Oil Painting – a Structured Approach


  • April 6, 2020 - April 9, 2020
    10:00 am - 5:00 pm

In the 3 day course, tutor Ben Laughton Smith will help you tackle the often complex topic of oil painting with a structured, classical approach. He will break painting up into stages: a raw umber under painting, a simple colour block in, the addition of mid tones and the completion of the finished painting.

You’ll learn the technicalities of oil painting – about brushes, mediums, solvents and paints – but you’ll also learn the fundamentals on which all painting (and drawing) rests. You’ll learn about:

  • Drawing (getting the right patches of paint in the right place)
  • Values (making sure the patches are light or dark enough)
  • Edges (how the patches of paint sit next to each other and blend)
  • Colours, and how to mix them

This workshop is based around still life painting, but the techniques are applicable to all topics. You will complete at least two paintings in this course: a study of a simple object to learn about the process, and then a more complex, two day still life to solidify your understanding.

Throughout the course, Ben will give a number of short group lectures and individual, structured critiques on your work.

More detailed course structure

  • Introductions, course outline, health and safety, studio facilities
  • Materials: brushes, mediums, solvents, paints
  • Outline of painting procedure (imprimatura, sketching in shapes, background, shadow shape, painting the lights
  • Set up first project
  • Painting a simple, one object still life
  • Looking after your brushes – how to clean and store them


  • Setting up of second project (a 3 object still life)
  • Discussion about colour theory and colour mixing
  • Recap of painting procedure
  • Start painting second project
  • Individual help in mixing colours for this study


  • Individual critiques
  • Complete second painting
  • Suggestions for further study
  • Clear up and depart

This course is taught by Ben Laughton Smith. Ben is a British artist, born in the Cotswolds and living in West Sussex. He studied at the Sarum Studio (under Nicholas Beer, formerly the senior tutor at the Charles H Cecil Studio, Florence) and at the London Atelier of Representational Art. In 2016 the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust awarded him the Siegmund Warburg Scholarship to continue his studies in painting.

Ben has exhibited nationally, and his work is in private collections across England. Ben places a strong emphasis on draftsmanship and craft: one of the reasons he was recently featured in the book ‘A Celebration of British Craftsmanship’. Ben is an experienced, patient and dedicated teacher. You can find out more about him on his web site.

“Ben was a fabulous teacher. I really appreciated his going through all the basics – and demonstrating on my canvas when needed”. “Great teaching, friendly atmosphere, super fun and learnt lots”, “[Ben’s teaching was] clear, engaging and positive”

This course has a maximum of 10 participants.

You can find the materials list for this course here. If you have any questions, please see our frequently asked questions or contact us. You can also sign up to our mailing list.



16 Nelson Street, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 2HN, United Kingdom
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