The course is based around a gradual but effective understanding of working with oil paint from direct observation. The main difference from other classes is that the students are expected to have the mental stamina to work on a piece of work for a longer period of time than might be expected. Working through the ‘ups and downs’ of a piece of painting is considered the only skill needed for this course. This is viewed as more important than what might be described as ‘skill’. Over the course of 10 weeks, we will recap some basic principles of observational painting, then move on to work on two or three paintings, working throughout from a life model. Different palettes and aspects of colour mixing will be explored, and students will have a chance to focus on detailed aspects of their portraits towards the end of the course. The aim is to complete one or two figure paintings in oils.