Colour: Explorations In Art And Design

This short course provides a general introduction to the application of colour in Art and Design. Suitable for all levels. Zoom capability essential. The course is a 2 day programme Day 1 is online, day 2 takes place at the Mary Ward Centre.

Your tutor Abigail's practice and teaching is wide ranging. Although she has always been a colourist - she trained as a sculptor at Newcastle University in the 1980's before working on private and public realm commissions nationally. Teaching has always been a part of her professional practice and her knowledge and creative use of 2d and 3d materials is inspiring.

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

Who is this course for

This course is suitable for students with different levels of experience, including adventurous beginners. Students at whatever level should have an interest in visual phenomena and art, and be prepared to take risks and experiment. Those with some experience of working with colour media will be able to use the course to consolidate and expand skills and approaches.

What does this course cover

The course will introduce practical colour theory and some skills, techniques and approaches associated with colour and colour mixing. Sources for work will be taken from observation and in particular design in nature.
- Understand and apply some of the basic principles of colour mixing and use a colour palette.
- Working primarily in acrylics.
- Use colour in different ways - from observation, by association and towards abstraction.
- Discuss, appreciate and learn about colour from your own and others work, including fellow students and other artists and designers.

What will it be like

Students will receive the brief and detailed instructions before the start of the course.
Day 1
10.30 - 12.30 On-line introduction to colour and discussion of the brief.
1.30 - 3.30 Students work on the brief independently - in preparation for day 2 at college.
3.30 - 4.30 On-line group feedback and problem solving around the independent work being produced during day 1.
Day 2
Students must bring their preparation work to college to be able to continue and complete the project by the end of the day.
10.30 - 4.30 @ college. Exact start time to be confirmed due to staggered admittance
The course is limited to 12 students.
Teaching during the short course is on-line (day 1) and in the centre (day 2). Students learn through practice, group and individual discussion - looking at their own and others' work. Verbal guidance and feedback given individually and to the group.

What else do you need to buy or do

The course will be run on Zoom, please make sure you have installed it in advance of your first class on your computer or mobile device. You can sign up for free here:

You will need a microphone (it's fine to use whatever is built into your device) and camera, so we can see you via video. You may also want to use headphones during the session.
Make sure you have a small space to work in during the session.
By signing up to the course you are consenting to being on camera. The content of the lesson may be recorded by the tutor for internal education and training purposes.

Bring your sketch book and the work that you have done on day 1 of the course to the workshop on day 2.
Bring your own basic artist tool kit, pencils, pencils - HB - 2b to 4b, Graphite stick 2b, willow charcoal, masking tape. Tin / paper plate/plastic food trays to use as palettes - Jars / tins for water - Range of brushes - Apron / old shirt for working in.
It is absolutely essential you have your own set of brushes suitable for painting in acrylic. A set of synthetic brushes, that range in size from a cm width to larger. Small household brushes are also good to give you a greater range.

For health and safety reasons - materials and equipment will not be shared between students during the workshop.
Paper and acrylic paint is provided by the college for the second day of the course.
N.B. Keeping a sketch / note / scrapbook is also extremely important for any student who wishes to develop independently.
To view your tutor Abigail Downer, BA Hons , MA UCL (IOE), recent works and creative practice please go to

What this course could lead to

The colour course is a good introduction to the termly or year-long colour course at the Mary Ward Centre
Many other courses at the Mary Ward Centre and other colleges would be suitable to progress colour work further e.g. in printmaking, textiles, collage, stained glass, design, graphics, fashion. Check on-line and at reception.
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

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.’