Painting flowers with oils with Natalie Toplass

Painting - Oils

Ref: SWE12053

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About this course

Observe, draw and paint the complex and captivating structures of flowers. Create translucent effects through layering oils. Learn simple methods of recording visual information.

Course Description

On this course you will refine your oil painting technique and creative vision to interpret flowers. From the fundamentals of sketching and colour, to composition, brushwork and experimenting with style, you will study and explore creative techniques to make a painting that is unique and personal.

Working from collected images, ie photographs, and fresh flowers from the Gardens, you will increase your understanding of composition, develop greater visual observational skills and become confident with your subject selection. Brush techniques are demonstrated from fine and delicate to blending and layering as you learn how to express yourself through your brushstrokes. Through structured exercises, demonstrations and individual attention the tutor will guide and support you. You will be encouraged to experiment. You will also be encouraged to take time to look at paintings in the group and discuss ideas and techniques. This group time is invaluable to help you reflect on, and further your understanding of, your own techniques as well as learn from other students.

At the end of the course, you will have a better understanding of drawing and painting, and you will have learnt how to layer with oil paints to create a translucent effect. You will also have developed your observational skills and learnt simple methods of recording visual information for you to continue with your practice at home.


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 course fee includes the cost of providing the following materials shared amongst the group: Zest it, masking tape, tracing paper, A4 paper and flowers.

What students need to bring

  • Bring any flower photographs that you have.
  • Rags
  • Overalls
  • Marl stick if you have one
  • Any items you may have from the list below including brushes and oil paints and canvas boards

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A selection of acrylic brushes starting fom size 3 including a rigger brush if possible.
  • A selection of oil paints including Black, White, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Raw Umber and Paynes Grey.
  • Low odour thinners and mediums
  • Acrylic paints for background colours
  • Rubber
  • Canvas boards
Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toed shoes or sandals.


Natalie Toplass

Natalie Toplass is a practising artist based in Shropshire. Natalie trained at Lancashire University and then completed a post graduate diploma in Stage Set Design at the Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff. Her work has been shown throughout Great Britain including the Royal Academy, Birmingham City Art Gallery, several Cork Street galleries in London, and the Judith Blacklock Gallery 83 in Knightsbridge. Natalie has been artist in residence, demonstrating and sharing her work for several years at Nature in Art in Twigworth, Gloucester, with schools around Shropshire and also various local art groups.


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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