Oils: Find Your Creative Voice

4 TUTOR: Melanie Cambridge

Oils are a fabulous medium to experiment with and therefore ideal for developing your own unique style. During this course, you will learn various ways to make marks with oils, working with glazes, different textures and laying colours wet-on-wet. Learn how to use vibrating colours to create lively and interesting still life compositions, vibrant landscapes and tackle a big sky with texture using brushes and a palette knife. Suitable for all levels beyond absolute beginner, just bring along your enthusiasm and a willingness to experiment.
1 Full Day
Full day course

Course Notes

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 of students on this course wherever possible. All materials provided, including 4 canvases.

DAY ONE: Brushstrokes and Paint-handling:

An introduction to the wonderful world of oil painting. Starting with a series of exercises showing you how to blend paint, overlay colours, wet on wet, and work with textural marks to create an interesting painting surface. Working from various still life arrangements with plenty of demonstrations and one to one support to get you get started.

DAY TWO: Creating texture and movement

Energy, energy, energy!This is the key to creating movement in your work. Plenty of quick exercises to start with to get your arm and brushes moving before moving on to using "painting butter” to create thick, impasto textures. Learn how to paint with a knife as well as brushes. Taking inspiration from photographs supplied by the tutor, we shall be painting an open landscape or seascape with a big expressive sky.

DAY THREE: Choosing a Subject

What makes a successful subject or composition? We head out on location this morning with sketchbooks and viewfinders. Aiming to produce a series of sketches for our next studio painting. In the afternoon, enjoy a lesson on composition before planning your own landscape painting based on the morning's sketches.

DAY FOUR: Glazing and Scumbling - an alternative approach

These are techniques mainly used on top of already dried paint. Demonstrations of both approaches this morning, showing how you can "alter and adjust” tones and colour within your work.Glazes can also be used to build up many layers of translucent colour rather than working with opaque colour.This afternoon, Melanie will demonstrate how using only glazes can give wonderfully translucent effects, almost like watercolour.

DAY FIVE: Dynamic Painting Challenge

This morning we shall be working to a time limit of 3 hours. Having limited time to paint actually helps! It means less time for too much thinking (once you have established the composition). You will need to paint with confidence and energy, making every mark, daub or flick of paint on canvas really count. An exciting end to the course


At the end of the afternoon there is the opportunity to join the Court Exhibition to show off your favourite paintings to friends and family, if you wish.


(to use during the course and take home afterwards)

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

All course notes and handouts


PROVIDED IN THE STUDIO (for use during your stay)

Traditional Oil paint

Alkyd painting medium

Cold Wax medium (for textural effects)

White Spirit for cleaning brushes

Additional brushes available to borrow for use during the course.

Palette knife


Jam Jars with lids for holding White Spirit (to reduce fumes in class)

Tear-off palette with dipper for holding medium

Clipboard support

Oil sketching paper for various quick studies

4 canvas boards for finished paintings. (if you wish to produce more works, please bring extra canvases/boards with you.)

Sketching style easels for use indoors and outside

Studio tables and chairs

All course notes and handouts - also available to download to your Tablet i-Pad if you have one. Please email me in advance


Any favourite brushes or painting knives

Pencil or pen & sketchbook (preferably A5 hardback type)

Tablet or i-Pad if you have one as images and handouts will be available to download from a pen drive or can be sent via email if preferred.

Please feel free to bring along any reference photos if you wish to use these as well as those provided by the tutor


FOR GETTING WET PAINTINGS HOME: Canvases of the same size can be put together (with blue tack or half a wine cork at each corner) making them easier to place in the car boot or footwell. For this reason, supplied canvases will be of the same size.



If you wish me to critique any other finished works, or indeed have works in progress or ideas for paintings, do feel free to bring these along. I will be making some time during the week for a one-to-one session to help you with any additional projects/ideas.


Any Questions?

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 art@melaniecambridge.com. If you wish to speak on the telephone, then please leave your phone number so I can contact you.



Website: www.melaniecambridg-fine-art.co.uk



Course Tutor

Melanie Cambridge

About Melanie


Melanie's work is based on light and colour, capturing the essence of a subject rather than every detail. She has written several art instruction books and runs painting workshops and breaks around the UK as well as being a regular tutor at Marlborough Summer School.She teaches in oils, gouache, and mixed media. Melanie also gives demonstrations and workshops to art groups around London and the Southeast.


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All courses run for 5 days

WK 1 8 Jul - 12 Jul

WK 2 15 Jul - 19 Jul

WK 3 22 Jul - 26 Jul

WK 4 29 Jul - 2 Aug

Morning Courses

9.15AM to 12.15PM

Afternoon Courses

1.45PM to 4.30PM

All Day Courses

9.15AM to 4.30PM