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Painting: Image and Composition (intensive)

Course Times & Enrolment

This course is currently unavailable.

Course Summary

This course provides the opportunity to extend students’ skills and visual vocabulary to make a series of paintings, which explore a more personal use of images and illusion using a range of traditional as well as experimental techniques. Visual ideas will be stimulated through a range of ‘point of reference’ observed set ups as well as exploring students’ own particular visual ideas and circumstances as subject matter. This may include working from still life, the figure, interiors, cityscapes, narratives. Students will develop personal research to explore compositional and pictorial devices, uses of tone and colour and the application of paint and mixed media.

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment

Some drawing and painting skills desirable.

Special Infomation


Materials and equipment provided for students as part of the course and included in course fee:

  • Easels and drawing boards
  • Tables and chairs

Essential Materials and equipment students will need to provide themselves: (Estimated cost: £20 - £50 depending on usage)

  • Paints (oil or acrylic), drawing materials
  • A range of sizes in flat and round including a 2 inch priming brush
  • Palette – white wood, plastic or glass
  • Solvent appropriate for the paint
  • Old rags
  • Empty jars
  • Sketchbook and pencil
  • Overalls or other protective clothing

Content of Course

The course will comprise of an intensive 5 day teaching block followed by a period of independent study in the students own time.

Class hours:
  • Day 1 Working from studio set-ups, students will use mono-printing and mixed-media to explore composition, tone, colour and texture
  • Day 2 –Working on location outwith the College , students will use a variety of drawing and painting materials to gather information in the form of thumbnail sketches and small, observational studies
  • Day 3 – Students will produce a series of small, experimental studies in paint or mixed media, relating to the first two day’s research. Students will be encouraged to look at a range of books. There will be a group critique.
  • Day 4 – Students will develop some of their ideas into more considered pieces, perhaps one large piece or a series of pieces that relate to each other
  • Day 5 - Students will continue with their work from the previous day. There will be a talk on presentation of works and a group critique.

Directed and Independent study:

Students will be required to follow up and reflect on their learning from the classes through the completion of directed projects and their own independent study.

Teaching method(s)

The teaching will be based and delivered in specialist art and design studios or workshops and will typically include a range of practical exercises, introductions to techniques, processes and concepts, and set projects which lead to more focused and personal exploration. Over the five days, students’ progress will be monitored and supported by the tutor. Teaching will include practical demonstrations, one to one tuition, group discussions and critiques.

For work required to be undertaken after the class hours are complete, the course tutor will set students a ‘directed study plan’ which can be undertaken without the need for specialist workshops or access to models.

Directed study will include research into a range of suggested artists or designers and their associated movements to engender a contextual awareness of painting in visual culture. Students will be expected to demonstrate how the research has informed their work through annotated sketchbooks or visual journals and practical outcomes. The Directed Study Plan will include preparing evidence of research and practical work to form an appropriate presentation for assessment.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course through class hours, directed and independent study, students will be able to;


  • apply critical and insightful approaches to recording images and exploring personal ideas using painting and mixed media techniques

  • create a series of image-based paintings which demonstrate an informed use of techniques which consider composition, tone, colour and personal exploration

  • consider and reflect on research and media exploration to present and select a coherent body of work.
  • Transferable skills

    • Observational drawing skills in a range of media
    • Understanding of the structure, form and composition
    • Ability to undertake research and reflective practice and apply these in the context of drawing and painting within visual culture.


    Core Readings

    Jenkins, D., 2003, John Piper in the Thirties: Abstraction on the Beach, London: Merrell
    Hockney, D., 2012, David Hockney: a Bigger Picture, London: Thames and Hudson
    Pearson, F., 1988, Joan Eardley 1921-63, Edinburgh: National Galleries of Scotland

    Web Sources

    Web sources may be provided during the course

    Class Handouts

    Course information will be provided on enrolment and hand-outs provided during the course.


    All practice-based art and design 10 credit courses are assessed by the submission of a portfolio of visual art and/or design works within the discipline studied. This will include a selection of resolved art and/or design works, preparatory studies, visual research and evidence of a contextual awareness through a completed sketchbook and/or visual journal. The work must be presented in a clear and professional manner appropriate to the discipline. The submission should include work undertaken within the class as well as directed and independent study out with the class. Typically, this will comprise:

    • Class Contact hours: 27.5 (work you do during the class)
    • Directed hours: 27.5 (work your tutor has set for you to do each week in your own time)
    • Independent Study Hours: 45 (work you set yourself to do, relevant to the discipline studied)

    The combined submission will be assessed against the three learning outcomes for this course. These are equally weighted and each will be given a percentage grade. To pass, you must achieve a minimum of 30% in each learning outcome and an overall combined mark of 40% minimum.

    Studying for Credit

    If you choose to study for credit you will need to allocate significant time outwith classes for coursework and assessment preparation. Credit points gained from this course can count towards the Certificate of Higher Education.

    Student support

    Please contact Art and Design Studies on 0131 650 4400 if you think you have any specific study requirements that may need to be put in place to enable you to study an Art and Design Studies course. Giving us this information will enable us to make arrangements to meet your requirements for studying in accordance with the Equality Act 2010.