Oxford Summer School

One Step Away From Realism in Oils

Monday 5th August 2024 for 2 days — Cost: £120

Tutor: Kevin Scully

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Have you have ever thought that you would like to take your style of painting a small step away from realism without venturing into pure abstraction? We will explore that area of painting where the image is still just recognizable without being too literal. We will endeavor to create work that is both enigmatic and atmospheric. We will take those first steps in resisting the temptation to paint exactly what we see, and instead we will find other more expressive and evocative ways of creating paintings. A course for those with some experience of painting. All reference materials will be provided.

A course for those with all levels of experience including those new to oil painting.

What to Bring

Painting Surface

A selection of canvases or painting boards, approximately A3 in size or larger


Whatever oil paints you have. These are the most common colours that I use but don’t worry if you don’t have all of them, as this is only a guide:-

  • Titanium White – larger tube
  • Cadmium Yellow Light
  • Cadmium Red
  • Permanent Rose or Magenta
  • Cerulean Blue
  • Cobalt Blue
  • French Ultramarine
  • Dioxazine Purple or Deep Violet
  • Oxide of Chromium
  • Phthalo Green
  • Viridian
  • Raw Sienna
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Raw Umber
  • Burnt Umber
  • Payne's Grey


A selection of flat and round oil painting brushes, or synthetic acrylic painting brushes. Sizes: 4, 6, 8 and 10. A couple of small, synthetic brushes for detail. Sizes: 2 and 3.


  • An easel if you have one. There will be a very small number available to use
  • A dark coloured ordinary pencil (blue or brown) for drawing on boards – not a soluble pencil

  • Painting knives if you like to use them
  • Distilled turpentine, or other painting medium for thinning paint
  • Wooden, or disposable tear-off palette
  • Palette knife for cleaning palette
  • Clip-on metal dippers for holding painting medium
  • 2 jars with screw tops for holding solvent (white spirit, or environmentally friendly Zest-it or Sansador)
  • Some rags and kitchen towel for cleaning brushes and yourself
  • An apron, or some old clothes

Reference material will be provided, but please bring along any other images that you might like to paint.

Materials Cost to Students

Some other materials will be supplied by the tutor at a minimal cost of between £5-£10, to be paid at the end of the course.