Painting Classes Overview for Aspiring Artists and Painters

Painting classes for aspiring artists can be found at two- and four-year colleges, art schools, and non-profit institutions. Read on for an overview of the types of painting classes that are typically available.

Essential Information

Many painting classes are offered for credit and are part of certificate and degree programs in art. Others are available as non-credit, stand-alone classes for personal enrichment purposes. Painting classes may focus on one specific painting technique or several different ones.

Here are some common concepts taught in painting classes:

  • Perspective
  • Still life
  • Portraits
  • Landscapes
  • Different mediums of expression
  • Critique
  • Color creation and blending
  • Composition

List of Common Courses

Beginning Watercolor Painting Course

Watercolor paint is a flexible medium and can be used to create simple or complex paintings. Students in an introductory watercolor class explore various painting techniques through class instruction and begin to create realistic and abstract paintings of their own. Different types of watercolor paints, brushes, and paper are explained. Students learn about the properties of pigments and practice using various color schemes. Creation of light and shadow, paint blending, and wet-on-wet technique are among the concepts introduced.

Introduction to Oil Painting Course

Students learn the basics of working with oil paints, including choosing brushes, preparing canvasses for painting, and using painter's fluids such as linseed oil and turpentine. Instruction in color mixing, composition and depth enable the student to begin creating individual works of art. Participants work on their own canvasses and receive guidance from the instructor.

Painting with Acrylics Course

Acrylic paints may mimic both oils and watercolors or be used to create entirely different types of paintings. Beginners receive instruction in materials, composition, color theory, and design fundamentals. Participants experiment with various painting techniques and practice working from life or photos to create landscapes, portraits and abstract paintings.

Chinese Brush Painting Course

Students learn the art of Chinese brush painting through depiction of flowers and birds. Bamboo brushes are used to create ink washes in various gradations on rice paper. Techniques such as dry brush, layered brush, and wet-on-wet painting are taught. Students also learn about universal design principles and their relationship to Chinese and Western art.

Abstract Painting Course

Theories and principles of abstract painting may be taught through a combination of lectures, slide presentations, readings, critiques and demonstrations. Students taking this class have usually completed previous coursework in drawing and painting. Instructors often take a historical approach to teaching abstract painting, though the focus is on contemporary techniques.

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