This course has concessions available

Abstract Painting

A practical introduction to abstract art, suitable for beginners and more experienced artists.

If you would like enrol at the concession rate, please request and complete your enrolment by contacting: or calling 020 7269 6000 Mon- Thu

Available Classes:

Who is this course for

A practical introduction to abstract art for beginners and more experienced artists, interested in the diverse range of styles and techniques abstract drawing and painting has to offer.

This course is structured so that each term delves into a different aspect of abstract art, whilst reinforcing ideas from the one before it. Learners are, as such, welcome to attend individual terms as standalone courses, or to enrol for the whole year.

Term 1: Techniques & Ideas
Term 2: Abstraction & the Human Figure
Term 3: Inspired by Nature, Landscape & Language
Learners are welcome to bring their own ideas, inspiration or approaches to class at any point.

What does this course cover

Each term will build on the one before by reinforcing ideas, while focussing on a different aspect of abstract art. At the same time, each term will be self-contained so that students may enrol for one term only if they wish. Although each term will be themed around a particular aspect of abstract painting, students will always be welcome to bring their own ideas and inspiration or approaches to classes at any point in the term.

TERM 1 - We will take a broad overview of abstraction, exploring materials, methods and techniques for creating abstract imagery
TERM 2 - We will explore the relationship between abstraction and the figure, concentrating on how artists in the early 20th century abstracted the human form from life models. In addition to looking at cubism, painting will be examined as a means of physical, and emotional or spiritual expression. There will be a life model for some sessions.
Term 3: Inspired by Nature, Landscape & Language
Focus on how nature and landscape have influenced abstract artists in unexpected ways, through non-traditional landscape art, as well as the relationship between art and text, such as poetry and music.

Course Outcomes:
By the end of the course students should be able to:
- Use a range of practical painting skills.
- Have confidence in handling materials, methods, techniques and exploring ideas.
- Be aware of the historical development of abstract painting.
- Develop strategies for working to a brief, including recording and developing ideas.
- Initiate, explore and develop an independent project.
- Have confidence in discussing own work and that of others.

In addition, Term 2 students should be able to:
- Be aware of and explore the links between abstract painting and the human form.
- Be aware of and explore the links between abstract painting, colour, mood and emotion.

What will it be like

At the beginning of the course there will be a short questionnaire to establish each learner's personal starting point and any particular needs or aspirations they may have. This will take less than 10 minutes to
complete and is very useful in helping the tutor to best help.

At the end of each class the group will come together to review their works and reflect on what can be learnt from one another. This is important in developing understanding and also helps students gain confidence. Students will also be encouraged to keep a photographic record of work made each week and
to self-evaluate their own development, against the 'Outcomes' outlined above.

During the last class of each term, there will be a review and an informal exhibition of students' finished works, to recognise and share individual achievements and celebrate successes.
This is not an accredited course but progress will be informally monitored by the tutor and learners will receive brief written feedback detailing their progress, at the end of each term.

What else do you need to buy or do

Materials will be supplied for the first session of each term. Students will be expected to supply their own materials for the remainder of the term. A full materials list will be given at the first session, but generally learners will need a basic set of acrylic paints and brushes, and so forth. Paper is free but students will be encouraged to work on canvas and other surfaces.
Total cost: £10 - £15 (Minimum)

Learners will also be encouraged to collect and find materials and objects to use in relation to their painting!

There will be no formal or required homework, although students will be encouraged and supported to work on their projects and ideas in their own time.

What this course could lead to

This course compliments further courses in Design, Glass, Painting, Photography & Textiles.
There is detailed information in Reception about all our courses at the Mary Ward Centre and a library of prospectuses for other London colleges to help you continue your studies. If you need more detailed advice, please ask your tutor.

There is detailed information in Reception about all our courses at the Mary Ward Centre.
Information about other learning opportunities can be obtained from Learn Direct: and from the following websites:;;;;

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I've been to many Centres to study in London and the Mary Ward Centre is one of the nicest I've studied in.

MWC student


This course has concessions available for people who meet certain criteria

Got a Question about this Course?

Contact The Departmental Administrator.

Why choose Mary Ward?

Mary Ward Centre is the adult education centre with a difference. We provide a wide range of subjects for people at all levels and run courses during the day, evening and weekends to suit your timetable. You can learn face to face at one of our centres (Bloomsbury or Waterloo) or take an online course

Get inspired and enjoy excellent teaching in an environment where each individual’s learning experience is valued. That’s what makes Mary Ward Centre ‘the friendly place to learn.’