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Introduction to Short Courses Summer 2018 Introduction to Life Drawing Art and Anatomy Botanical Drawing The New Sylva: Drawing Trees with Sarah Simblet The Drawing Book Chinese Calligraphy and Landscape Painting Deconstructing the Cubist Still Life Exploring the Exotic Still Life Life Drawing - term-time classes

Deconstructing the Cubist Still Life

New in 2017, Deconstructing the Cubist Still Life is a 4-day non-residential course, which will use drawing, painting and collage to bring alive the innovations in form and style that were implemented by Braque and Picasso over a century ago.

Course Dates: Tuesday 24 July - Friday 27 July 2018

Inspired by Synthetic or Late-period Cubism, there will be three evocative still life assemblages: one based around the musical instruments which are so characteristic of these works, and the other two drawing upon the continental café milieu that provided such a rich seam of imagery for Cubist painting, drawing and mixed media collage.

They will be the focus for multi-angular drawings and the source of colour, pattern and texture, which will enrich the final mixed media project, as well as creating an ambience for what should be a liberating and immersive experience.  Students will approach this sustained piece through carefully structured exercises which will eventually be synthesized to provide the basis for their composition.

There will be plenty of scope for a personal response in the final project.  The diversity of approach exhibited in the works of Picasso, Braque and Gris will be discussed, as will that of their followers.  More or less abstracted, austerely simple or complex, richly decorative or restrained, idiosyncratically colourful or muted - there will be a multiplicity of approach possible for all levels of experience and taste.

Prachi Bhatnagar, Course participant 2017

Although a modest knowledge of drawing and colour mixing could be an advantage, a willingness to engage with the challenging yet often playful aspects of Late Cubism and the experimental possibilities of combining drawing media, paint and collage, is just as important.

By the end of the course - which will include a lecture, discussions, and a museum visit - it is hoped that participants will have understood why Cubism was one of the most transformative forces in Western Art. 

Equally, students will have: 

  • * acquired strategies for using collage
  • * learned to judge and mix colour more accurately
  • * have studied the elements of composition
  • * appreciated the role tone can play in a composition
  • * tried some new painting techniques
  • * have an enhanced understanding of abstraction


  • Day 1
  • An Introduction to Cubism- a lecture
  • Basic drawing revision - if needed
  • Multi-angular drawings from still life
  • Introduction to concept of fragmentation and Cubist drawing techniques
  • Day 2
  • Focus on colour harmonies associated with Synthetic Cubism, referencing key artists and the still life
  • Introductory exercise using collaged elements
  • A guide to tighter composition
  • Initial Development of exercises into a design for final work
  • Day 3
  • Experimentation with decorative and highly textured paint techniques
  • Further development of design for final work
  • Selection of preferred media
  • Commence final mixed media composition
  • Visit to Ashmolean / Print Room
  • Day 4
  • Individual tuition as personal Cubist-style image evolves
  • Group discussion on progress
  • Continue with project, refining colour, texture and detail
  • Plenary and appreciation of works produced


All materials and equipment for the course will be supplied: collage materials, gouache paint, brushes, palettes, water containers, charcoal, pencils.  Students can bring a sketchbook if they wish.

Charles Chubb, Course Participant 2017

Booking a Place

There are no entrance requirements or criteria, but participants must be over the age of 16. Tuition is in English.

Booking is open on the University of Oxford's online store

There are three payment rates available :

i) Standard Adult : £575.00

ii) Oxford University students, staff and alumni (10% discount) : £515.00

iii) Students (with a current NUS card) and OAPs (5% discount) : £545.00

If you select a discounted booking rate, you will need to present your University alumni/staff card, NUS card, or some form of identification indicating your OAP status at the start of the course.

These courses are non-residential – participants must arrange their own travel and accommodation.   To enjoy the full Oxford University experience, we recommend booking accommodation in nearby colleges through University Rooms (guests must be 21 or over, or accompanied by someone over 21).

Cancellation Policy

For information on the Ruskin's cancellation policy in relation to the summer courses, please refer to the short course introductory page 


Course Tutor: Clova Stuart-Hamilton

Clova trained at the Ruskin and the Royal Academy Schools in the 1980s, winning a number of major prizes and scholarships.  She has shown extensively in London: Sue Rankin Gallery, Cadogan Contemporary, Burlington Fine Art, Darren Baker Gallery and the Mall Galleries (NEAC and RBA Open) and in Oxford, where she has found many collectors.  Shows in East Anglia, the Southern counties and Edinburgh have taken her work further afield in the UK; whilst overseas she has found buyers in the US, Hong Kong, France where she sometimes exhibits, and most recently in Sweden.  

More information about Clova can be found here