NEW COURSE: Painting from reference, with Nick Leavey.


What do I mean by "Painting from reference"?

To put it simply, there is a tremendous difference between using reference as a source for your artwork, and slavishly copying a photograph.

When referencing a source, whether it be a photograph, drawing, or anything else, it is the interpretation of the original image (or images) that will give it its uniqueness. Why copy a photograph when Kodak would have saved you the bother, and probably have done a better job of it?

This course is about bringing individuality to your work, whilst extending your knowledge and skills as an artist. During the course you will learn how to:

Compose an original image using your own reference material.

Understand, interpret, and simplify the tonal qualities of your original image.

Transfer an image from your reference material to canvas.

Learn how to use a limited palette to mix colours suitable for your work.

How to interpret your source material and create an original artwork.

How long is the course?

That depends upon you. If you have some experience of using oil paints, you will take less time than an absolute beginner. Julie, who painted the artwork you see below, had some painting experience and took six 3 hour sessions to complete her artwork.

If you follow the stages, from the original image; firstly she made a tonal drawing which she then transferred to canvas. Using the simplified image created at the tonal stage, she used the original image to inform her colour choices in the final painting.

How much does the course cost?

The cost of the course will depend upon how long you take to complete it, but ten sessions should see you produce a couple of finished pieces. You can either pay on a casual basis ($40 per session) or buy a block of classes (a 10 class pass costs $370).

You should also factor in the cost of materials if you are an absolute beginner. The best quality oil paints can be expensive, and there is nothing to be gained from using inferior brands.

Can I use Acrylic paint?

You can if you wish, but be aware that it gives a totally different visual effect to oil paints, and changes in appearance as it dries. I prefer to teach you to use oils. As a beginner, you will find them a lot easier to use than acrylic paint.

Can I paint portraits using this method?

You can. The quality of the result will usually depend upon the size of the original photograph, but the method is the same.

What should I bring with me?

Some original reference sources. Photographs are ideal, and preferably as large as you can make them (Photoshopped images are fine).

A2 cartridge paper


Your preferred paints, brushes, odourless solvent, Etc.

Paints in the following colours:

Titanium white -Winton is suitable

Cadmium yellow -Winsor and Newton is preferred

Cadmium red -Winsor and Newton

Burnt Sienna -Winton

French Ultramarine -Winton

Terra Verte (for portraits) -Winsor and Newton

Cerulean blue (for landscapes) -Winsor and Newton or Art Spectrum

Raw Umber -Winton

Ivory Black -Winton

If you have Alizarin Crimson and Pthalo (Winsor) Green, bring them along too. If you already have paints of a different brand, bring them along and we shall discuss their suitability.

A suitable canvas. We will decide upon the size by your third session, so no need to buy one straight away.

To book your place or ask for more information, either call us on 07 3161 7897, or contact us by Email by clicking here.




Nick Leavey