Painting - Subject Led

Life painting – five approaches with John T Freeman

Ref: S5D08855


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About this course

Explore five distinct approaches towards life painting: the classical tradition, the singular stroke, the painted line, the expressive stroke and the form abstracted. Utlilise the methods and attitudes of artists representative of key periods in the evolution of the painted figure. Learn how to apply past techniques to discover new strategies within your own work.

Course Description

John introduces you to five different approaches to life painting and considers attitude, technique and method of each one. Five artists, including Edvard Munch, Walter Sickert , Max Beckmann, Richard Deibonkorn and Roger Hilton, have been selected to represent key developments in painting the nude. They have been chosen specifically to help place painting the nude in an art historical context as well as introduce you to a wide range of both subjective and objective responses. The responses range from analytical, colourist, narrative, expressive and abstracted.

On this intensive course John teaches techniques supported by contextual theories that will help you to improve your oil painting skills, knowledge and understanding of the nude, as well as review and reflect on your own painting approach. Techniques will be demonstrated, constructive critique sessions and one to one support will help you learn from other students, raise important questions about your work, and to gain confidence in your ideas and ways to develop them further.

Working from the same model each day will provide further opportunity to compare and contrast different painting approaches as you gain confidence in your work and learn new techniques.

The classical tradition

The use of tone and paint mediums. Building up of layers and surfaces. Thick over thin, impasto, scumbling, glazing.

The singular stroke

The use and application of colour and the awareness of the painted surface.

The painted line

Drawing with paint.

Exploring the balance between painting and drawing.

The expressive stroke

The tactile and expressive qualities of oil paint.

The dynamic useage of the medium.

The introduction of feeling and empathy within the application of brushstrokes.

The form abstracted

Liberating the form; distilling essence; recreating and rediscovering.

By the end of the week you will have increased confidence in your technical ability in painting, observation and art appreciation. Through developing technical abilities on this course you will realise your full potential as a painter.


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


  • The course fee includes the cost of providing a life model throughout the course

What students need to bring

  • Jam jar
  • Paint rag/toilet tissue
  • Old clothes or overalls should be worn

Available to buy

  • Oil colours needed:
  • Ivory Black, Titam white (large tube), Cadmium Red, Cadmium Orange, Cadmium Yellow, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Raw Umber, Yellow Ochre, Lemon Yellow, Alizarin Crimson, Viridian Green, French Ultramarine Blue
  • Paint mediums (small bottles):
  • Re-touching Varnish, Damar Varnish, Refined Linseed Oil, Stand Oil, White Spirit 1 litre, Turpentine
  • Palette Knives
  • Brushes (bring all that you have and any others that are needed will be available in the College Shop)
  • Canvases (no daler boards)
  • These will be available in the shop but please bring - Sizes approximately
  • 4 x 36x26 inches 5 x24x31 inches 5x 16x20 inches


John T Freeman

John T. Freeman was born in London 1958 and trained at Bath Academy of Art ( Corsham ) and Chelsea School of Art . He has taught since 1985 as a freelance tutor and lecturer to all levels of ability across a wide spectrum including the computer games industry , Lion Head and Media Molecule , Hurtwood House School, Watts Gallery, Tate Britain, and the Prince of Wales Drawing School.


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

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