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Introduction to Classical Oil Painting

Michelle Hiscock
  • Term: Autumn Weekend Workshops 2018
  • Start Date: 19 May 2018
  • End Date: 20 May 2018
  • Time: Sat & Sun, 9:30AM - 4:30PM
  • Number of Classes: 2
  • Teacher: Michelle Hiscock
  • Level: All Levels
  • Age: All Ages
  • Location: The National Art School
  • Availability: Unavailable

Discover the sensuous beauty of classical oil painting techniques and be guided through a series of structured exercises and demonstrations of methods and materials. Michelle Hiscock acquaints you with the fundamental skills of oil painting, including preparing supports, using coloured grounds, using tonal underpainting, setting the palette, mixing colours, handling paint and structuring paint in layers.

Michelle Hiscock

Michelle Hiscock takes a special interest in the history of painting materials and techniques and their application to contemporary practice. She is widely known for her lectures and masterclasses on drawing and painting at the National Art School and the Art Gallery of NSW. She is represented by Australian Galleries in Sydney and has exhibited nationally for over 20 years..

  • Palette knife (diamond shaped like a trowel)
  • Palette (flat, without ridges or indents, e.g. plywood, plastic, Perspex or glass)
  • Tube of white acrylic paint (Matisse ‘Structure’ is recommended)
  • Willow charcoal
  • Paper and pencil for note-taking
  • Cotton cloth rags (old sheets are best)
  • 1 rectangular take-away container
  • Refined linseed oil at least 250ml
  • Disposable gloves (optional; vinyl is better than latex)
  • Small glass jar with lid

 Note: Do not bring solvents or mediums. A low-odor painting medium will be provided.

 Painting Supports

We will be doing a number of small exercises so a range of supports would suffice e.g. canvas off cuts; inexpensive mini canvases or canvas boards; thick acid-free paper or cardboard;  thin plywood or Masonite off cuts (MDF is not recommended).

Abandoned/unfinished paintings may also be 'recycled'.


Please bring all the brushes you currently own. Ultimately, it is preferable to have 5 or more of each brush you like to use rather than a whole lot of completely different brushes.  If you are buying brushes for the first time we recommend the following as a minimum:

  • 3 filbert, synthetic or natural hog hair brushes approx. 8mm wide
  • 1 round, pointed, synthetic sable brush approx. 5mm wide
  • 1 flat, synthetic sable brush approx. 15mm wide

 Oil paints

We are using a low-toxicity approach. DO NOT BRING COBALT, CHROME, CADMIUM OR LEAD-BASED PIGMENTS.  

The following is a suggested list of colors. The exercises you choose to do might only require a limited selection of colors so please bring the paints you already have and discuss with Michelle before purchasing additional paints. Black, white and burnt umber will be used on the first day.

  • Titanium white (professional grade only; e.g. Old Holland, Winsor and Newton or Art Spectrum)
  • Bright yellow (e.g., Winsor yellow, Spectrum yellow – NOT CADMIUM)
  • Bright red (e.g., Winsor red, Spectrum red – NOT CADMIUM)
  • Yellow ochre or mars Yellow
  • Venetian red or red earth
  • Raw sienna
  • Raw umber
  • Burnt sienna
  • Burnt umber
  • Alizarin crimson
  • Ultramarine blue
  • Prussian blue
  • Ivory black
  • Vine or charcoal black


Covered footwear is essential in all studio spaces on campus.