Frequently Asked Questions

I have a question about your online videos / live streams / my Raw Umber Subscription
See our separate FAQ here.

Are you running physical courses?
We are slowly starting to run the occasional physical course. You can see them here.

I’m coming on a physical course. What measures are you taking to keep it safe?
We’re doing a variety of things, including keeping class sizes small, maintaining socials distancing, not sharing materials and wiping down surfaces. Please e-mail us if you’re booked on, or are thinking of booking on, a course and want more information.

How much experience do I need? Are your workshops suitable for me?
Most of our workshops are suitable for all levels. We keep student numbers small, typically fewer than 12, so the tutors are able to customise the classes based on your individual needs.

Having said that, painting is harder than drawing, portraits are harder than figures, and figures are harder than still lifes. Depending on your confidence and your level of experience, that might affect which course you choose to attend. If you’ve got any questions about this, then contact us.

What materials do I need?
The materials you’ll need to bring will depend on the course you are taking, and the tutor who is teaching.

For a list of the materials you’ll need to bring, please look at the course you’ve booked.

What should I wear?
Old clothes and shoes are best, especially for oil painting. You might find an apron useful.

Can I really learn to draw / paint the portrait / figure in only 3/4/5 days?
Learning to draw or paint competently and confidently can take several years of training: you need to master drawing, learn about values, edges and colour, and study anatomy. What you get out of our workshops depends on what level you’re currently at. If you’re a beginner, then we can help get you started: you’ll complete a drawing or painting in a relatively short amount of time and, very importantly, understand the process, see what skills you’ll need to learn in the future. If you’ve got some experience, then our tutors will help you improve and you’ll learn valuable skills and techniques. The workshops are short, but they’re intense and highly personal: whatever your level, you’ll get a lot out of them.

What method / techniques do you teach?
Our tutors tend to work using the sight-size method or comparative measurement: this provides a framework for learning and teaching. We teach a structured way of drawing and painting, breaking down a complex painting into simpler, more manageable steps. For painting, this would typically involve a pencil sketch or study, then a raw-umber wipe out, then a colour study, then a block-in, and then working up the block-in to a full painting. Depending on your level of experience, you might skip on or more of these steps – see our tutor Lizet Dingemans’ article in Artists and Illustrators magazine.

Our tutors also tend to teach alla prima, or direct, painting. This is a more straightforward, quicker approach than indirect painting.

Where are you based?
We’re based in central Stroud. You can see more about our location here.

What time do I have get to the venue?
The courses start at 10:00, so please arrive by 9:45 to give yourself time to set up. The studio opens at 9:30. There are regularly breaks throughout the day, including an hour for lunch at 13:00.

Is there car parking?
You’ll need to use public car parking. For more information, see here.

What is your cancellation policy?
If you cancel more than 3 weeks before a course starts, we will refund 100% of the course fee. Unfortunately, if you cancel under 3 weeks before the start date we cannot refund any of the fee.

I really enjoyed my portraiture / alla prima / still-life / figure course. What course should I do next?
All the courses are self-contained, and are repeatable – each time you do them, you’ll learn more. That means you’re welcome to repeat the class, or to choose a different class. It’s practice, repetition and critiques from the tutors that will help you improve your skills, and you can’t have enough of those.

Can I pay in installments?
Unfortunately not.

Who are you?
We’re a non-profit based in Stroud. We ran a couple of courses in Bristol and Stroud in July and August 2019 and then set up a permanent space in Stroud in November 2019. Our aim is to provide high-quality art education by inviting exceptional artists and tutors from across the world to teach short workshops.

What courses have you run in the past?
For a list of past workshops, see here.