Acrylic painting for beginners with Brian Smith

Ref: S3D31591

Location: West Dean
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About this course

Discover the flexibility, vibrant colours and textures that acrylic paints offer, working on small and large canvases.

Course Description

Experiment with the flexible qualities of acrylic paints and mediums, following step-by-step exercises to create small, quick, studies through to finished paintings of landscape and street scenes. Your tutor will provide the reference material to work from. He will demonstrate perspective, composition, tone and colour. You will work with brushes and palette knives to explore the different textures each tool offers in your work. The tutor will show you how to create contrast and mood using colour and tone.

By the end of the course, you will have explored the basic skills to enable you to progress to the next level with your acrylic work.


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 College will provide a round brush, size 12 and a 1 inch flat brush. They will also provide some watercolour paper, framers tape and acrylic paints to share amongst the group to get you started.

What students need to bring

  • 8 or 9 boards or stretched canvas sizes A5 to A3
  • Acrylic paints: 3 blues, 3 reds, 3 yellows, 1 tube of black, grey, green, violet, brown, white
  • Brushes: 2 flats, 2 filberts and 2 rounds
  • A palette and a palette knife
  • A apron or art shirt

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A good selection of general art materials, including boards, stretched canvases in sizes A5 to A3
  • Acrylic paints in a good variety of colours, acrylic mediums, a good selection of brushes including flats, filberts and rounds, palettes and palette knives

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio. This includes stout covered footwear, i.e. no open-toes or sandals.


Brian Smith

People and Architecture are the main focus of Brian's watercolours striving to capture mood, light and atmosphere in daily life. His paintings have been exhibited at The Mall, Bankside and the RWA Bristol gaining awards. He has written articles for International Artist, The Artist and Leisure Painter magazines. He now demonstrates and tutors Watercolour nationally. In 2020 he was elected as a member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours.


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 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.