Painting: The Shape of Colour


COURSE DATES: Mondays, 16th September - 25th November 2024

TUTOR: Juan Bolivar

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

Investigating colour as form will enable you to think about colour theory and explore a synthesis of processes, structure and surface. You will be encouraged to consider how you develop a composition, specificity of colour choice and surface fracture (handling of the paint). You will be encouraged to experiment with the interaction of colour throughout the course; its fluidity, chromatic value, scale and dynamic juxtapositions.

The context and theory will be important in underpinning your initial exploration. Your relationship with the mechanics of painting will develop from collage experiments particularly focused on colour contrast and form.  The collages produced will be a spring-board for a series of abstract colour compositions. We will explore a range of artists from Matisse to the colour field painters such as Rothko, Helen Frankenthaler and contemporary colourists such as Sarah Morris, Tauber Auerbach, Selma Parlour and others.

Students will be able to: 

  • Understand colour language, colour symbols, applying knowledge to the development of own paintings. 
  • Develop knowledge of colour intensity, chromatic value, high contrasting colour, optical relationships, modern and traditional pigments, applying findings in your own work. 
  • Develop compositional skills through the creation of collage. 
  • Use rhythm and sequence, balancing colour and form, visual strategies to develop materiality, illusion, weight, translucent surfaces through a series of practical exercises. 
  • Apply formal devices such as balance, motion, collision, regular or irregular forms in the creation of work. 
  • Develop a colour palette and colour vocabulary suitable to their individual practice. 
  • Plan and complete a personal project. 
  • 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 2, 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.


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).

As part of the course, students try out lots of different materials and mediums, external to more conventional painting materials you might already be familiar with (e.g. glosses, mediums, varnishes, etc.) This incurs a cost which is divided equally amongst students, so please be aware there will be a £10 fee to pay in the first 2 weeks of the course for these materials. 

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

  •     A variety of canvases
  •     Pots
  •     Staple gun
  •     Scissors
  •     Stretcher bars
  •     Paints (acrylic and/or oil)
  •     Palette
  •     Brushes
  •     Cloth rag
  •     Craft knife
  •     Ruler
  •     Only odourless spirits, Sansodor or Zest-it (the Academy is a white spirit free environment)

 If you do not have your own painting materials, there is an option to order a Painting Pack at the time of booking which will be available when you arrive for your first class.  You can purchase this via the following link;

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.

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: Titanium White, Cadmium Yellow, Cadmium Red Hue, Ultramarine, Sap Green, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Umber, Mars Black.

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 stock all items listed above.

Juan Bolivar is a Venezuelan born British artist and lecturer in Painting at the University of the Arts London. Bolivar graduated from Goldsmiths College in 2003. His work is included in The Government Art Collection, and selected for significant exhibitions such as New British Painting, John Hansard Gallery, University of Southampton (2004), East International at Norwich School of Art (2007), Nanjing International (2015) where he was a prize winner, and has twice been a recipient of a Pollock-Krasner award (2001/2009). He is a contributor to Turps Magazine. Recent residencies and exhibitions include Macro Museum, Rome (2019), Bauhaus Museum, Dessau (2019) and Bauhaus-Universität Weimar (2021). His paintings negotiate the tension between meaning and form. He combines elements from disparate sources to investigate hybridity, language and abstraction. Bolivar’s work often re-enacts seminal cannons of modernist painting such as Kazimir Malevich’s ‘black square’ or paintings from Malevich’s late period; using this context of interpretation to create new meanings from the sublime to the ridiculous. 

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

Juan Bolivar

Early Bird discount available until 8th July