Wellington School of Drawing


Seeking a higher purpose

At present, in the fine arts institution setting, little is handed on from teacher to student in drawing and painting.  As a result students spend long hours working alone, reinventing the wheel. 

Building a discipline, through routine, strengthens a work ethic, allowing students to develop the playfulness essential to practice.  In this way creativity can be harnessed, rather than chasing the ever shifting goal of the ‘avant-garde’. 

Our intention is to advance the teaching of drawing and painting, providing  solid training in strategies and procedures for developing work.  We offer a wide range of classes for all students, whether you’re an experienced artist taking your work to a new level, a student currently studying in one of the local art institutions, or a beginner interested in finding your hand, the Drawing Studio is a resource for all.




Studying craft in pursuit of art

"Drawing is undervalued.  It is likened to sketching by most.  In fact its range is such that as an analytical tool it gave rise to science (Leonardo), gave history its written record (pictograph to symbol) and in the realm of ideas drawing has given shape to thoughts and feelings – in the spiritual realm.

Learning to draw is no different from learning to speak, write, compose and play music, or any other activity by which expression is given to ideas.  Keep an open mind to its many possibilities and thus to your own practice of it as an instrument of limitless power in the realm of ideas and feelings."


                                                                   Deane G. Keller 2000

Class Schedule

Intensive Figure Drawing         Mon              10-1pm 


Sustained Figure Drawing       Mon/Thurs     2-5pm


Figure Drawing Anatomy        Mon               6-9pm

Figure Drawing Strategies      Thurs              6-8pm

Cast Drawing                        Tues/Fri          10-1pm 


Cast Drawing & Painting        Tues/Fri           2-5pm


Still life & Cast Drawing          Tues              6-8pm


Portrait Drawing                    Wed                2-5pm

Untutored Life                      Wed/Fri           7-9pm

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Intensive figure drawing

Trying new strategies

For keen beginners and experienced artists wanting to push their work to a new level, this course will make accessible a body of useful drawing strategies to boost the student’s performance.  Though each strategy presents its own expressive possibilities, the intensive nature of the course and sheer volume of output will enable the student to work in a more intuitive, responsive manner.
To this end, the course will consist of many quick drawings, each exercise concluding in a longer work based on the particular strategy studied.  In this way skills will be practiced, assimilated and employed as part of the individual’s fabric.

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Sustained figure drawing

Form lighting and shadow shape

Introducing a simple light and shadow value system, offers the opportunity  to study the figure under classical 'form lighting' conditions.  The edge of the shadow provides a useful internal line expressing the form's volume. 


Initially we draw what we see but this is further supported by knowledge and experience.  Drawing is ultimately an invention yet it is also how we tell the story, the battle to find the drawing and engage with the attendant inspiration.

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Head structure

Portrait drawing and painting

The underlying form of the skull is the framework on which we develop the drawn head. Initially students will draw as if ‘sculpting’ the head, working with construction lines to suggest proportion and seeking a basic overview. 

Massing the larger forms and locating underlying anatomical landmarks, supports the confident placement of features.

Analytical drawing exercises will  culminate in oil sketches using directional/form lighting.  Demonstrations and a slide lecture will support studio work.

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Still life

Constructing a painting

Painting will begin in monochrome using the wipe out process, effectively drawing with paint.  The second term will introduce toned grounds (both light and mid-tone) in preparation for indirect painting, where work is sustained over several weeks and built up gradually through layering.  Moving from the ‘Grisaille’ (under-painting) through to the broadly painted ‘Ebauche’ (first colour layer), will reveal how each ensuing layer modifies but does not altogether conceal the under-painting.


Figure painting

Reinterpreting Figures

This course lays the foundation for representing the figure in oil paint.  Introducing a wide range of drawing strategies to free the hand and useful ways of constructing a workable figure, students will progress to studying the effects of light on form, identifying and translating value (tonal) relationships. 
Oil painting begins in monochrome using the wipe out process, effectively drawing with paint.  Subsequently, we will introduce toned grounds in preparation for indirect painting, where the work is sustained over several weeks and built up gradually through layering. 




Reinforcing pictorial structure

Working from gesture drawings through to sustained figure studies, this course will introduce strategies for effective composition.  Students will advance from the use of medieval geometry to the rendering of light and shadow with a view to the tonal pattern.  The historic use of implied line, lost edges and handling of focal interest will be emphasised. 
Specific attention will be given to Japanese composition that gave life and energy to the work of the Post-Impressionist and later abstract painters.

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Figure study

Alan WIlson

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Head Study (grisaille)

Victoria Sanchez-Naffziger


Reclining Figure

Sarah Thompson

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Figure Torso
(Wipe out)

Valerie Cooper

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Detail Study

Diana Hand

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Standing Figure

William Mulraney

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Draped Figure

Valerie Cooper

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Oil Sketch

Andrew Stenson

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Draped Figure

Jane Roy


Enquiries Welcome

 Wellington School of Drawing

166a Cuba Street



022 5970 437

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Cast Drawing

Beginning with the masters

In the 19th and early 20th centuries drawing and painting from sculpture was a fundamental part of the artist’s training, the gold standard in the study of light and shadow.

 Illuminated by a stable light source,  the cast presents a stationary subject where the complexities of human form are resolved by the sculptor and frequently organized with greater clarity than offered in drawing from life.  For this reason cast drawing was seen as the entry point in the study of painting.


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Artistic Anatomy

Supporting what you see with knowledge

"Clearly an immense respect for the human figure in art supports the study of it; in turn, the greater familiarity with it, the more authority evident in the work and the more sovereign the expression."     

                                 Deane G. Keller

​A knowledge of Anatomical structure provides the artist with the freedom to invent and distort a figure to fit the demands of a particular design.  The art is to balance the expressive response with the growing understanding of structure.  This essential struggle, played out on paper or canvas contributes to the stirring nature of a work.

Courses Offered