• Absolute Beginners
  • Painting

This course is intended for beginners in acrylic and water-based oil paints.

Painting is an historical medium for image making. It can feel intimidating because it has a long history and can be complex, but we can begin by playing. 

In this course, we will break down the painting process into stages that can be personalized and accomplished as students begin their  journey in paint. Students will use photographs and still life to develop observational techniques to create descriptive images for painting. We will go over simple basics of using colour, getting to know your paints as a material, basic paint handling: how to apply paint to a surface and we will use lights and darks to create form. Short demonstrations will be given to help construct paintings in stages and we will discuss painters working representationally (realistically/non-abstract) with slides and short discussions of class work. 

Note: It would be helpful if students have some experience with observational drawing but it is not necesssary.

Winter 2021: 8 Weeks: Tution: $325

This course will be offered via ZOOM. Prior to the course session, you will receive an invitation for the session(s) via email. You'll need a laptop, desktop or tablet, internet connection with good bandwidth and headphones (either wired or wireless). We recommend that you set up a free ZOOM account and be familiar with ZOOM prior to the class beginning.  Here is a link to help you get started: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/categories/20010169

Notes: Kyla Brown is a Toronto based artist, educator and writer. She works in a project driven practice that includes community based works, subtle public interventions, drawing-installation and video works. Exploring mapping as a material practice, Brown’s work focuses on navigating city space, particularly in Toronto and London, Ontario. She has shown at the Khyber Centre for the Arts and the Anna Leonowens Gallery in Halifax, Art Mur in Montreal, XEXE Gallery and Hang Man Gallery in Toronto, as well as DNA Artspace, ArtLab Gallery, and with McIntosh Gallery's community residency in London, ON. She earned her BFA from NSCAD University, and MFA from the University of Western Ontario.

Upcoming Sections

CodeInstructorDates & TimeDaysLengthRegister
050Kyla BrownJan. 26, 2021 to March 16, 2021
TERM - ONLINE Winter 2021
10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
8-week courses$325.00

What you will learn

  • Basic observational painting
  • Basic understanding of colour and value 
  • Constructing an image in paint
  • Basic paint handling 

Materials to Bring

Please keep all purchase receipts in case you need to return materials.

Paint: Acrylic and/or Oil (solvent free or water based). 

Note: If you choose to paint with oil, it is recommended to block in (create your underpainting) in acrylic to keep drying times down since oils take a long time to dry.

Since this is a beginner’s course we recommend that you buy or start with a ‘starter kit’ with red, yellow, blue primaries, and white (and often black).  Feel free to add burnt umber and others as you like and bring the materials that you already have.  If you can only get a few paints, please get the first one or two of each colour category.  If you plan to buy additional colours,  buying ‘Hues’ is a good bet because they are cheaper and work well.  (Hues don’t contain the heavy metals that cadmiums and cobalts have in them but the colour is still true.)

I like heavy body acrylics because you can always ‘thin’ them with medium  but it is your choice.  

  • NB: Names of colours vary with different brands of paint. This list represents the most common names for colours essential to your paint kit. Pure cadmiums and cobalts are very expensive. If they are beyond your budget - buy the hues, they are cheap and mix well. When shopping, talk to staff about your budget and ask what compares with the best artist grade paints. Avoid student grade paints including Liquitex and Pebeo where possible. Tri-Art, Winsor & Newton’s Galleria, and Golden are good.

Reds: Cadmium Red (hue or medium hue), Alizarin crimson(optional), Cadmium red (light hue)

Yellows: Cadmium Yellow (hue or medium hue), Yellow Ochre, (optional) Cadmium Yellow (light hue, sometimes called Lemon Yellow)

Blues: Ultramarine, Cerulean, Cobalt (optional)

Neutrals: A rich black can be mixed easily with this palette, White (titanium), Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna (optional) 

Painting Mediums: Each type of paint uses different mediums to extend paint, build body and further work painting material. We will discuss these and experiment with using mediums for your paint. Get a medium that works with your paint (e.g. linseed oil for oils or gel medium-TriArt is a good brand for acrylic painting.

Palette: Approximately 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 or various sizes (~6-12), one at least 2” wide

Supports: 1-2 Canvas paper pads or boards work well. At least 12x16 - 16x20 inches. Bigger is easier to work with


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.

Access to a mirror to see your whole head

Small spray bottle (optional) for spritzing your palette to keep acrylics from drying