Painting - Water Based

Acrylics workshop – mood, light and atmosphere with Brian Smith

Ref: S3D09317


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About this course

Be bold with acrylic paints to create dramatic strong images, imply and suggest, and use detail where appropriate. Produce both small quick studies and larger finished pieces as you develop your painting knowledge and techniques.

Course Description

Acrylics are a versatile media in that they allow you to play with tone, colour and texture. Acrylics can be successfully applied to paint both the smaller details and larger implied and suggested brushmarks and subjects. On this course the tutor will help you explore your options so that you can make paintings with greater vitality and life.

You will explore mark-making techniques and how to use them to create interest. Subject selection is personal, but the tutor will challenge this to nudge you out of your comfort zone so that you can create more individual and exciting work.

You will learn how to use warm and cool areas in your painting to create focus. The degree of detail is personal, generally 'less is more' to allow the viewer to have input into your work. With acrylics you can be bold with colour. Working from dark to light enables you to alter your end result as your work progresses. Options are endless, flexibility is key. The tutor will share these and other guidelines and rules when using acrylics. He will also help you to expand your choice and encourage you to look at the alternatives - not to play safe all the time.

By the end of the course you will have produced five or six studies of both landscape and structured work. You will have gained confidence in working with acrylics, and knowledge and tips to produce exciting paintings full of life and atmosphere.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials

What students need to bring

  • Pre prime a couple of boards (A5, A4 or A3) with an irregular base wash of raw sienna or yellow ochre.
  • Please bring any of the materials listed below should you have them and feel free to bring any other materials you think will be useful. The list below is intended as a guide only.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • 5 or 6 boards or stretched canvas (primed cotton or linen) sizes from A5 to A3
  • Paints - there are lots of choices but here are a few suggestions: Amsterdam, Golden, Liquitex acrylic paints. The College shop sells Schminke acrylic paints.
  • Colours 3 or 4 blues, 3 or 4 reds, 2 or 3 yellows, black, grey, green, violet, brown, titanium white, zinc white
  • Brushes - 2 or 3 flats, 2 filberts, 2 rounds, 1 soft blender
  • Stay wet palette
  • 1 tub of Gesso
  • 2 palette knives
  • Pencils 4B
  • Plastic rubber
  • 1 tube watercolour paint - Light Red or Burnt Sienna (the shop sells Schminke and Winsor & Newton)


Brian Smith

People and Architecture are the main focus of Brian's watercolours striving to capture mood, light and atmosphere in daily life. His paintings have been exhibited at The Mall, Bankside and the RWA Bristol gaining awards. He has written articles for International Artist, The Artist and Leisure Painter magazines. He now demonstrates and tutors Watercolour nationally.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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