Art Workshops


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From the Ground Up: A Process-Based Approach to Oil Painting

5 Day Oil Painting Workshop

Monday-Friday April 20-24 2020

A successful painting is not about the end product – it’s about the process. A deliberate, thoughtful approach that balances planning with experimental curiosity puts the focus on how you are painting, rather than what you are painting. Paradoxically, by putting your focus on a thoughtful process rather than the outcome, the end product tends to be more successful.

In this immersive 5-day oil painting workshop, you will build a painting from the ground up. Steps in the process will include value studies, considerations for canvas preparations, underpainting, colour pre-mixing, first pass, and second pass. You will learn about oil painting supplies and materials, how to paint an imprimatura, the importance of dedication to the process rather than the outcome, creating a convincing sense of volume and form through paint application and colour temperature relationships, and colour mixing techniques – all with a modified direct painting (alla prima) approach. The style of painting will be representational but not photo-realistic, allowing for a painterly feel. You will learn to how to follow the reference as a guide more than an ideal.

You will work from either your own photo reference (ideally figurative or portraiture, but not required), a studio-provided photo reference, or a studio-provided still life setup (limited number available). There will be instructor demos, discussions and explanations, plenty of hands-on painting time and individual feedback, and a social hour on the last day to wrap up the workshop.

Drawing and shading experience is necessary; oil painting experience is helpful but not required. Some preparation prior to the workshop is required.

Beginners are encouraged to work in monochrome (white + brown or black paint) if preferred, to simplify the process and focus on paint application rather than colour mixing.


Monday-Friday 11:00am – 6:00pm

Price: $745 + 5% GST
Ages 14+



Payment and cancellation policy:

Payment confirms your spot.  All payments final and non-transferable.  In the unlikely event the workshop is cancelled by Nicole, a full refund will be provided.

Workshop held at Nicole’s studio in Victoria, BC.  Please note there are two flights of stairs to access the studio.

Materials list and detailed notes provided upon registration.

Contact Nicole with any questions.




Previous Workshops:

All About Colour: 2.5-day Oil Painting Workshop

If you have found yourself frustrated by “muddy” or dull colour in your paintings, having difficulty mixing the colours you want, or overwhelmed by choice at the art supply store or from your paint collection, this workshop is for you! 

This workshop will help you understand colour more thoroughly, match colours more efficiently, choose effective pigments for your goals, and merge conceptual and perceptual understanding of colour. Through a series of discussions, demonstrations, and exercises, you will gain knowledge in topics such as the colour wheel, properties of colour (hue, chroma, and value) and how they relate to one another, colour temperature, direct and indirect painting, colour charts, and how to avoid “muddy” colours for clear and vibrant results in your paintings. There will be instructor demos, discussions and explanations, and plenty of hands-on painting time and individual feedback

Some oil painting experience required.  Intended for intermediate to advanced painters, though beginners to colour are welcome as long as it is not your first time using oil paint.  


Friday 6:00-9:00pm
Saturday and Sunday: 11:00am-6:00pm

Price: $345 + tax
Ages 14+


Turning the Form: 2-Day Oil Painting Workshop

In painting, form is the two-dimensional representation of a three-dimensional shape. When painted convincingly, it can create the illusion of depth and roundness in your work, giving a greater sense of mass and volume.

In this two day workshop, you will learn methods of turning form through four guided exercises: the hierarchy of colour temperature as it relates to value; creating folds and crevices; matching brushwork to form; and how to paint light vs shadow. All exercises will be completed using a very limited palette of white, black, and a warm earth red in order to focus on colour temperature/value relationships.

You will work from studio-provided photo references and still lifes. There will be instructor demos, discussions and explanations, and plenty of hands-on painting time and individual feedback.

Some oil painting experience required.  Beginners to oil painting are welcome as long as it is not your first time using oil paint.  No colour experience necessary.  Drawing and shading experience helpful but not required.  Minimal preparation prior to the workshop is required (toning canvases).

Saturday-Sunday 11:00am-6:00pm

Price: $295 + tax

Ages 14+