Colour, tone and division – thinking visually about painting with Matthew Collings

Painting - Subject Led

Ref: S5D11906

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About this course

What makes a painting worth looking at? Explore visual intensity through investigation of colour, tone and division, to enhance the visual power of your paintings.

Course Description

Think visually about painting and focus on what makes it worth looking at and what gives it visual intensity, regardless of the subject. Through a series of exercises investigate colour, tone and division, to enhance the visual power of your paintings.

The subject matter can be anything you like or there can be a complete absence of subject, the point of thinking visually is to focus on the question of what makes a painting worth looking at, what gives it visual intensity, regardless of the subject.

Through a series of exercises, three ideas about visual meaning will be investigated: colour, tone and division (or dividing up the canvas so that there is an efficient layout with which to work).

At the end of the week, you can expect to have produced one painting in your chosen medium that you feel has visual power, plus supporting try-outs that demonstrate the thinking that went into the final work.


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

What students need to bring

  • Please bring one reproduction of any painting from history, modern art or pre-modern, which you feel is visually powerful. This will be analysed during the course of the week, from different points of view.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Canvas up to A1 (you can bring larger if you like, up to four feet (1.2m)
  • Painting materials, oil or acrylic
  • Drawing materials of any kind, including paper ranging from small to large sheets
  • Scissors, masking tape, tracing paper
Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toed shoes or sandals.


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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