Course Code E2302P002
Tutor Neil Morley
Course Dates Fridays: 12th January to 22nd March 2024
Times 10:30AM - 4:30PM
Experience Level All Levels
Fee £630

This course is part of our Elective Skills Workshop series. You will be studying alongside students from our pre-degree and degree programmes.

Ideal for those wishing to develop a more conceptual approach to painting by expanding their knowledge of contemporary painting through the ideas and techniques that currently inform painting. The course enquiries into the fundamental aspects of painting, mainly ‘what to paint’, ‘how to paint’ and ‘why to paint’. These questions are explored through contemporary painters’ concepts and techniques as well as self-reflections into the dynamics of painting. Students will use these processes to develop paintings that highlight contemporary concerns both personally and in wider society.

The course explores how contemporary paintings are developed and how they reflect our own time. For example, students will look at how contemporary painters are using the proliferation of digital images in society and how this has made the image more disposable and less open to visual critical discourses. This course will also look at how the manipulation of pictorial space can create new and exciting directions in painting – by fragmenting, obscuring and intertwining images into the pictorial space and by using a series of techniques and conceptual approaches that question the normal conventions of background/foreground

By the end of the course you will be able to: 

  • Analyse the work of others and apply findings to their own work
  • Conduct research into social and political issues and use knowledge to create paintings
  • Analyse the impact of the internet on contemporary painting, applying findings to own paintings
  • Analyse the role of the viewer in relation to contemporary painting, applying findings to own paintings 
  • Think laterally, applying conceptual and technical approaches in creating contemporary painting
  • Create paintings that subvert pictorial space, layering and fragmentation of images and explore the relationship between background and foreground
  • Research, plan and complete a self initiated project

This course is suitable for all levels but a willingness to experiment, discuss ideas and approaches is crucial.

Neil Morley graduated from the Royal College of Art with an MA in Painting in 2001. Since then, he has exhibited both nationally and internationally. Neil’s teaching methods are intuitive, supportive and questioning with a strong belief that students lead how their paintings develop. 


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 cloths rags for brush cleaning (such as an old cotton t-shirt).

Materials and equipment students need to provide

You will need to bring your own painting materials to the class. If you do not have your own materials, we recommend you order an Oil Painting Pack or Acrylic 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 38ml oil tubes: Titanium White, Cadmium Yellow, Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium Red, French Ultramarine, Coeruleum Blue and Burnt Umber

An Acrylic Painting Pack (£60.00) 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 10″x 12″ canvas board
  • One 10″x 14″ canvas board
  • Two 12″x 16″ canvas boards
  • 8 Daler Rowney (System 3) acrylic tubes: Mars Black, Titanium White, Cadmium Red, Cadmium Yellow, Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Umber, Sap Green and Yellow Ochre

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.

You will need to build up an archive of printed images. Image themes to collect:

  • Social /Political
  • Landscape/ cityscape
  • Portrait
  • Art history – paintings that students have a connection with
  • Everyday images
  • Personal/ public
  • Students images from Instagram/ Twitter/ Facebook
  • Random image searches from the internet 

Mermaid Court

165A Borough High Street
London SE1 1HR
tel: +44 (0) 207407 6969

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

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

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

You are also welcome to make tea or coffee.

  • 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.
  • 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 purchased on our Materials Page or on the individual course page when you make your booking.
  • 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 MUST be taken home at the end of the course or it will be disposed of. Paintings that need to dry should be collected within a week. For clay sculptures that need hollowing and firing, you will receive a separate email when they can be collected.
  • 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 at the beginning of your class.
  • Sometimes our photographer will pop in to get some images of our classes in progress. We will typically inform you beforehand if photography is taking place during your class; if you do not want to be photographed please let the photographer know!
  • To find out more about what’s going on at the Academy follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. If you’d like to share images of your course, your progress or your finished work we’d love to see them! Please bear in mind you must have the permission of tutors, other students and models to photograph them.
  • If you would like more information or advice please contact
  • For further details please see our Short Courses: Regulations & Policies page.

From: £630.00

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