Drawing and painting the moving figure with Emily Ball

Painting - Subject Led Drawing

Ref: SLW12320

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About this course

Learn to create a painterly expression of the subject rather than copying exactly what you see. Working initially from the model, develop your paintings from studies and memory and increase your confidence handling paint.

Course Description

This course is for those who want to move away from a traditional way of depicting the figure. It is ideal for anyone wanting to become more expressive and intuitive in the way that they work with paint. It is designed to help you expand your understanding of how to use paint in a way that is palpably like the subject, with energy and presence.

You will work fluidly and playfully with paint and develop the courage to paint directly onto canvas, paper or board without any planning or mapping out. The aim is to respond to the figure and create a painterly equivalent to the subject, rather than copying what you see.

During the course, you will make studies and work directly from the model to start off your paintings. You will then continue the paintings without the model, working from the studies and memory.

The tutor will give practical demonstrations in handling paint and selecting information. She will also give a talk and presentation of other artists' images to help inspire and clarify the ideas presented during the course, and she will support you with one-to-one tuition.

This course will challenge you to change your work, and develop the confidence to trust and understand the benefits of allowing the work to evolve and not be tidied and made ordinary.


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 model who will sit for the course.

What students need to bring

  • Lots of rags and mixing pots for large quantities of colour
  • For acrylic paint, it is advisable to buy mediums that delay the drying time and add extra shine to the paint surface (tutor recommends a Gloss Medium by Liquitex)
  • With oils it is possible to add Alkaflow (a Spectrum product but there are lots of others on the market that do the same job); this speeds up the drying time, makes it flow and adds shine to the surface of the painting. Oil or acrylic paints (tutor recommends the larger 200ml tubes, the Shop only stocks the regular size)
  • A good range of different size brushes (some big decorators' size ones as well as fine rigger brushes)
  • Zest It (low odour solvent)
  • Large palette, palette knives for mixing paint with
  • Three canvases, boards or prepared paper each of the same size – bring a size that you are comfortable with or you already have at home. You can also chat to the tutor when you arrive and then buy at the College Shop. The most important thing is that the canvases are of the same size.
  • Some drawing equipment will also be required: charcoal, eraser, white and black chalk, coloured chalks and coloured felt tip pens

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Good range of oil and acrylic paints, a good range of different size brushes
  • Zest It (low odour solvent)
  • Large palette, palette knives
  • Three canvases, boards or prepared paper
  • A good selection of drawing equipment such as charcoal, eraser, white and black chalk, coloured chalks and coloured felt tip pens
  • Available from tutor:
  • On this course the tutor will supply paper. This charge should be paid to the tutor before the end of the course, by cash or cheque.
Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio. This includes stout covered footwear, i.e. no open-toes or sandals..


Emily Ball

Emily Ball trained at Exeter and Surrey Universities and is director and tutor of Emily Ball at Seawhite Studio. Her book Painting and Drawing People - A Fresh Approach was published in 2009.


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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