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Contemporary Painting: Interior to Exterior Landscapes

Contemporary Painting: Interior to Exterior Landscapes

Regular price $832.50
Regular price $925.00 Sale price $832.50
GST included where applicable.

On Campus
8-12 Jul 2024 (Mon - Fri)
9:30am - 4:30pm

Use the motif of the window to paint within a framework, creating a dynamic tension between outside and inside, landscapes and interiors. Beginning with still life set-ups to draw and paint, then moving to real window vistas on the NAS campus, as well as photographs from your own collections.
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Course Details

Course Program: Winter School 2024

Start Date: 8 July 2024

End Date: 12 July 2024

Day: Monday - Friday

Time: 9:30am - 4:30pm

Number of classes: 5

Discipline: Painting

Lecturer: Michelle Cawthorn

Age: 16 years and over

Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

Location: National Art School

Course Overview

Use the motif of the window to paint within a framework, creating a dynamic tension between outside and inside, landscapes and interiors. The window is a neat compositional device to bring the landscape in, creating a push-and-pull compression of space. Beginning with still life set-ups to draw and paint, then moving to real window vistas on the NAS campus, as well as photographs from your own collections.

Michelle Cawthorn has a practical approach to teaching painting, where beginners can learn fundamental skills such as how to arrange a palette, colour mixing and composition, mark making and the journey from sketching to complete studio paintings. She focuses on composition, colour, line, the illusion of space, the use of a colored ground, and how to incorporate the elements to direct the eye across the picture plane.

You’ll learn a variety of brushwork techniques. Michelle also references modernist painters such as Matisse, Bonnard etc through books and slides.

As the course progresses you will select your own compositions based on working drawings, previous paintings, or personal photographs to create one or more sustained paintings. Bring your own collection of photographs depicting indoor and outdoor scenes to inspire your paintings. Students will be encouraged to try new approaches, build on existing skills, pursue their own visual style and aesthetics, and develop a critical language around painting practice.

The course is open to all levels, from beginners to those with prior experience. Students can choose their preferred medium of acrylics or oil paints. Michelle works closely with everyone, guiding each person within the parameters of their abilities, and guiding them to new levels.

*NAS Short Courses are open to students of ages 16 years and over. The NAS Art Club is open to students from ages 15 years and over.

*Drawing and painting short courses may
be held in upstairs studios. If access to stairs is not suitable, please contact NAS Short Courses Administration at

Lecturer Profile

Michelle Cawthorn invokes memory and personal experience through her distinctive visual language of repetitive mark-making.

Exploring themes related to childhood, place, identity, and sexuality, she creates enigmatic works that hover between figuration and abstraction. Though grounded in drawing, her practice intersects with painting, sculpture, and installation.

Michelle has extensive teaching experience and holds a sessional lecturing position at the University of Wollongong where she has been teaching since 2015.

She also taught for many years at University of NSW Arts, Design and Architecture where she completed her PhD in Fine Art in 2020. Michelle has been a finalist in many national prizes including, the Splash McClelland Contemporary Watercolour Award, the Ravenswood Australian Women’s Art Prize, and the Adelaide Perry Prize for Drawing amongst others. She has twice been winner of the Hazelhurst Art on Paper, Local Artist Award (2017 and 2013) and in 2017 she was a finalist in the Sulman Prize at the Art Gallery of NSW. 

Her work has been exhibited throughout Australia and is held in several Australian public collections, including ARTBANK. Michelle is represented by OLSEN Gallery, Sydney.

Art Materials

  • A4 sketch book
  • 1 x 4B pencil
  • 1 packet of willow charcoal
  • Eraser hard
  • Retractable blade sharpener
  • An A3 pad with Oil Sketch Paper
  • 1 larger canvas board or stretch canvas (approx. 60 x 80cm)
  • Flat wood or plastic artist palette, or disposable palette (without ridges or sections). E.g.
  • 2 x small glass containers for solvent and medium (oil painters)
  • 2 x small containers for water and medium (acrylic painters)
  • Palette knife
  • Old rags
  • Brushes – synthetic brushes only - Art Basic brand is recommended
  • 3 flat brushes in sizes approximately 20mm, 15mm and 10mm wide
  • 3 filbert or bright brushes in sizes that are approximately 15mm, 10mm and 5mm

Paints Acrylic or Oils

Bring whatever paints you already have. The following is a guide of minimum paints you’ll need and more can be purchased at Parker’s on the NAS campus.

Acrylic paint for a colour ground - 75ml tube of Titanium White, Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Red (or equivalent in lower series)

Oil Paints

  • Titanium White
  • Raw Umber
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • Cerulean Blue
  • Cadmium Yellow (or equivalent ie Spectrum Yellow)
  • Lemon Yellow
  • Cadmium Red (or equivalent ie Spectrum Red)
  • Alizarin Crimson
  • Zinc White (optional extra)
  • Phthalo Blue (optional extra)
  • Odorless Solvent (preferred brand is Gamsol – lowest fumes)
  • Medium no 1 or 2

Acrylic paints (Matisse “Structure” paints (NOT FLOW) are recommended)

  • Titanium White
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • Cerulean Blue
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Raw umber
  • Cadmium Yellow
  • Lemon yellow
  • Cadmium Red
  • Alizarin Crimson

Enclosed shoes are essential


    Parkers Fine Art Supplies have a location of the NAS campus and offer a discount for NAS short courses students. To discuss and order art materials please contact Parkers:

    Phone: +61 2 9247 9979


    Parkers Fine Art Supplies Website 

    In line with NAS Covid Safety Guidelines, all students and visitors must be fully vaccinated or have a medical contraindication form completed by a health professional.

    Protective clothing and covered footwear essential