Comprehensive oil painting course with John T Freeman

Painting - Oils

Ref: SSS10544


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About this course

Discover the fundamentals of painting with oils. Gain confidence using oils with brushes and knives, colour and tone theory, and the use of paint mediums.

Course Description

Gain confidence to express yourself in the medium of oil painting. You will cover portraiture and the figure, landscape, still life and abstraction and learn to use techniques and practical theory as a foundation to build upon regardless of which discipline you choose to pursue. This structured course is ideal for beginners and anyone with some basic experience who wish to further develop their techniques. You will be introduced to working within the Western Fine Art tradition which will enable you to understand and learn from the painters and paintings within the canon of Western Art.

Amongst the subjects covered will be:

Preparing the canvas, stretching and priming

Oil painting mediums

Brush techniques and the varieties of paint application

Structuring a painting: choosing the correct surface texture , preparing a ground, layering and developing appropriate techniques and working attitudes

The uses of glazing, scumbling and impasto

Traditional colour and tone mixes

The structure of the course will be based on exercises where you will make studies, under guidance, from master paintings and then apply the techniques to a suitable studio subject.

A feature of the Summer School is an immersive learning experience, with more time to develop your creativity and embrace further opportunities for creative development beyond your chosen course.

Several early evening creative sessions (5.10pm - 7pm) are planned throughout the week. Extra activities will differ this year in response to social distancing. A detailed timetable for your Summer School week will be given to you on arrival. This will include:

• Short inspirational talks by tutors and displays of their work

• Sign up for early evening tutor-led drawing sessions in the garden

• Time to relax or explore in the tranquil West Dean Gardens

• Take a break from your course with some free time on Tuesday afternoon, from 3.30-5pm

• Informal end-of-course group reviews and displays of students' work in studios


Timetable for Summer Schools

Several evening events are planned throughout the week, a detailed timetable for the summer schools will be given to you on arrival.

Arrival Day

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).

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 should vacate their rooms by 10am please.

Course Materials


  • On this course the College will supply a model who will sit for some of the course. Some materials including some gesso, hardboard panels, masking tape and ‘Zest It’ low odour white spirit will be provided to be shared amongst the group.

What students need to bring

  • 2 small glass pots
  • 1 Jar
  • Painting clothes
  • * The tutor recommends students use 'student' or 'college' quality oil paints, such as the Daler Rowney 'Georgian' range. If you can get the larger size tubes (75cl) in the earth colours and white before you arrive that will be helpful. Otherwise paints can be purchased at the Shop.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Painting Surfaces: Cut sheets of ordinary unprimed hardboard. Students to pay for boards they use at the shop.
  • Oil paint: (No alternatives can be used.)*
  • Colours: Titanium White, Ivory Black, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Raw Umber, French Ultramarine Blue, Viridian Green, Cadmium Yellow (hue), Cadmium Orange (hue), Cadmium Red (hue), Alizarin Crimson
  • Mediums: small bottle of pure turpentine, refined lindseed oil, re-touching varnish, low odour white spirit such as ‘Zest It’
  • Brushes
  • Canvases (NOT Daler boards) Sizes: Six 12x16 inches, one 20x15 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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