• Introduction-Intermediate
  • Interdisciplinary

How can one tell a story through objects?  This painting course will explore creating personal still lifes in order to expand students’ painting repertoire and construct narrative.  Still life painting is often an important observational exercise; in this course we will be looking at the narrative aspects of still life as a way to convey a story.  These aspects are: lighting, composition, paint application and the objects that are depicted. Using observational painting and students’ chosen compositions we will work on shorter studies, exploring these formal aspects.  Then the majority of the course will be executing 2 paintings of students’ own compositions. Some traditional symbolism will be discussed to aid constructing narrative, as well as film stills. Historic and contemporary still life painters will also be shown for reference in creating one’s own work.

Students will create narratives through the use of personal objects that are evocative and meaningful to them.  Thinking through formal aspects: the of choice of objects, composition and lighting will help develop a story to engage with and depict in paintings. These stories will be advanced through the development of paint handling. Students will explore the use of basic observational techniques, and the link between what is being represented, and how one represents it.  Constructive feedback and the fundamentals for critiques will be engaged so students can think about their work, as well as others’ analytically and thoughtfully.

Tuition $335 | Materials fee $35 | Total $370

Upcoming Sections

CodeInstructorDates & TimeDaysLengthRegister
567Kyla BrownJan. 28, 2019 to March 25, 2019
6 p.m. - 9 p.m.
8-week courses$370.00

What you will learn

  • observational painting
  • narrative strategies in painting
  • creating individual still life set-ups
  • critique and analysis of visual compositions

Materials to Bring

Paint: Acrylic and/or Oil if solvent free or water based

Note: Blocking in acrylic is recommended to keep drying times down

* this will mostly likely be a limited but complementary palette and set of materials to what you already have.  If you can only get some please get the first one of two of each colour category.



  • Cadmium Red (hue or medium hue)
  • Alizarin crimson
  • Cadmium red (light hue).  (optional)


  • Cadmium Yellow (hue or medium hue)
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Cadmium Yellow (light hue, sometimes called Lemon Yellow)


  • Ultramarine
  • Currilean
  • Cobalt.   (optional)

Neutrals:  -a rich black can be mixed easily with this palette

  • White (titanium)
  • Burnt Umber
  • Burnt Sienna. (optional)


Palette: approx. 12x18 inches, smooth surface with wax paper covering OR a palette pad OR white enamel surface


Palette Knife or knives: metal with a straight edge, to be discussed


Brushes: a variety of acrylic/oil brushes including brights, flats and Filberts of various sizes (~6-12), one at least 2” wide


Supports: we will discuss painting supports and you will use your choice of 3-4 supports during the course.  Approx.18x24”-24x36” or similar.  These are to be prepared before classes

  • Canvas, bought pre-stretched or built
  • Stonehenge paper or multi-Media paper (>90lbs.) to be gessoed, OR Canvas Paper
  • Canvas board



  • Gesso (optional) for priming paper and board supports if you are preparing your own surfaces, otherwise buy pre-gessoed supports
  • Larger sketchbook or pad for drawing.
  • Pencils, pens and drawing materials for drawing and/or notes
  • Water containers (your old mason jars or food containers usually work great)
  • rags (old cut up cotton socks or t-shirts work well)
  • Misc: masking tape, glue, ruler scissors, exacto knife, staples etc.