Arts and Crafts

Oils: At the Seaside

Oils: At the Seaside

CS: 26

New for 2016

Ever wanted to paint seascapes?

Melanie’s new studio based course shows you how. She will be taking inspiration from reference photos, sketches and handouts. Structured lessons teach you to paint breaking waves, mix realistic colours for sea, sand and cliffs as well as how to include figures, beach huts, windbreaks and all the life of the beach in your paintings.

The week will be full of demonstrations to inspire you and plenty of one to one help where appropriate. Oil paints, brushes and basic equipment are included on this course, but please bring along your own canvases.

Course notes

The week will be full of demonstrations with all sessions including plenty of one-to-one tuition to help everyone achieve their very best by the end of the week. There will be a series of lessons on the technical aspects of paint-handling and colour mixing before we move on to look at specific techniques for painting beach scenes. For each project, there will be a demonstration before starting on your own work.

This outline of the course is a guide to the topics we aim to cover to give you some idea of what to expect during the week. The schedule is flexible and I am happy to adapt it to suit the individual requirements wherever possible. 

DAY ONE: Where do I start?

A studio-based day starting with a look at basic brushwork and paint-handling, how to lay out your palette, colour-mixing and colour theory. In the afternoon, learn to paint a breaking wave. Enjoy a demonstration before having a go yourself.

DAY TWO: Cornish Beach

Put yesterday’s lesson on waves into context today, painting a Cornish Beach scene with cliffs, rocks and surf. Adding a few figures to give a sense of life and movement. Working step-by-step for this first project with plenty of one-to-one support in between stages.

 DAY THREE: Sunsets – working with a limited palette

Today we look at specific techniques for painting sunsets over a calm sea. Working with a limited range of colours and painting "contra jour” (into the light). Enjoy a demonstration before starting on your own project. Using reference photographs supplied by me with plenty of one-to-one help to guide you.

 DAY FOUR: Beach Life

Beach huts, figures, dinghies, windbreaks – all the colour and life of the beach. Choose your own composition for this final project. Using photos and sketches provided by me, or bring along your own images for inspiration. We start with a look at composition and how to combine ideas, photos and sketches for a successful painting. Plenty more adhoc demonstrations today to show you how to capture all the life on the beach.


Time to continue painting in the studio and finish current projects. In the afternoon we shall have a friendly review of works done before we hold our own show for summer school guests to enjoy on this last day.

INCLUDED IN THE COURSE (for you use during the course and to take home and enjoy afterwards)

2-brush set – a large filbert for blocking-in and a medium round brush for details.

All course notes and handouts.

PROVIDED IN THE STUDIO (for use during your stay)

Oil paint

Alkyd painting medium

Odourless thinner for cleaning brushes


Wooden palette & dipper for holding medium

Palette knife

Studio tables and chairs

Lightweight sketching easels (if you don’t have your own)


At least 3 canvas boards or stretched canvases – please bring sizes you feel comfortable working with.

An A4 sized pad of Oil Sketching Paper

Tear off palette (if you prefer this to a traditional wooden one)

Pencil or pen & sketchbook

Camera if you find this useful

Roll of kitchen paper or rags for wiping brushes


Please feel free to bring along any reference photos if you wish to use them.


I am always happy to discuss any concerns you may have about this course or what to bring along so please feel free to contact me via email using If you wish to speak on the telephone, then please leave your phone number so I can contact you.





About the Tutor:

Melanie’s work is based on light and colour, capturing the essence of a location rather than every last detail. She has written several art instruction books and runs painting workshops and breaks, mainly in the UK, where she teaches in oils, acrylics and mixed media. She is also gives demonstrations and workshops to art groups around London and the South East.

Marlborough College, Wiltshire SN8 1PA Telephone: 01672 892388