Oil painting from the life model

Weekend-long practical course

Courses and Classes

● Fully booked

  • 18 November 2017, 10.30am — 5.30pm
  • 19 November 2017, 10.30am — 5.30pm

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Unidentified British Artist (formerly attributed to William Etty R.A.), Kneeling female nude viewed from the back, c.1850?.

Oil paint over pencil and chalk on wove paper. 56.70 x 48.40 cm. Photo credit: © Royal Academy of Arts, London; Photographer: John Hammond.

Learn the practical methods, tools and techniques of using oil paint, while working directly from a life model, in this exciting weekend-long workshop led by award-winning artist Andy Pankhurst.

The mixing of linseed oil with coloured pigments was first documented in the Middle Ages; most notably by Theophilus, the author of De Diversis Artibus, a treatise on Christian arts and crafts. The Renaissance artist and art historian Giorgio Vasari incorrectly and famously attributes the invention of oil painting to the Flemish artist Jan Van Eyck from the early 15th century. However, it is true that he was an innovator of his time, painting with the richness and depth of colour that characterises the medium of oil, rather than the traditional use of tempera prevalent during this period.

Oil paint from then onward was mostly built up in thin transparent layers known as glazes. This method further developed through the 16th, 17th, 18th and beginning of the 19th centuries. An added combination of thick impasto and opaque paint with expressive brush work is exemplified by the Royal Academy’s first president Sir Joshua Reynolds and fellow Royal Academician Thomas Gainsborough during the 18th century and can be seen in John Constable and J.M.W. Turner’s work in the first half of the 19th century. Simultaneously, artist’s works could alternatively be flat, smooth and with no visible evidence of brush marks.

Direct painting alla prima (without any glazes), where colours are mixed on and from the palette, established roots among artists of the 16th century. It began to flourish with the invention of the manufactured metallic tube in the middle of the 19th century, whereupon the painter could easily transport the colours outside of the confines of the studio. Impressionism was soon born. Through all of the -ism’s of the 20th century, the medium of oil paint, with its physical presence and properties, is still as fresh and relevant today as when initially discovered.

Working under the guidance of painter and expert tutor Andy Pankhurst, participants will paint directly from life models in this exciting two-day course, exploring both the classical and more contemporary methods, tools and techniques for working with oil paints.

This course is set in the purpose-built Learning Studio at the Royal Academy in Burlington House.

● Fully booked

● Cancelled

  • 18 November 2017, 10.30am — 5.30pm
  • 19 November 2017, 10.30am — 5.30pm

Learning Studio, Burlington House, Royal Academy

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