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The Heatherley School of Fine Art, 75 Lots Road, Chelsea, London SW10 0RN  |  phone 020 7351 4190

Post Diploma in Figurative Painting

Course Coordinator : Fred Crayk

Heatherley School of Fine Art presents an exciting and challenging one-year Post-Diploma Course in Figurative Painting. The course is intended to offer a period of development and transition between graduate studies in figurative painting or portraiture and starting out on your own as an independent artist, a difficult period for student painters to negotiate. The fundamental aim of the course is to give well-rounded support in dealing with the inevitable challenge of selecting painting as a life-choice activity and embarking on a career as a painter.

Course Content

Throughout the course you will be helped to understand the nature of aesthetic decision making, how meaning and intention can be communicated to the viewer, how to present and express your own vision through the work and how to relate personal practice to social context and an art historical frame of reference.

Initially the course will focus on the use of drawing and memory in the evolution of painted figurative imagery. This, along with an exploration of collage, will allow you to discover your personal interest as regards subject matter and your own creative trajectory. Opportunities to develop your individual, critical faculties will be a fundamental and on-going element throughout the course.

Models can be made available in relation to project aims and provided after consultation with the Course Coordinator. In addition, students will be encouraged and assisted to identify figure subjects connected to their own personal life experiences. The challenge and complexity of this will be explored with you on both a group and individual basis.

An important component of the course is an appraisal and exploration of the relationship between photography and painting and how the former can be used to develop your individual vision. To this end the course will go on to cover a wide range of approaches, creating figurative imagery in the context of contemporary painting and in relation to photography. This will include image-transfer using photo-screen print techniques and traditional printmaking processes. Technical strategies with paint will also be introduced and explored.

Seminars and Tutorials

Tutorials will take various forms including group discussion and critique and one-to-one tutorials with invited members of Heatherleys teaching staff. Personal tutorials with the Course Coordinator will be arranged in order to discuss possible lines of development in individual student’s work.

Seminars on contemporary and historical practice will take place as part of ongoing contextual study. The former will have input from renowned contemporary painters who will be invited to interact with you as external tutors. Most recently, Flora Yukhnovich and Oli Epp made valuable contributions covering a wide range of topics and issues in their tutorials along with appraising technical approaches and studio practice.

Professional Development

You will be given guidance and advice on establishing your professional practice.The demands of showing and selling your work and building a public presence via the internet and the commercial gallery system will be unpacked and various strategies to meet these challenges will be suggested. An ability to discuss your work will be encouraged and supported and, throughout the course, professional artists will share their own experience of exhibiting and promoting their work.

Assessment Exhibition

On completion of the course students will mount an exhibition of resolved works in the college which will be open to the public. This will be held and assessed in September.

Course length

The course will cover three academic terms from September to July (36 weeks).


Those intending to apply should be able to demonstrate a commitment to the use of figurative imagery and have completed an under-graduate Degree or Diploma course in painting. They should be familiar with a full range of oil painting techniques along with having some grounding in studio practice.

Application to the course is initially through an expression of interest made to the school office who will then arrange a selection interview. Applicants will be expected to present a comprehensive portfolio of work produced independently and/or as part of an appropriate course completed elsewhere.

Applications for September 2024

To apply for a place on the Post Diploma in Figurative Painting starting September 2024, please complete the application form below and we will contact you to arrange an interview.

If you have any questions please call us on 020 7351 4190.

TERM DATES 2023-24

Monday 25 September – Saturday 16 December

Monday 8 January – Saturday 23 March

Monday 15 April – Saturday 6 July

Closed bank holidays: Mondays 6 May and 27 May

FEES 2023-24

Post Diploma in Figurative Painting
(2 days per week) £5,795

TERM DATES 2024-25

Monday 23 September – Saturday 14 December

Monday 13 January – Saturday 5 April

Monday 28 April – Saturday 19 July

Closed bank holidays: Mondays 5 May and 26 May

FEES 2024-25

Post Diploma in Figurative Painting
(2 days per week) £5,910


All Fees

Course Description