Plein Air: Loose and Free with Tim Allen - Holiday Workshop

Plein Air: Loose and Free with Tim Allen - Holiday Workshop

This course has no current classes. Please the waiting list.

Beginner to advanced students welcome.

An expressive and bold approach to the landscape tradition, working one day plein air and one day in the studio. Students will develop the ability to paint and draw the landscape in an immediate, powerful and spontaneous way and come away with a wide range of skills to continue in your own practice. 

You will gain an understanding of techniques in mixed media, including ink, watercolour and pastel and how these can be used to capture the essence of a landscape. You will also develop an understanding of acrylic and oil painting techniques, particularly alla prima techniques as they relate to landscape.

Over the weekend students will produce a number of drawings and studies as well as one or two (depending on scale) finished artworks.  

Day 1:
Working outdoors (plein air). This location offers a wide variety of landscape subject matter. We will start with quick sketches and progress to larger works using mixed media. Tim will demonstrate sketching and a wide range of mixed media along with approaches to looking at and interpreting the landscape.

Day 2:
Working in the studio at Willoughby Arts Centre. Students will have an opportunity to work longer on one piece and resolve some of the ideas and techniques from the previous day.

The Location

Tunks Park, Cammeray
Tunks Park offers a wide range of options for the plein air artist - from harbour views and complex, surreal sandstone formations to lush foliage and grand, romantic looking vistas.

Tutor // Tim Allen

Tim Allen is the winner of the 2017 Paddington Art Prize - a $25,000 national award for landscape painting.

Tim has been exhibiting his work professionally for over 20 years. He has been a finalist multiple times in many of Australia’s leading art prizes - including the Wynne Prize, the Dobell Prize, the Adelaide Perry Prize for Drawing, the Paddington Art Prize, the Kedumba Drawing Award and many others.

He is represented by Defiance Gallery in Sydney and NockArt Gallery in Hong Kong.

Learn more

Materials List

A suggested structure for the workshop is as follows; mixed media on day 1 when working plein air, followed by oils or acrylics on day 2 in the studio. However, students can choose to work with either mixed media or oil/acrylic paints on both days if you would prefer.

Don’t worry if you don’t have everything on the list. I will discuss (and demonstrate) all the materials listed. There are also many creative possibilities that don’t involve using all the materials.

Consider the sketching materials, watercolour paper, ink and a few chalk pastels as the basics.

Wednesday: Plein air


  • A3 sketchbook (or A2 cartridge paper and with backing board)
  • Pencils
  • Rubbers (kneadable and plastic)
  • Willow and compressed charcoal

Mixed media:

  • Ink (30ml, black)
  • Chalk pastels (a cheap set is fine, individual colours from a good brand - Rembrandt, Schminke, Art Spectrum - are better. Include white)
  • Synthetic watercolour brushes, hake brushes, squirrel hair brush (optional but very useful)
  • Watercolour paper 300gsm. Either individual sheets and a backing board or a pad (not smaller than A3)
  • Watercolours and/or gouache, small tubes or pans in a range of colours (primaries and earth colours) - a cheap set is fine. 
  • Palette and multiple water containers

Plein air:

Most people will consider a folding chair and a portable easel as essential (although it’s possible to work without them). A small folding table is very useful as well.

Thursday: Studio

Colour List

The following is a generic list of basic colours - names can vary between brands. When starting out, look for Series 1 colours - synthetic versions of expensive pigments - in artist quality paints. Extra colours can be added as needed but this range will enable an almost limitless range of colour mixing.

  • Lemon Yellow
  • Cadmium Yellow Hue
  • Cadmium Red Hue
  • Alizarin Crimson
  • Cobalt Blue Hue or Pthalo Blue
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Burnt Umber
  • Titanium White

Useful extras:

  • Raw Sienna
  • Raw Umber
  • Olive Green
  • Cerulean Blue
  • Turquoise Blue
  • Paynes Grey

Oil Painting Mediums

1. The basic oil painting medium is Odourless Solvent (Brands; either Archival or Art Spectrum). No turps based mediums are allowed in the painting studio.

2. Refined Linseed Oil

3. Lean, Classic and Fat mediums. These are generally a varied combination of odourless solvent, linseed oil and alkyd resin. The lean mediums are thinner and quick drying; the fat mediums are thicker and slow drying. Some brands are still using gum turps rather than odourless solvent in their mediums, check on the bottle. Hand mixing varied amounts of odourless solvent and refined linseed oil can achieve the same effect (although these will be slower drying without the alkyd resin)

4. Smooth Gel Medium, Flow Gel Medium, Liquin. These are alkyd based mediums that speed up the drying time while keeping the structure of thicker oil paint.

Acrylic painting mediums

Names can very between brands, making choices confusing. However there are a few broad types of mediums that will be needed at some point if painting in acrylics:

  • Arcylic painting medium (the basic binder medium used in acrylics, also called ‘clear painting medium’)
  • Slow drying medium (eg ‘open medium’ or ‘unlocking formula’)
  • Varnish medium (water based)
  • Gel medium
  • Impasto medium (only if painting thickly)

Other Materials

  • Palette - at least A3 size. Perspex, plastic or primed wood. More than one palette can be useful
  • Brushes - a range of bristle brushes; flat, round and filbert. A range between sizes #1 to #12 as well as a few larger ones. Cheap brushes can last forever if cleaned well every session
  • Palette knives - a range of shapes and sizes
  • Containers (metal or glass) and cotton rags
  • Stretched Canvases - varying sizes; if in doubt this is a good area to spend a bit more money.
  • Sketchbook, pencils, charcoal and erasers 
  • A2 cartridge paper is useful for larger working sketches

Terms & Conditions

Please choose carefully as fees are non-refundable. Refunds of course fees will only be given if the course is cancelled or a place is not available in the course.

Payment of course fees implies that you have read and agree to the WAC Terms & Conditions.

Additional information