Abstract painting – finding your voice with Robert Sosner

Painting - Subject Led

Ref: S4D11890

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About this course

Gain an in-depth insight into abstract art; explore form, narrative, composition, spatial relationships, colour, line and layering, to create different outcomes in your painting.

Course Description

Gain an in-depth insight into the various forms of picture construction and expressive possibilities in abstract art whilst you find your own voice within this exciting format. Learn to analyse pictorial elements including form and narrative, composition, spatial relationships, colour, line and layering. How these elements can be expressed and selected to create different outcomes in your painting. You should come with an open mind and a desire to experiment and express yourself freely.

Subjects include:

• Form and narrative – what is abstract form and how does it determine the direction and narrative of a painting?

• Composition – less is more – is this the way for me?

• Colour versus shape – is my painting colour focused or shape focused?

• Spatial relationships – what is space in abstract art – how is it defined and how can it be controlled within the confines of the picture rectangle?

The use of colour, line, layering and surface texture will be explored throughout.

The first part of the course will include exercises that encourage you to experiment with technical possibilities to achieve directed outcomes. During the second half you will develop your own choice of direction and outcomes based on the knowledge gained. Several themes will be suggested to support your choice.

Art historical and contextual examples will be used throughout and we will look at the work of Piet Mondrian, Henri Matisse, JoanMiró, Richard Diebenkorn, Robert Motherwell, Elsworth Kelly, Antoni Tàpies, Sandra Blow, Gillian Ayres and Chris Martin.

Your tutor will support you with demonstrations, group and one-to-one direction, and there will be opportunity for group discussions.

By the end of the course, you will have gained an understanding of how analysis and choice determines direction. You will have produced paintings on canvas that enable you to express your particular interest in abstract art and your work will have your personal expressive stamp on it.


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 until 9pm, 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


  • The course fee includes the cost of providing some fixative shared amongst the group.

What students need to bring

  • Water pots – jam jars/yogurt pots (some pots are available from the College)
  • Any items you may have from the available to buy list if you have them

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Charcoal and a graphite pencil
  • Acrylic paint minimum of 59ml tube: Cadmium Red Hue, Alizarin Crimson, Magenta, Ultramarine Blue, Pthalo Blue, Cobalt Blue, Cadmium Yellow Hue, Lemon Yellow, Black, Titanium White and a green of your choice.
  • A selection of brushes – round and flat head – quality of your choosing
  • One flat head brush 2 inches wide
  • Palette
  • Canvas – cotton duck, stretched canvas, stretchers
  • Paper, board clips, brushes
  • Scissors, PVA glue, palette
Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toes or sandals.


Robert Sosner

Robert studied painting at Chelsea School of Art and has been a recipient of a bursary from the Pollock Krasner Foundation, New York. He has taught artists throughout the film and broadcast media industries and is a mentor to local professional artists.


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

Courses of interest

Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or a Diploma in Art and Contemporary Crafts (10 three-day study blocks, over two years). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.

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