Oil Painting – observation and colour from still life with Kate Hopkins

Ref: D3D33787

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About this course

An oil painting course, exploring colour and other key issues involved in painting from obervation.

Course Description

Colour will be thoroughly examined on this course which is packed with insights on perception of colour, colour mixing, as well as the practical use of oil paints.

This practical course introduces some key strategies that artists employ to deal with the challenges of painting from direct observation, with painting exercises designed to develop your practice, as well as your awareness of surprising issues of perception of size, shape and colour involved in representational painting.

From creating a still-life ‘set’, to effectively scrutinising scale, shape, tone and colour, this mind-bending course will help you to use colour to create illusions of light and form.

This course is suitable for all levels of experience. Some previous experience of drawing is helpful.

Course Materials


The College will provide still life materials and sets. All necessary equipment will be provided for use on the course.

What students need to bring

  • Oil paints: Cadmium Red, Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine Blue, Prussian or Phthalo blue, Cadmium Yellow, Lemon Yellow, Titanium White
  • Brushes: synthetic soft round pointed brush sizes 4 and 6, hog hair or similar, round, flat or filbert, sizes 4, 6 and 8 (Your tutor likes Rosemary ivory riggers)
  • Metal palette knife
  • Palette
  • 2 jam jars with lids
  • Low odour solvent (e.g. Sansodor, Shelsol or Gamsol)
  • Rags or paper towels
  • Linseed stand oil
  • Small canvas or canvas boards or gesso panels, approximately 20cm x 24cm

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


Kate Hopkins

Kate Hopkins is a painter with still life at the heart of her practice. Always working from direct observation, she has a particular interest in visual perception, which underpins her teaching.

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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.