Stephen Andrews_Heaven

Stephen Andrews. Heaven, 2012. Oil on canvas, 243.8 × 182.9 cm. Purchased with the assistance of the Janet and Michael Scott Endowment Fund for Acquisitions of Contemporary Art, 2013. © Stephen Andrews 2013/85

Contemporary Painting

Learn new painting techniques and experiment with unconventional materials while being inspired by contemporary artists and works in the AGOs collection that stretch the boundaries of the medium. 

This class is suitable for students with some painting experience. Meet in the Dr. Anne Tanenbaum Gallery School.

Terms and Conditions of Participation 

Please review the Terms and Conditions prior to the start of class. 

Participants must be 18 or older. 



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Thursdays, - | 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm (5 weeks)


Week 1: Painting as a Meditation. Learning from past and present works with Australian Aboriginal dot painting and indigenous quill painting. 

Week 2: Introduction to substrates, stretchers and loose works, language & techniques, learning how to stretch a canvas, or grommet a loose canvas and hanging the work. Gallery visit for inspiration

Week 3: Heavy texture modeling paste, gel medium, crackle & sgraffito, looking at building up textures vs direct heavy body paint, review of compositional elements. 

Week 4: Smooth surfaces, with soft and hard edges Sfumato! Hard edge, glazing  vs washes and pools on wood or other substrates. 

Week 5: Finishing the work from weeks 1-4, with group critique of work at the end of class. 


Required Materials

Acrylic Paint:

One tube of each colour, approximately 120 ml/5oz:

  • black

  • light and medium yellow

  • medium red

  • magenta 

  • ultramarine 

  • pthalo blue (green shade)  

  • titanium white (recommended to purchase a very large tube)


  • A minimum of 6 brushes including 3 round short handles (synthetic talkyon no 2 or  4, 8,)  and 3 flat hogs hair 8, 10 or 12. 2” chip or house-painting brush.  For a budget-friendly natural/hog’s hair brush option, try the Nobel brand at DeSerres.Please feel free to bring any other brushes you have on hand. 

  • Palette knives: one or two, metal or plastic of varying shapes

  • Masking tape

  • White student-grade gesso, 16oz (for students option to paint on mixed media paper)

  • Apron or smock (dress for mess!)


The works created in this class may take several classes to develop/complete and allow for drying time. Purchase 4 or more surfaces, and bring one to each class. You can purchase 4 of the same surface or choose from the variety of options below to explore and play.

Option 1: Canson XL Mixed Media Pad 11 x 14 inch or 18 x 24 inch. Each student will need to prime a sheet with gesso before class (student gesso, 16 oz.). 

OR Option 2: Stretched canvases or canvas panels 11 x 14 inch or 18 x 24 inch or square  

OR Option 3: ungessoed wooden panel 11 x 14 or 18 x 24  or square (can be cradled)

Optional Materials:

Options listed below are based on personal student interest

  • roll for paint brushes

  • bag for supplies

  • pencil

  • eraser

  • water mister

  • foam/plastic plates/trays or disposable palettes (white is ideal)

  • painting rag

  • interesting markmaking tools like a toothbrush, a comb or a basting brush

  • Modeling paste (Speedball or Triart, 8-16 oz recommended) OR Heavy Gel mediums 8-16 oz 

  • Crackle medium (Kroma brand crackle recommended)

  • Acrylic glazing medium (satin) 

Recommended Retailers:

Aboveground Art Supplies (discount code: AGOSTUDENT10), Curry’s (online only), DeSerres, Gwartzman’s, Michaels, or any other art supply or discount craft store. 


Thursdays, - | 10:00 am - 1:00 pm (5 weeks)


Week 1: Experimental studies/game play on paper. Students create canvas painting from studies.

Week 2: Grounding canvases for effect and painted collage compositional works.

Week 3: Working wet in wet, additive and subtractive, impasto and layered techniques.

Week 4: Object to image. Painting from self-made maquettes. Exploring projection. 

Week 5: Working in series and mirrored compliment, and masking.


Acrylic paints, brand of your choice, one tube of each colour, approximately 120 ml/5oz:  

●      Acrylic paints, Basic set including: primary blue, red and yellow, white and black. In addition please get a raw umber, hookers green, and a dioxazine purple.

●      Titanium white (larger tube - we tend to use a lot of white)

●      Acrylic matte medium (not gel) 250ml or similar

        Gesso 250ml

Brushes and Other Materials:

●      A large flat 2 inch chip/utility/house painters brush

●      3 medium sized filbert brushes ( ¼, ½ and ¾” hog/natural or synthetic bristle).For a budget-friendly natural hair brush option, try the Nobel brand at DeSerres.

●      1 small round brush that makes a nice point 

●      1 or 2 palette knives

●      A Palette: foam or plastic plates or trays. White is ideal.

●      Painting rag: cotton cloth, an old shirt

●      Water Spritzer 

●      some pencil crayons 4 or 5, various colours light to dark

●      Masking tape, skissors 


7 canvas boards or canvases 16 x 20” or larger.

** 5 pack of 16 X 20 canvas can be purchased at DeSerres.

Bond Paper pad 18 x 24” (Cartridge Paper could be substituted)

 These are the recommended materials for this course. Your instructor may recommend additional optional materials on additional days. All sizes are approximate. Our Instructors will do their best to accommodate alternative materials whenever possible. 

Some suggested retailers for purchasing your art materials:

Aboveground Art Supplies (discount code: AGOSTUDENT10), Curry’s (Online Only), DeSerres, Gwartzman’s, Michaels, or any other art supply or discount craft store.


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