x 509 mm x 13 mm. © Royal Academy of Arts, London; Photographer: Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd.

Led by award-winning painter and figurative artist Andy Pankhurst, this practical course will teach the traditional techniques used to build and prepare a canvas, as well as how to use oil paints to paint from life.

‘All good pictures crack!’
Sir Joshua Reynolds PRA (1723 – 1792)

Cave artists drew and painted on organic surfaces such as rock. Ancient Egyptian and Greco-Roman artists painted portraits onto linen to adorn mummy cases, as well as on prepared walls and rigid wooden panels with various media. Such techniques flourished into and throughout the Renaissance. It was not until the latter part of the fifteenth century and beginning of the sixteenth century, notably in Venice, that artists began to paint in earnest on stretched and prepared linen canvas.

The artist today has a far more varied choice of paints, supports and grounds to work with than in the past, including acrylic paint made with polymer binders rather than traditional oil, acrylic primers and gessos rather than carbonate of lead and linseed oil, and natural rabbit skin glue and calcium sulphate (chalk).

However, oil paint on canvas is still used in the same way as in Titian’s day and, one can argue, however much innovation and new technologies offer the artist, nothing has surpassed the permanence, beauty and tactility of oil paint on canvas.

An understanding of the methods and materials of the painter’s craft is essential for anyone who endeavours to paint. Knowledge of a picture’s structure can be fundamental to its success and longevity. This all begins with the support and the ground that the paint sits on.

This exciting two-day practical painter’s craft and life-painting course is led by artist and expert tutor Andy Pankhurst.

● Fully booked

● Cancelled

  • 27 October 2018, 10.30am — 5.30pm
  • 28 October 2018, 10.30am — 5.30pm

The Clore Learning Centre, Burlington Gardens, Royal Academy of Arts

£480. Includes all materials, lunch and a wine reception at the end of the first day.

Book now