Still Life in Oil: Cezanne Inspired

5 TUTOR: Helen Greene (BA Hons)

Would you like to learn about colour mixing? Are you keen to improve your skills and gain confidence with using oil paints? If so, this course is perfect for you. During the week, you will develop your own still life painting using Paul Cézanne as inspiration and learn to use a variety of brushes and techniques. The tutor will paint alongside you in order to demonstrate clear staged learning.

Course Notes

Day One; Composition and Depth

Cezanne said "With an apple, I will astonish Paris,” and this is what he did giving licence to generations of artists to break the rule book. The history of painting was never to be the same again. Helen will reference the Tate's 2022/2023 exhibition of his work and inspire students to create their own final painting in his style and break the rule book in their own work.

·We will look at the depth that he created in his paintings and sketch our compositions working from a still life of fruit/bottles/bowls etc. Helen will work alongside students showing them how to capture these objects "in space” and use negative space effectively.

·We will then also make some quick pencil and oil "sketches” to plan composition on cartridge paper. Helen will be drawing and painting with the students during each session and questions will be answered.

·Students will choose their composition for a final painting.

Day Two; Colour

•We will have a morning of laying out our colour palette and colour mixing and will then practise various ways of applying paint. This will be in "sketch form” using oil. We will discuss colour theory and how this can be used in our own paintings for maximum effect.

•We will discuss how Cezanne achieved such rich and vibrant colour in his work and apply this to our own practise.

•We will draw our chosen composition onto board or canvas using paint or charcoal and begin to add layers of colour

Day Three; Tone "Seeing the Light”

•We will focus on understanding and using tone alongside our colour application. We will do this by making some tonal oil painting sketches on paper to help us capture the light and dark tones in our paintings.

·Helen will help students individually in the progression of their paintings. Students will learn to exaggerate tone for a dynamic effect.

  • We will then add background colour/tone to our compositions and Helen will discuss layering paint in a variety of ways.

Day Four; Texture and Layering Paint

  • Helen will show students how to progress building up layers of paint. We will use palette knives, sponges as well as a variety of brush strokes to be very expressive in the application of paint. By using a combination of bold and finer brush strokes we can create strong impressionistic characteristics to our work.
  • Paintings will be reviewed, followed by a critique for students to continue into the last day with confidence with their paintings.

Day Five; Adding details and more depth of colour

·In the final day students will be shown how to add more depth of tone and colour to enhance their compositions as well as detail.

·A group critique will be made at the end of the day to learn and appreciate the works produced, as well as a one-to-one session with each student.

Course Materials

·Included in the course (and to take home and enjoy at home) 1 x oil board for final paintings, cartridge paper for oil sketches a palette knife and 2 brush set (size 2 and 4)

·Provided in the studio (for use during the course) Oil paint: titanium white, lemon yellow, cadmium yellow, yellow ochre, raw sienna, cadmium red, alizarin crimson, viridian, cerulean blue, cobalt blue, ultramarine, raw umber. Palette paper, jam jars, dippers for medium and tear off palettes. Low odour solvent e.g. Sansodor, rags, paper roll and fresh flowers to paint.Also provided boards easels studio tables and chairs.

What to Bring Along

Extra Canvases or boards

Favourite brushes

Pencil Pen and Sketchbooks

Your own flowers and vases if you wish

If you would like to discuss anything before the course please email me on



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Summer School Dates for 2024

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