Obby guides

Discover the world of painting

painting classes in London

From oil painting to watercolours, painting is our first thought when we think 'art.' It has travelled with us through history to develop into the skill we know it as today. We've put together a guide of everything you need to know about painting, whether you are a beginner, or just looking to expand your knowledge further.



Painting through the ages

Painting has a rich and diverse history. Historically, painting has been around for as long as we have studied humans. Painting had a utilitarian beginning often being used in expeditions to illustrate new species of animal or plants, but eventually it developed into a sign of wealth. The upper classes began to commission expensive works of art and portraits to hang in their homes. Gradually, as it become more popular, it trickled down the ranks, and became a lot more accessible, both as a painter and as a collector of paintings. As with everything designed for people's pleasure, the art critic world began to find shape around the developments in painting, opening up painting as a form of art to be discussed, critiqued and compared, as we know it today.

Painting in the modern era

Painting developed from the 1970's into the Modern Art era. Not to be confused with contemporary art, Modern Art is the age of Van Gogh and Henry Matisse. The term modern art sits with the idea of throwing away tradition and experimenting with new techniques. Contemporary art has then developed since Modern art. It is produced in the 20th or 21st century. Artists that create contemporary art are influenced by huge political, technical and cultural changes and advancements and that can be seen in their work. Painting as an art form has a rich future, and remains one of the most widely used mediums in art still to this day.

Painting in the modern era

Painting developed from the 1970's into the Modern Art era. Not to be confused with contemporary art, Modern Art is the age of Van Gogh and Henry Matisse. The term modern art sits with the idea of throwing away tradition and experimenting with new techniques. Contemporary art has then developed since Modern art. It is produced in the 20th or 21st century. Artists that create contemporary art are influenced by huge political, technical and cultural changes and advancements and that can be seen in their work. Painting as an art form has a rich future, and remains one of the most widely used mediums in art still to this day.

Tools of the trade

Primer

Primer is needed when applying paint to a canvas or surface. Primer usually contains paint pigment and some sort of binder, often in white to match the canvas. The reason you prime the canvas is so that paint goes on a little bit softer. It also means you use less paint when creating your artwork, as less sinks into the surface or canvas.

Paint Brushes

The Lettermate is one of our favourite tools for envelope addressing. Write inside the given spaces, or use the template for quick and easy pencil guidelines. Perfect for those of us that have trouble writing in a straight line.

Palette

Your palette is where you mix your paint colours. It is where you can compare colours next to one another before adding them to your canvas and can often be where ideas start. Your artists palette can be in wood or plastic. They can have separate compartments to keep apart your chosen colours, or if you are doing a larger landscape with a lot of different tones of the same colour, you may find a wooden mixed palette easier as you can easily change tones by mixing your colours together.

Easel

A painters easel is part of the package, you can't go without. You canvas needs a stand, because no matter where you decide to paint - the canvas unfortunately can't hold itself. An easel is also useful because it gives you, as the artist, freedom to step back and appreciate your work in the capacity that it would be normally viewed. Also, the easel adds to the dream - every painter has an easel.

Pencils

Every painting needs to be planned out, and to do that generally an artist would use a pencil. This can go straight onto the canvas and can be erased easily should you make a mistake.

Projector

Here is a little secret tip/cheat from us. We mentioned pre-planning a painting, but what if you could just take a photograph of what you wanted to paint instead? This is cheating - yes - but for those incapable of drawing, this can be a god send. You can use a projector to frame the image you'd like, onto your blank canvas, ready for you to paint, or trace around.

Class reviews

What learners are saying about our painting classes

review
Rosanna
Been on 4 Obby classes
Absolutely loved it! Was my first time and I came on my own and thoroughly enjoyed it. The staff were really organised, friendly and professional. A great thing to do after a long day at work, really relaxing.
review
Josephine
Been on 2 Obby classes
I really enjoyed it and and will be back again soon. We went through some basic colour wheel blending and tips and even though I’m not a beginner it was very useful. Quirky funny teacher
review
Joanna
Been on 1 Obby classes
It was a real experience and pleasure to paint in an authentic artist's studio. Nick is a lovely guy and extremely knowledgeable on art. He was very open to any questions on art and painting and didn't make you feel silly for asking! Furthermore, he is an expert on colour mixing and we ended up learning so much. The free lunch was a lovely touch, with fresh baguettes and cheese. If you're looking for some true guidance on painting and want to learn more about art in general, this is the place to go!

London's painting scene

London to this day has a huge arts education scene with some of the best art schools in the country including Central Saint Martins and LARA. There is a lot of diversity in London's painting scene, with hugely expensive galleries and notorious painters holding exhibitions in the capital, as well as affordable art fairs and independent galleries promoting the underbelly of the painting scene. One of the most beautiful sides of painting in London is the street art and the glorious murals. Keep your eyes peeled for a Banksy as you wander round the streets of London. The famous street artist uses London as his canvas regularly.

It seems only yesterday that painting was “dead”. Now it’s everywhere. In London, galleries east of Spitalfields are full of the stuff. Recently, visiting an exhibition by a painter friend, I was chatting to the young artist who runs the gallery – which doubles up as his painting studio. Opening a hidden cupboard, he took out some of his big, sprawling canvases, great stuff full of political imagery and existential angst. And that’s just inside galleries.

I don’t think that in Britain we live in an extreme police state, but we do live in a state of mind that is deadened by the media, where kids are told education is just about getting a job, where few young people can afford to buy somewhere to live and where some kids are brainwashed to think violence is the only way out...This is why art is embracing, indeed must embrace, politics....Artists need to get in front of politicians and with an eagle eye inspect and depict each expression of mean-mindedness.

Meet our teachers

The talented masters behind our painting classes

A great teacher Allan Storer MA Chelsea School of Art is a practising oil painter, theorist and tutor with a well informed knowledge of Art and a professional background defined by rigorous OFSTED expectations. After seven years studying art, practice and theory and four universities later Allan worked in educational and therapeutic environments with adults and young people. A natural educator he is warm and caring; “every one has a creative edge waiting to be tapped” he says. 'A lifelong learner' In the painting session Allan is open to suggestion and places a strong emphasis on communication.

Elizabeth is a full time watercolour artist based in Angel, Central London and has been painting since before she can remember! She is the founder and designer behind the brand Indi Skoven ‘Into the Woods’ Prints, a collection of watercolour botanical and nature-inspired prints designed for use within the home. Elizabeth is known professionally for her prints but she also enjoys painting city-scapes and people for pleasure.

Michelle teaches watercolour with Tea & Crafting. When Michelle is not teaching her Introduction to Watercolour class, Michelle is the founder of Roxwell Press. Roxwell Press specialises in personalised paper goods, with illustrated paintings and stationery by Michelle Evans. Following a career as a scenic painter, and later as a graphic designer, Michelle set up the company. She brings together the free spirit of an artist, and the meticulous eye of a designer, to create keepsakes that will be cherished for years to come

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