Foundation Art Courses London

The Foundation Course – Fundamentals of Drawing & Oil-Painting

Term dates, short courses and prices here.

Course Overview:

This course is suited to all levels.

For those wanting to study during term-time, the Foundation Course is compulsory for all newcomers, regardless of experience.

Foundation course is 60 hours in total, it is separated in 2 parts. Students must complete Part 1 and Part 2 before moving on to study other subjects. In both Part 1 and 2, the term is structured: 6 weeks in charcoal followed by 4 weeks in oil paint.

Students will receive clear, step-by-step instruction with plenty of individual critique and demonstrations from the tutor. Classes are kept to maximum 10/12 students; each has their own easel and will be paired up with a student at a similar stage. Please note: there may be others in the class at a more advanced stage (following the atelier method) but each group is taught to their level.

Full-time students (2 – 5 days per week) will have Foundation lessons structured into their timetable alongside other lessons such as Cast Drawing, Still Life and Figure.

Part-time students (3 hours – 1 day per week) can spread their study of Part 1 and Part 2 over two terms or there is the option to sign up to two lessons per week completing both parts in one term.

Though we highly recommend the Foundation Course, students can join our workshops and short courses without having completed the Foundation Course.

Days and Times:

Foundation classes are held on:

Monday or Tuesday: 9.45am-12.45pm; 1.30-4.30pm; 6.30-9.15pm

Saturday: 9.45am-12.45pm; 1.30-4.30pm

Many of our classes are oversubscribed, but we will try to give you your first choice. However, please also indicate a second choice.

Students 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:

  • PART 1 gives students a ‘big picture’ overview of the techniques used at LFAS. Over 10 weeks students learn the 4 key principles of drawing and painting: proportion, line & volume, chiaroscuro and colour. Students start with quick line exercises in charcoal on brown packing paper, building towards longer shaded drawing on textured paper. In week 6 they will be introduced to oil painting starting with grisaille and moving onto a limited palette. All work is either from the cast or still life set-ups.
  • PART 2 introduces new topics such as edges, composition and colour theory and enables students to put into practise what they have learnt in Part 1. Students will hone their draughting skills in preparation for drawing the life model in subsequent terms, they will start to work on longer drawing and painting projects from more complicated casts and still life set-ups.


At the beginning of term students will need to buy a box of charcoal and chamois (fabric for erasing), available from Lavender Hill Colours.  Paper is provided initially. In week 4 you will need to buy quality paper so as to more effectively work the chiaroscuro stage.  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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