Foundation Art Courses London

The Foundation Course – Fundamentals of Drawing & Oil-Painting

Course Overview:

This course is suited to all levels and strongly recommended for newcomers to the Studios, regardless of their experience. Students wishing to study full-time attend one session a week of the foundation course, alongside drawing from the figure model and working on longer cast and still-life projects.

Whether you are at the start of your training or returning after many years; whether a recent interest or a long-standing passion you will receive clear, step-by-step instruction in the craft of drawing and oil-painting.  Groups are kept between 10 and 12 students so as to allow for plenty of contact time (teacher-student).  Each has their own easel and receives regular critiques as well as group demonstrations. You will also find your peers to be a valuable resource in your learning.

Course Structure:

Students attend one 3-hour class a week over the ten-week term. Class times as follows:

Monday or Tuesday: 9.15am-12.15pm; 1-4pm; 6.30-9.15pm

Saturday: 10am-1pm

Students will specify a first and second choice and will be allocated an easel in accordance with this. Students will then attend the same class each week for the duration of the 10-week term.  Term dates and prices here.

Apply here or for more information email

 Course Content:

The Foundation is split into two parts, spanning a minimum of 2 terms. The first offers a ‘big picture’ overview; the second drills deeper into the discipline of strong draughting and still-life painting. If you are only able to attend one session a week, students repeat the foundation course before moving onto figure drawing and painting. If however you are able to commit to more than 6 hours a week, your foundation course will be balanced with working on longer projects and working from the figure model.

  • Foundation Part 1a: Over 10 weeks students learn the 4 key principles of drawing and painting: proportion; line & volume; chiaroscuro and colour. Students start in charcoal on brown packing paper, building towards drawing on textured paper. By week 7/8 you will be experimenting in oils on canvas and start to gain an understanding of the medium and its challenges. All work is either from the cast or still life set-ups.
  • Foundation Part 2a: This course affords participants the time to hone their draughting, which will make working from life more manageable and the transition to oil painting more logical. Time will be spent in the Advanced Cast Drawing Studio, a smaller space where the group will work on longer drawing projects with a focus on proportion, line & volume and chiaroscuro. You will develop and consolidate an understanding the critical role of edges and values in your work.
  • Foundation Part 2b: Weeks 6/10 will be spent working on still-life painting, better understanding the materials, composition, and colour theory.


At the beginning of term students will need to buy a box of charcoal and chamois (fabric for erasing), available from Lavender Hill Colours (£4.75).  Paper is provided initially. In week 4 you will need to buy quality paper so as to more effectively work the chiaroscuro stage (£1 per sheet).  In week 7 or 8 students start to work in oils, for this will you will need a Starter Painting Kit.

Recommended Further Studies:

We encourage students to compliment their studies by taking the time to visit exhibitions and practice sketching in museums. In addition, the Studios host a range of events throughout the term aimed at enhancing the artist’s understanding of their craft and the tradition that they are working within.

We recommend the following books available from Lavender Hill Colours 

Alla Prima II – Richard Schmid (paper back or hard cover)

Charles Bargue & Jean-Léon Gérôme Drawing Course – Gerald M. Ackerman

The Art Spirit – Robert Henri

Oil Painting Techniques and Materials – Harold Speed

The Practice & Science of Drawing – Harold Speed



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