Painting & Drawing - Projects

This course may be delivered online - please see the course information box to confirm.

Course will adapt to online lessons.

The human figure is a common subject in visual arts. Just about every artist from Picasso to Michelangelo has explored the complexity and beauty of the human figure. There is so much that can be embodied in the human figure and so many messages that can be conveyed.
The human figure can be a carrier of certain values, codes, and as a symbol, or a documentation of the artist himself. Figures can represent symbols of the political, social, and psychological views or the inner world of the artist.

This term, encounter different approaches to the figure in art while developing and extending your knowledge and understanding of painting techniques and materials. Research and take inspiration from the work of artists who explore the figure and examine their visual language.
The level of figuration is up to you, but you should continue in the way most suitable for your work, with your style and interests. This term, if your work is mainly nonfigurative and you would prefer to continue with your own project you can work alongside others and continue with your own interests.

For the first half of the term you will investigate a wide range of different aspects of figurative art through a series of tutor lead activities. Some subjects and artists we will explore:
Recreations of Matisse?s late paintings -the figure in the interior, Matisse?s cut outs, Romare Beardon?s use of collage, Life drawing sessions with a difference, draw in the style of Egon Schiele, use figures in an inventive way in the style of Paul Klee, Oscar Schlemmer?s abstract figures in interiors and widows, Hockney poses, expressive & fast drawing-dance, unusual portraiture (extreme viewpoints) and self-portraiture and much more + anything else you?d like to do with the figure

Picasso is the great exemplar of modern figurative painting. Figuration can also be tracked through the work of Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud and through pop art, neo-expressionism, and in the New Spirit painting. Matisse refigured and simplified the body into an ornamented surface. Depicting the figure in an expressive, distorted way suggests the inner energy, sometimes even the struggle of an artist (Max Beckmann, Jean-Michel Basquiat and William de Kooning).
Below are a few starting points you could consider:
The figure as an emblem or symbol (religious or revolutionary art), the figure with tools or instruments, refugees, theater, diverse cultures, crowds, demonstrations, the figure in structure or abstract terms, dance, Greek and Roman sculpture, the figure as a powerful gestural or symbol, gender, mother and child, military, virgin and child, birth-death, fashion, how do we identify occupations through clothes?

Entry Requirements

To be eligible for this course you must be 19 or over on the start date of the course.

First Class Requirements

Please bring basic drawing and painting materials including a sketchbook no smaller than A4. You should have your sketchbook with you for every session. As the course develops you may need to supplement basic materials with other materials necessary to develop your work for independent study etc. to suit specific needs or preferences and to provide variation depending on the type of work you develop. You will need to an A1 size portfolio case to carry work.

Attendance Requirements

To make maximum progress, it is advisable you attend all classes.
Regular attendance is beneficial.

You will be working towards project deadlines at the end of each term.

Assessment Methods

These structured activities should give you plenty of good starting points to develop your work and ideas further. The exercises are aimed to help you establish and choose your preferred way of working so you can then, discover what sticks with you and has left an impression. You can choose to develop an activity further or work with a new idea taking inspiration from experimentations in class.

Working with research in your sketch book is an important part of the course. Through a process of experimentation and ongoing evaluation you will build up a personal record of your investigation. You will plan, record and develop ideas in your sketchbook. The subject matter you work from and the level of abstraction can be open and set by you, but you will have gained many ideas from the tutor lead activities. You will be working from imagery you have collected (photocopies, photos, internet and magazines).

Outcomes will vary according to the individuals? aims and experience.

New students will hugely benefit from regular class discussions, learning from and appreciating different level of approaches in class as well as giving constructive feedback to fellow leaners. Returning students will be able to take techniques and extend their possibilities through further experimentation or application to the specific project.

To start each lesson, you will discuss your plan and ideas (however insignificant it might seem) and the development of your work in pairs or present your work to the group if you wish. The tutor will also talk to everyone at length about their work.

Class discussion will regularly revolve around individual project work as well as research relating to the discoveries of contemporary and historical artists that use related methods and ideas to influence your own work.
New projects start each term.

Further Study Options

You may wish to consider further developing your Fine Art skills by joining the next term?s course, or choose from our wide variety of visual art courses. These range from short courses to more substantive study such the Access to HE Art & Design Course or the HNC Fine Art Course.

Additional Information

As a result of the government’s closure of schools and colleges, some of our courses will be delivered through remote learning including video conferencing, (using Skype, Zoom, Microsoft Teams) and email contact with your tutor.

If your course is indicated as an ONLINE COURSE, you will need either a PC (with a camera and microphone), laptop, tablet, smartphone and access to the internet to be able to join the lessons. Lessons will run at the published time – so be ready and set up to join in.

We hope you will enjoy this new approach to learning – many of our learners have commented on how they are enjoying the classes and have improved their IT and digital skills in the process.

Please don't worry if some of this is new to you - you are not alone! See here for guidance on how to use our simple software. If you are experiencing any problems with connection or installing software for your online class please contact our learning resource team on We are here to help you.

Course Outcomes

You will learn to use resources on Moodle for your work
Follow a disciplined approach to your work. Be relaxed in your body, but focused in your mind.
You will learn the art of thumbnail sketching
You will learn to collect a range of ideas for you project in your sketch book
You will learn to select an approach to enhance a particular idea
You will learn to apply a wide range of new and exciting drawing & painting techniques, methods and materials
You will learn to find your personal way/style of interpreting a subject

If you require further course information or advice & guidance that is not answered in this outline, please email

If you would like general information about the college, for example, fees & finance, funding and term dates please email
For information on course fees and how to get additional help to pay for them look at our How to Pay for Your Course section.