Painting - Subject Led

Painting from life to abstraction with Chris Gilvan-Cartwright

Ref: S5D09543

Suitable for all

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About this course

Explore expressive figurative painting through colour, composition and mixed media. Led by an inspirational tutor and using the life model as a starting point to develop into bold figurative abstract paintings.

Course Description

This playful painting course explores expressive figurative painting through colour, composition, abstraction and mixed media techniques. You will start by making a series of quick drawings and painted studies from the life model, from these initial studies you will further develop and explore abstract figurative paintings by looking at form, colour, texture and scale. The course will help you to explore making bold and colourful design compositions, experiment with mixed media techniques and work on textural prepared surfaces and larger scale formats.

Over the five days you will broaden your knowledge of painting and increase your confidence in depicting the figure from both observation and abstraction. Gain knowledge of different approaches and techniques, and improve your ability to work on larger scale works. You will also understand how to increase visual impact of your paintings through bold design and expressive colour work.

Led by an inspirational tutor, you will be guided through demonstrations, exercises, discussion and one-to-one tuition which will help you develop your paintings and observation skills.

Working both from and without model a playful and practical approach to painting is encouraged on this partly structured course which covers:

Ideas and Inspiration

Acrylic painting techniques/expressive mark-making

Quick and expressive studies from a life model

Still to movement

Line to colour and bold compositions

Large scale paintings

Form, colour and abstraction

Contextual references looking at contemporary paintings for inspiration

Discussion and encouragement of your ideas and approaches

Practical sessions

Tutor feedback


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 model who will sit for the course.
  • Cartridge paper, newprint paper, water spray.

What students need to bring

  • Any items from the list below you may have.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • White cartridge paper 300gm, brown parcel paper, acrylic paints, a range of brushes (including large household brushes), black Indian ink (water resistant), coloured inks, oil pastels, charcoal, graphite stick, palette knife, scissors, PVA glue or pritt stick


Chris Gilvan-Cartwright

Chris Gilvan-Cartwright, aka The Baron Gilvan, is a painter, performer and animator.
Graduating from Central St Martins he won the Royal Overseas League bursary to paint in India and Nepal. He designed the BBC Proms logos for two seasons, has exhibited extensively and performed at the Jerwood Gallery Hastings. Chris also trained at Kracow Academy of Fine Arts, Poland, and University of Brighton. He has taught over 20 years from Foundation to Degree level. Chris is a member of Central Illustration Agency and has illustrated 20 children's books, including 'Becoming Me', Frances Lincoln Publishing.


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

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