Introduction to Oil Painting | Workshop

Learn to paint from life using four limited colour palettes, studied one at a time.

Date & Time

Sundays during term | 10.00-17.00


LARA London
371 Clapham Road
London SW9 9BT
Bring me there

In this five to ten week course, you will be introduced to the challenging medium of oil paint through the most fundamentally important exercise there is: the alla prima colour study.

There are four limited colour palettes that you will be introduced to (grisaille, temperature, Zorn and full-colour), and you will tackle a single limited palette over a five week period.

If you are a beginner this course will bridge the gap between drawing and painting and for the more advanced student it will awaken a fuller understanding of how to tackle painting from life.

We recommend you complete two terms (twenty Sundays) to achieve a good understanding of the hierarchy and importance of each aspect of colour and how to use this in your own work. You will learn which aspects of colour to prioritise to get you the most effective results.

This course will not be taught using the sight-size technique.

You are welcome to repeat any palette until the main ideas are mastered.

Course layout

Week 1 – Introduction to the new palette – painting from simple still life
Week 2 – Demo in the morning – simple colour study from life
Week 3 – Palette study for the day from life
Week 4 – Palette study for the day from life
Week 5 – Palette study for the day from life

If you book onto 8 flexible sessions, please ensure you are able to attend for the first and the sixth sessions of the term, so that you can be introduced to your new palettes (except if you are planning to repeat a palette.)

This course requires a minimum number of enrolments to run.

Aims of this Course

The four core learning limited palettes taught on the LARA Curriculum and why they are built the way they are.

  • Colour theory: the Munsell colour system and its relevance to representational painting
  • The hierarchy of colour effects and how to approach painting efficiently and effectively
  • The idea and importance of value and its importance in depicting reality
  • The idea of colour temperature and how we can use it to craft powerful colour relationships
  • Skin tones and their relationship to colour harmony
  • Alla prima brushwork and how to manipulate paint efficiently and effectively wet into wet
  • This workshop will focus on providing students with the necessary tools to tackle any colour problem presented to them, and to design an appropriate palette

The Facilities

This course takes place in the same figure room as the Foundation and Diploma course and therefore benefits from the excellent studio facilities.

We have a range of high quality CRI light options, all the way from soft and hard artificial lights of differing temperature. Resulting in the truest skin tone and recreating the similar lighting conditions used in atelier studios though out the years.

Limited to 15 students, this is a wonderful opportunity for close instruction under a professional tutor.

Booking Options

You can choose to study for five weeks, eight weeks or ten weeks.

Please note there is a break of one Sunday halfway through, after the first five consecutive Sundays, when there will be no session. Class resumes as normal the week after.

5 consecutive Sundays
Full-day (one hour lunch break)

8 Sundays – flexible throughout the 10 weeks (noting the midway break), except the first and sixth which students must attend
Full-day (one hour lunch break)

10 consecutive Sundays – with midway break
Full-day (one hour lunch break)


Please bring the following materials with you. Items marked with an asterisk are stocked in the LARA shop. Please call ahead if you would like to reserve items to ensure availability.

Oil Paint:

  • Titanium White* – PW6
  • Ivory Black* – PBk 9
  • Transparent Red Oxide*

These are the pigments needed for the first term of this course, covering the grisaille and temperature palettes. The tutor will advise on the additional paints you will need for the second term.

We highly recommend Old Holland, Williamsburg, C Roberson, Blockx, Vasari and Winsor and Newton (cheapest option)

For Painting

  • Balanced wooden arm palette* (if you are right handed, please buy a left handed palette, and vice versa)
  • Stretched linen canvas* or gesso panel 4 canvases – either sized 14″x18″ or 18″x24″ approximately. It’s advisable to bring an extra canvas for each painting,  to help transport your painting safely home. The workshop will deal with imprimaturas, so don’t worry about that in advance.
  • Small (roughly A4 size) canvas cut-off, panel or canvas paper* – for colour study
  • Hog bristle brushes*  (overall a good selection of hog brushes should be used.  The more brushes, the easier it is to keep colour mixes clean. A variety of sizes is essential for handling large areas of the painting as well as small details. A total of 9 brushes – 3 x small (size 2), 3 x medium (size 6) and 3 x large (size 10).
  • Soft Brushes* – brushes for creating soft edges and manipulating paint. You can go for sable brush or badger hair.  1 fan brush and 1 medium-sized filbert
  • Flexible steel palette knife*
  • Hand mirror (clear)*
  • Refined Linseed Oil*
  • Winsor and Newton Sansodor*, Sennelier Essence Sans Odour or Jackson’s low odour solvent (odourless turpentine substitute for painting). You cannot use turpentine within the studio.
  • Airtight metal brush cleaner or jam jar (jam jars must be clearly labelled with your name, course and solvent it contains)
  • Metal dipper* for medium
  • A good supply of kitchen roll* for cleaning brushes
  • Tupperware tub for keeping paints overnight
  • Something to carry your wet paintings home with on the last day, for example, a canvas carrier*. If you are unable to find one, another canvas of the same size can be strapped to the front to keep the painting safe while being transported.


‘Charlie is a very knowledgeable tutor. He has a well-structured course format and is able to conduct the course according to the individual abilities of the participant’ – Katrina Rembiasz, Introduction to Oil Painting student 2019

‘Excellent teaching- inspiring, educational and very approachable and encouraging’ – Felicity Starr, Introduction to Oil Painting student 2019

Learn from the best tutors

Charlie Pickard

"Art making is fundamentally a creative endeavour. We must not forget this as we embark on our academic training. Every method learnt must be valued not only on how accurate an effect can be obtained but also on how much freedom it allows"

From: £425.00

Start your course by selecting your preferences.