Still Life Painting | Masterclass

Go beyond direct painting to explore the vast potential of oils.

Date & Time

18th-22nd May 2020 | 10.00-17.00


LARA London
371 Clapham Road
London SW9 9BT
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Still life painting is a perfect way to learn all the different elements of oil painting from life. You will paint using the sight-size technique, exploring ways of depicting form, light, texture and atmosphere. You will be shown how oil paint can be used in layers to create paintings with depth and subtlety.

Aims of this Course

Over the week you will paint a few “alla prima” exercises which focus on particular aspects of painting, as well as producing two still life paintings which will be painted over multiple days.

The course will cover:

  • ​Colour theory
  • Values
  • Edges
  • Composition
  • Technical considerations of indirect painting

The Facilities

The Workshop Room is located within the main studio, allowing for the use of the facilities of the full-time school.


Simon recommends that if there are paints you are used to using, bring them along. He recommends the following as a good basic palette for still life.

  • White – Simon likes lead white, but for a less deadly and expensive option, titanium white is good.
  • Yellow Ochre – Old Holland Yellow Ochre Deep is good.
  • An earth red – Old Holland Light Red is a good general brown earth colour.
  • A transparent brown – Michael Harding Transparent Oxide Brown is good. Winsor & Newton Burnt Sienna is good too.
  • Black – Ivory Black* is a good all rounder.
  • Yellow – Cadmium Yellow * is best. Windsor & Newton Winsor Yellow is not a bad alternative. You want a strong yellow that tends towards orangey yellow rather than greeny lemony yellow.
  • Red – Cadmium Red* is best. Vermilion is lovely but unnecessary for still life. Any punchy red will probably do fine.
  • Alizarin – Old Holland Alizarin Crimson Lake Extra* is Simon’s alizarin of choice.
  • Ultramarine Blue* – Most seem to be fine.
  • Cerulean Blue – Or another blue that tends towards green rather than purple. Simon uses a cheap Cerulean Blue Hue colour from Maimeri most of the time.
  • Raw Umber – Most seem to be fine.

For Painting:

  • Palette*  Simon uses a wooden one, but any that isn’t white is fine. (if you are right-handed, please buy a left-handed palette and vice versa)
  • Canvas board* – An inexpensive option is Belle Arti cotton canvas panels, available from Jacksons. 24x30com or 30x40cm are good for little still lives. To any surface, unless it is already oil-primed, I strongly recommend adding an additional layer of primer (an acrylic-based gesso).
  • Brushes* – A mix of hogs and sables of different sizes. At least 5 of each, with at least one hog being about an inch wide, and at least one being small enough for finer detail. Synthetic brushes can be fine, but natural sables are hard to replicate
  • Medium  – Simon currently uses M Graham Walnut Alkyd Oil Medium and Refined Linseed Oil*. Liquin is another option, though some find the smell offensive.
  • Winsor and Newton Sansodor*, Sennelier Odour Free Mineral Spirits* or Jackson’s low odour solvent (odourless turpentine substitute for painting).  You cannot use turpentine within the studio
  • Metal dipper for medium* or bring a few empty clean jars for mixing medium in.
  • Flexible steel palette knife*
  • 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* or, 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.

Please note: all solvents must be taken home with you on the last day of the course. No paintings or drawings can be left at the studio for collection at a later date.

Learn from the best tutors

Simon Watkins

"To draw and paint from life is a privilege; it’s an opportunity to observe and communicate something of the world we experience"

£575.00 £495.00

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