Introduction to Oil Painting


COURSE DATES: Fridays, 20th September – 29th November 2024

TUTOR: Nicholas Mcleod

DAYS: 10

TIMES: 10:30am – 4:30pm

EXPERIENCE LEVEL: Ages 18+, All Levels

FEE: Early Bird: £607.50 / Standard Price: £675

LOCATION: Bankside Campus, 185 Park Street, SE1 9SH

This course is suitable for those who have little or no experience with oils and wish to improve their technical skills with students gaining a basic understanding of how to work in oil paint and the practicalities of using oil painting materials. You will gain the confidence to work in oils and your tutor will help you start to develop a technical skill that can be used successfully to convey your visual ideas. 

Your tutor will support you fully throughout the course in both group sessions and one-to-one, providing regular feedback, critique and constructive advice.

Students will be able to: 

  • Understand the purpose of various painting equipment and use it to create oil paintings.
  • Understand the properties of oil paint and apply it to achieve a variety of effects. 
  • Understand the properties of different surfaces/ substrates for oil painting and utilise them to create different effects. 
  • Develop an understanding of composition, tone and colour.
  • Mix colours from both limited and full palettes.
  • Paint a simple still life in tone and in colour in oil.
  • Create oil paintings working from direct observation, applying measurement techniques to ensure correct proportions and perspective. 
  • Paint the figure in tone and in colour.
  • Apply safe-working practices at all times. 

This course is part of our Elective Skills Workshop series. You will be studying alongside students from our pre-degree and degree programmes. Check out the Elective Skills Workshops currently available.

*The Early Bird discount ends on the 8th of July and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer.

Recommend booking by: September 6, 2024

All Levels

All attendees must be aged 18 and over.

This course is suitable for all levels. Students can move at their own pace depending on their experience, with as much support from the Tutor as they wish. This means an student from the following experience levels can join this course:


Choose a Beginners course if you are looking for a broad introduction to the medium you are studying. Our Beginner courses are suitable for students with no prior experience.

Beginner +

Choose a Beginner + course if you are looking to hone your skills, focus on a specific subject area and build your confidence. These courses are suitable for those with some basic skills in and knowledge of the taught medium.


Our Intermediate courses are suitable for students who have considerable prior knowledge of the taught medium or have completed a Beginners/Beginners + course with the Art Academy.


Choose our Advanced courses if you have considerable knowledge in the taught medium. You are expected to be able to work independently and have critical discussions around your work.


You will be charged a small fee of £7 to access mediums for a session on this course. This is payable on the first day of your course. The Academy is a white spirit and turpentine free environment and only odourless spirits, such as Zest-it or Sansodor, are permitted on the premises. Students must provide their own spirits, which can be recycled for longevity. 

We request that you bring 2 small jars (one with a lid, one without) to hold your spirit, and a few cloth rags for brush cleaning (such as an old cotton t-shirt).

Below is a list of what is currently required for the course. Please also check the ‘what to bring’ sections above. Your tutor will advise if further materials or equipment are required as the course progresses.

  • Drawing equipment (inc. 2B & 4B pencils), rubber, charcoal, putty rubber
  • A3 pad oil painting paper (useful but not essential)
  • Brushes – Hogs hair brushes in a range of sizes, (such as Filbert no. 7 & 10, round no. 4, flats), option of additional range of synthetic brushes 
  • Palette knife
  • Only odourless spirits, Sansodor or Zest-it (the Academy is a white spirit free environment)
  • Liquin Original
  • Jam jar x 2 with lids
  • Palette, tear-off or wooden, ideally A3 size
  • Oil colours:  Cadmium Red, Alizarin Crimson, French Ultramarine Blue, Cerulean Blue*, Cadmium Yellow, Burnt Umber, Titanium White (optional extras: Viridian Green, Phthalo blue, Lemon Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Raw Umber, Purple, Black)

  * If you buy the Art Academy Oil Painting Pack, please be aware Cerulean Blue is required in addition to the pack.

  • Apron or old shirt
  • Old rags
  • Baby wipes
  • Surfaces (specified each week, note that sizes are flexible)

If you do not have your own painting materials, there is an option to order an Oil Painting Pack at the time of booking which will be available when you arrive for your first class.  

An Oil Painting Pack (£75.00) contains:

  • A set of bristle brushes, both flat and round, suitable for either oils or acrylics
  • One tear off palette (9”x12”)
  • One palette knife
  • One bottle Zest-it (250ml) 
  • One 10″x 12″ canvas board
  • One 10″x 14″ canvas board
  • Two 12″x 16″ canvas boards
    8 Daler Rowney Georgian Oil paint tubes in: Titanium White, Lemon Yellow, Cadmium Yellow, Burnt Umber, Cadmium Red, Alizarin Crimson, French Ultramarine Blue, Coeruleum Blue.

*subject to availability 

Certain materials can also be purchased from the Academy shop during shop hours. Please check in advance of your class if the item you require is available, as the Academy may not have this in stock.

Nicholas McLeod graduated with an MA in painting from the Slade School of Fine Art in 2016. He has won the Threadneedle Prize Visitors Choice award and his work has been selected for numerous exhibitions across London. Nicholas has also had his work included in various publications including, A Brush With The Real: Contemporary Figurative Painting (Laurence King Publishing) and Imagine Architecture (Gestalten, Berlin)

Bankside Campus

185 Park Street,London SE1 9SH

tel: +44 (0) 207407 6969

This is our new purpose built accessible campus. Find more information here

Nearest Tube/ Rail: London Bridge or Southwark (both a 5 minute walk).

Please note that London Bridge has two exits, the most direct route is to follow signs to “Borough Market”.



Students are welcome to use our Common Room during break times, where you can prepare hot drinks and/or food.

You are also welcome to make tea or coffee.

Terms and Conditions

  • By booking onto one of our courses you agree to our Short Courses Terms and Conditions.
  • You will need to have paid in full before the first session of your class. Your place is not guaranteed until we have received full payment. Please book early in order to guarantee your place on the course.

Materials & Equipment

  • If you purchased a pack online this will be given to you on the first session of your course upon your arrival. Packs can be booked on our Materials Page or on this page when you book the course
  • Please don’t wear your best clothes as there is always a chance you will get messy. If possible bring an apron or overalls.
  • All artwork at the Academy MUST be taken home at the end of each session where possible, with the exception of oil paintings and sculpture works.
  • We cannot store materials at the Academy, so please take these to and from your sessions.
  • Please ensure that your mobile phone is switched off or is on silent during the class.
  • Health and Safety Guidelines will be provided to you a week before the start of your course.

Concessions and Discounts

We offer a number of concessions and discounts, please find more information on what we offer here.

Gift Vouchers

If you would like to purchase a gift voucher to be used on our courses then you can purchase these here.

£607.50 £675.00

Nicholas Mcleod - Still Life

Early Bird discount available until 8th July