I am new to the school but I have taken art classes before.  Do I have to do the foundation course or can I join some of the other classes?

All newcomers who sign up for the regular term (10 weeks), no matter their level, take the foundation course.  It covers the fundamentals of drawing & painting and introduces you to the school’s methodology.  

If you have already received training or attended classes in the past you may find that you move through the stages with greater ease.  

Those who sign up for a short course or workshop in the half-term breaks or holidays need not complete the foundation course.  

I have never taken art classes before but have always been keen to do so.  Are your classes suitable for complete beginners?

The foundation course is for those of all levels and suitable for beginners, it will give you an overview of the craft of drawing and painting.  You will be grouped with other beginners and receive 1:1 tuition as well as demonstrations and critiques.  We provide a constructive and supportive environment in which to learn.

I am interested in enrolling in one of your courses but reluctant to pay the whole term upfront without knowing what it will be like.  Can I pay for the first class and then decide whether to continue and pay the rest?

We try to be as accommodating as possible but we cannot offer the option of a taster class.  This is because one three hour session is not illustrative of the course as a whole.  You can gain as much, if not more, a sense of the school and teaching from a visit.

All those interested are welcome to come and visit the school and organise a follow-up conversation either in person or over the phone.

How many classes in the foundation course?  Can I do more?

The foundation course consists of one, 3-hour class every week over a ten-week term. Students can choose from the following times:

  • Mondays – 1pm – 4pm or 6.30pm – 9.30pm
  • Tuesdays – 9.15am -12.15pm or 6.30pm – 9.30pm
  • Saturdays – 10am -1pm

If you would like, there is the option to sign up to more classes in the week.  This allows you to develop your learning from the foundation course.  You can choose to do a full day, or two half days, or more if you prefer.  

I have signed up to a weekly class and paid for the 10 sessions but I cannot make one of the classes.  What can I do?

If you know in advance that you cannot make a class please send and email or approach us about it and we can arrange for you to attend a different session at a more convenient time. However, as far as possible we ask that you stick to your allocated class as our courses are oversubscribed and we cannot guarantee an easel for catch-up sessions.  

We will always try to find a way for you to catch-up sessions and offer plenty of opportunity for you to do so.  Whilst we try to be as flexible as possible we cannot allow classes to be carried over to the next term.

Do I commit to the course for a year or a term?

We receive applications on a rolling basis.  Once you are on the course your space for the following term is reserved.  However, given the demand, we do ask that students let us know as soon as possible their study plans so that we can secure or release the place accordingly.

The amount of time that you choose to invest in your training will depend on your personal objectives and may change over time.  For this reason we do not require you to sign up for the year, however it is clear that this is a long process and progress comes with a lot of hard work, over a lengthy period.

What happens after the foundation course?

Principles Continued follows on from the Foundation Course.  

Whereas the Foundation Course provides an overview of the fundamental stages of drawing and painting, Principles Cont. is the opportunity to deepen that knowledge and hone your draughting and painting, with more time spent on the chiaroscuro and oil painting stages.  

Students will spend more time working on drawing and developing the cast in charcoal, whilst exploring painting of still lives.  

Do I get some sort of officially recognised qualification at the end of the course?

Lavender Hill Studios does not offer a government accredited qualification.  The school believes that students want to receive clear, practical instruction in the principles and methods of drawing and painting.  

In the ten years since its inception the school has grown enormously.  Thanks to the quality of the teaching we have gained the support of foundations, galleries and museums and we continue to develop new partnerships for the Studios and our artists, many of whom are represented by galleries both in the UK and abroad.    

How long does it take to graduate?

The duration and intensity of study will depend entirely on your personal objectives – is this a career path or a hobby, is it a full time or part time commitment?  With this in mind you will be able to decide what the benchmarks for you time with us are.  

Either way you will always find a supportive peer group and staff around you to help resolve some of the questions and uncertainties you encounter.  

What is the atelier technique?  How is it unique to the school?

The atelier technique is an age-old tradition, artists like Sargent spent some of their most formative years in an atelier, learning alongside masters and developing their expertise through hard work and constant practice.

In an atelier the tutor will work alongside the students so that one learns from demonstrations and critiques.  Groups are kept small to allow for more teacher-student time.  At the Studios the class size does not exceed 12.  The tutors also play an active role, regularly critiquing your work and giving demonstrations, which, we believe are a key tool for learning.  

Lavender Hill Studios was the first to revive the atelier training in the UK, the school has since championed the value of rigorous skills based training and brought the craft back into mainstream arts education.

What do I need to bring?

Lavender Hill Colours is the school’s art store.  We stock all the materials you need and provide an online as well as shop-front service.

To begin with you will only need charcoal (£2.35/box), we provide the packing paper; then you will use more textured paper (£1.02/sheet) and by the end of the first term you will be using a limited colour palette of oils.  Starter painting kits are available (£50).  

If you already have materials you are welcome to bring them with you and our teachers will advise where and if you need to supplement them.  It is preferable not to go out and buy materials beforehand as they may well be more expensive and not the quality you need.

How can I find you?

Lavender Hill Studios is situated in the Battersea Business Centre on Lavender Hill.  Buses (No. 87, 77, 156, 345) stop just outside the blue entrance gates and we are within walking distance of Clapham Junction Railway Station (15 mins) or Clapham Common Tube Station (20 mins).  

Limited parking is available on a first-come-first-served basis, permits have to be purchased at a day rate from the business centre reception.