Short courses


Life Painting (Summer School Short Course)

  • 60 hours
  • 2 weeks


Slade Life Painting course photo

This two-week course on life painting has been structured to give you the space and conditions in which to explore the formal challenges related to painting. These include drawing, composition, tone and temperature.

Working directly from the unclothed figure raises questions that relate to, and provide answers applicable to, the broader sphere of painting.

You'll also be encouraged to use personal enquiry to experiment with the more individual elements of painting such as mark marking and language, and colour.

The course runs from 9.30am to 4.30pm each day. You'll also have the option of attending extra-curricular events such as talks and exhibitions on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings.

This course is part of the annual summer school run by the Slade School of Fine Art at UCL.

Course content and structure

During week one, the life models will hold poses for a maximum of one day to allow some variety. This will culminate in a more sustained pose in week two, during which you can pursue your own investigations in more depth.

The use of oil paint is encouraged, though you can use other media.

Technical support will be available for those who want to construct canvases.

You'll have one-to-one tutorials and slide talks and will have chance to talk with a variety of visiting tutors, each with their own distinct artist practices.

You'll be encouraged to explore:

  • the formal challenges related to painting, e.g. drawing, composition, tone and temperature
  • more individual elements, e.g. mark making and language, and colour (through the use of restricted and extended palettes)

The course will end with a group critique during the final Friday afternoon.

Who this course is for

The course is suitable for all levels, from beginners to more experienced painters. However, it's recommended that you have a rudimentary knowledge of drawing.


You can request an attendance certificate after completing the course. These can only be supplied during the year you take the course and can't be produced retrospectively.


This two-week course costs £800.

A 10% discount is available for UCL current students and staff. You'll be asked to enter your UPI number (available on your UCL ID card) when booking.

Course fees must be paid in full at the time of booking.

Only basic materials will be provided. Once you've been accepted onto the course you'll be sent details of the materials you'll need.

Slade Summer School

The Slade Summer School offers a unique opportunity for you to work within the studios and vibrant atmosphere of the Slade - a world-renowned school of fine art. 

You'll become part of a wider community of artists and will have a real sense of studying in an art school environment among Slade students and alumni. You'll test your abilities while learning new skills and different approaches to making art.

You can take part in a lively range of extra-curricular activities, including: 

  • art history lectures and artist talks introducing the varied contexts and histories of fine art
  • exhibition openings and talks by Slade undergraduate and postgraduate students about their work
  • a series of artists' projects run by Slade tutors, alumni and recently graduated student residents - you'll be invited into these studio spaces to discuss the works with the artists 

Evening events take place at 5pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. 

Take an extended programme of multiple courses

Many different one, two and three-week courses are available. You can build a personalised programme of study by taking a series of short courses over the ten-week period. 

Please call the Summer School team if you'd like do this - they have detailed knowledge of the curriculum and can help you plan a programme.

All the Summer School courses available are listed on the Slade website.

Further information

Read more about this course and others on the Slade website, which provides information about booking and cancellations.

Course team

All tutors are practising artists

All tutors are practising artists

Course leader: Ian Rowlands.

Learner reviews

"I loved the course and learnt not only from the great teachers I had, but also from the other students I had the opportunity to connect with. I loved working in a studio environment where we were in constant discussion about our work."

Course information last modified: 29 Oct 2021, 09:51