Painting – colour, composition and tonal values – colour with Estelle Lovatt

Ref: D1D33757

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About this course

What may seem complicated about the three most important elements of great works of art – Colour, Composition and Tonal Values, your tutor makes easy to understand and breaks down into a simple concept to confidently apply.

This workshop will focus on Colour and is the first session of a group of four days that can be booked individually or as a group.

Course Description

Developing and following considered plans of action through Composition, Colour and Tonal Values prepares you for successful painting.

This session will focus on Colour, looking at different colour palettes that artists have used historically. A mirror will be provided for a self-portrait study.

Progressing awareness and understanding of the three-dimensional world captured on a two-dimensional surface, it’s analysis of composition and design, colour theory and temperature, with tonal values, that effects your own individualistic, personal, unique voice and style, making your art stronger.

Through smart studio practice, experimental mark-making and investigative drawing, to how best to organise yourself and set up in order to be your most productive and effective, all inspired by a variety of Masters’ proven methods that support all pictorial objectives, whatever your favoured style of art.

This will progress your capability and ability to think critically and understand just what it is that makes a great work of art, work. Realised by looking at great masterpieces throughout art history from the beginnings of Western Art Renaissance to today’s Contemporary masters, is to learn from the best art mentors.

And to transcribe, not necessarily copy, an image (from the National Gallery, on the final session) best equips you with the knowledge to invent your very own creative process, inspiring and challenging the artist within you to explore, and imaginatively learn how to ‘see’.

All the time evolving your own, individualistic, personal artistic style, helping you grow and develop your practice, elevating the quality of your artwork to make it the best it can be. (*Artists are encouraged to bring in a work-in-progress artwork, so your tutor can offer expert guidance and insights to elevate your artistic journey.)

Helping you apply the important things that make a work of art better, you will master the skills of Colour, Composition and Tonal Values that will best suit your ways of working, so that your artwork doesn’t look like a poor copy of someone else’s…The art world doesn’t need another Picasso, it needs you!

This is part of a series of four sessions that focus on Colour in week 1, Composition in week 2, Tonal Values in week 3 and inspiration from the National Gallery in week 4. These can be taken as a group or individually.

Course Materials


On this course, the College will supply some of the materials, including paper and acrylic paint in a variety of colours.

What students need to bring

Dry art materials, painting materials – paints of your choice (oils, acrylics, etc.), brushes, water pots, palettes, mediums and studio safe solvent such as Sansodor or Zest It if you are using oil paints.

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no sandals or open toes).


Daily Timetable

Course teaching day 11am–5.15pm
Students arrive between 10.30am-11am (coffee optional)  
Morning teaching starts at 11am 
Lunch break between 1pm-2pm (lunch is not included)
Afternoon teaching starts at 2pm (15 minute tea break, 3.30pm–3.45pm)
Teaching finishes 5.15pm  

General Information

Short courses are open to anyone aged 18 and over. The course fee covers tuition and materials where stated. You will need to bring all other items listed under the ‘Materials to bring’ section.


Coffee and tea are included in the course fee, but you will need to bring lunch with you to eat in the refreshments room. There are also plenty of other local venues to purchase food.


If you have any specific access needs, we will need to know about your access requirements in advance. Please tell us about your needs in confidence by emailing: [email protected] This venue has steps to the front reception, with limited access via a side gate to the ground floor. There is a small lift to higher floors or stairs.


Short course students are required to sign a safety compliance form as part of West Dean Health and Safety regulations.

Refunds and cancellations

Please refer to our terms & conditions below.


The information given is accurate at the time of publication. However, West Dean College reserves the right to cancel or amend courses if circumstances require.

Terms & Conditions


Estelle Lovatt

Estelle trained at Byam Shaw (absorbed by Central Saint Martins).  With 35+ years of experience, she teaches with expert opinion. 

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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 advance your learning with our BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft: Materials, Making, and Place (six years part-time). 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.