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Essential Elements of Painting

Essential Elements of Painting

Regular price $925.00
Regular price $835.00 Sale price $925.00
GST included where applicable.
Early fee ends on 6 Dec 2023

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

Have you always wanted to paint but haven’t known where to start? Designed for complete beginners, this course will give you a solid and practical foundation in painting using acrylics and oil paints. Learn simple processes for colour mixing, composition, and perspective, to produce a suite of finished paintings.
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Course Details

Course Program: Summer School Week 1 2024

Start Date: 8 January 2024

End Date: 12 January 2024

Day: Monday - Friday

Time: 9:30am - 4:30pm

Number of classes: 5

Discipline: Painting

Lecturer: Kevin McKay

Age: 16 years and over

Level: Beginner, Intermediate

Location: National Art School

Course Overview

Have you always wanted to paint but haven’t known where to start? Designed for complete beginners this course will give you a solid and practical foundation in painting using acrylics and oil paints. Kevin McKay will lead you step-by-step through the basic techniques, showing you how to prepare a ground, compose a painting with correct proportion and perspective, and how to build tonal relationships that brings surprising 3-dimensional illusion to your works.

You will learn how to paint directly from life with still-life settings in the studio. Kevin shows you how to structure the composition of a painting, and reference the techniques used by traditional and modern masters. He introduces you to the magical world of colour theory with simple processes for colour mixing, to produce a suite of finished paintings; all the time furthering your skills and building your confidence as a painter.

*Short courses are open to students of ages 16 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

Kevin McKay was born in the USA and migrated to Australia with his family at age two. An alumnus of the National Art School and the Southern Sydney Art School, McKay is a suburban landscape painter who composes his work in the studio and en plein air. Plein air studies greatly inform McKay’s practice, with paintings that typically depict eerily empty architectural spaces, where the stillness of classical form and the drama of light is found in the everyday and in the midst of urban transience.

McKay has exhibited extensively around Australia, including holding 15 solo exhibitions since 2010. He was the winner in the Bayside Art Award’s Visual Art Prize in 2018, the Alan Gamble Memorial Award for the Built Environment in 2015, and Waverley Art Prize’s Oil Painting Prize in 2013. He was also the recipient of the inaugural William Fletcher Travelling Fellowship and Rome Residency winner in 2011. Alongside his many awards and prizes, McKay was also the recipient of the Broken Hill Art Exchange residency program in 2019, the inaugural William Fletcher Foundation’s Scholarship to The British School at Rome in 2011, and the Basil & Muriel Hooper Scholarship from the AGNSW in 2006.

Kevin’s work is represented in several public and private collections, including, the Elliott Eyes Collection, Waverley Library, BHP, Kogarah Municipal Council, Toohey’s Brewery and Sydney Institute of TAFE.

Art Materials

Students must supply their own art materials, please refer to the list below.


  • Visual diary
  • Pencil
  • Eraser
  • Blade for sharpening pencils

PAINT - Oil OR Acrylic (Art Spectrum or Atelier recommended brands)

  • Permanent Crimson (cool red)
  • Napthol Red Light or Spectrum (warm red)
  • Transparent Yellow or Indian Yellow (warm yellow)
  • Pthalo Blue (cool blue)
  • Ultramarine Blue (warm blue)
  • Veridian or Pthalo Green
  • Cadmium Orange (optional)
  • *Raw Umber
  • *Payne’s Grey
  • *Titanium White (large tube)

Bold = colours needed for first 2 days


  • Oil medium - stand oil (heat thickened linseed oil) 100 ml
  • Acrylic medium - clear painting medium (not “gel” or drying retarder)


  • Oil - odourless solvent (Art Spectrum) 500 ml


  • A range of cheap bristle brushes (flat) size 2-12 1 x filbert size 6-8
  • 1 x synthetic flat
  • 1 x synthetic fine


  • Pad of A3 canvas paper, or stretched canvases approx 30 x 40cm


  • Palette (plastic plate with no ridges)
  • Rags
  • Small jars with lids (for oil paint solvent)
  • White acrylic gesso (250-500ml) and raw umber (acrylic) is required to prime your support with a neutral ground.


    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