Francis Bacon’s ‘Study for Bullfight No. 1’ (1969) © Estate of Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon: Man + Beast

Mixed Media / Abstract - Materials included

Book Selected Date

Course details

Coinciding with the major exhibition at the Royal Academy ‘Francis Bacon: Man and Beast’, this three-day course explores Bacon’s fascination with animals and how it shaped his approach to the human figure. 

Ilker Cinarel Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon, ‘Triptych’, 1970, Tate, purchased 1973, © Estate of Francis Bacon.

Let artist Ilker Cinarel take you on an exploration of Bacon’s interest in animals, movement and the human-form on this three-day oil painting course. Between September 1959 and January 1960, at a key stage in his career, Bacon stayed in St Ives working from Porthmeor Studios, where we are based now, making work for his first show with Marlborough Fine Art in London. 

Using No. 3 Porthmeor Studios, whose previous tenants had been Ben Nicholson and Terry Frost and then Patrick Heron and Trevor Bell, amongst others, this period marked a significant transition in Bacon’s career. During this period, Bacon experimented with paint and colour handling and embarked on a radical reassessment of how the human figure might be located in space on the canvas.  

Over this three-day course, you will have the chance to explore Bacon’s paintings and better understand how to add life and movement to your paintings. Learn how Bacon captured the uninhibited behaviour of animals and see how you can capture the figure in a freer, more expressive, way.  

Day to day plan

Day 1

On the first day, explore some of Bacon’s various techniques. Working from photographs of humans and animals in motion, Ilker will demonstrate how to add life and movement to your drawings.

Day 2

You will continue to play with form and movement. Using the sketches that you have made on the first day, you will overlay various elements of these drawings to build up your own unique Bacon-inspired compositions. In the second half of the day, Ilker will demonstrate how to build these compositions into a final painting.

Day 3

The final day is dedicated to building up and resolving the painting that you started on the second day. At the end of the class you will have the chance to share your painting with your fellow students.

Taught by


View Ilker’s Work

I love sharing my knowledge and life experiences with others. My unique approach is to try to create individual, authentic voices in the curriculum within a conceptual and non conceptual framework. It’s great to be part of an historical, internationally renowned school.

What will I learn?

  • How to add expression and movement to your paintings. 
  • Developing loose sketches into a final composition.
  • Working from photographs and found images to give your working-style more flexibility.
  • Background knowledge about Bacon’s life and work.
  • Using oil paints in a looser and more expressive style.

Who would the course suit?

Anyone with an interest in drawing and painting in a more expressive style. This will be an exciting opportunity to explore Bacon’s work in depth while loosening your approach to oil painting.

What to Bring

Our studios are fully equipped and we provide you with all the materials you need for your course. However, if you have a favourite set of brushes or any specialist materials that you would prefer to use, please bring them with you.

Francis Bacon: Man and Beast

Mixed Media / Abstract – Materials included

Book Selected Date

Timings and Breaks

The first day starts at 10am and finishes at 4.30pm, please aim to arrive ten to fifteen minutes before the start time. Please wear a mask on arrival.

All course days after that start at 9.30am and finish at 4pm and there will be an hour for lunch. There are plenty of nearby places to eat and we will serve tea and coffee at break times during the day.


Studio Courses

How can I get help in choosing a course?

Our friendly expert staff are always happy to discuss your needs and our courses in more detail to help you with your decision. Please call us on 01736 797180

How do I get my work home?

Tutors have special techniques for transporting oil paintings and the school has plastic folders available in our shop for £3.50 or do bring a portfolio.

For international students we are happy to arrange transportation of your work back home.

What do I need to bring?

Absolutely nothing! All materials and aprons are provided although some people do like to bring their own set of brushes.

What do I do for lunch?

Courses allow an hour’s break for lunch and there are numerous places nearby or you are welcome to bring a packed lunch into the studio.

What times do courses run?

Most of our courses start at 10am and end at 4.30pm on the first day. Subsequent days we start at 9.30am ending at 4pm.

Weekend Courses run 10am – 4pm on the first day but the final day starts at 9.30 and ends at 3.30 with a short lunch break to enable people to get home that evening.

Do you have to be experienced to come to the School?

The School is a very friendly and welcoming place for all ages and experience. Our drop-in life classes and August half-day workshops are ideal for those wanting to have a go for the first time. Most of our longer courses are also fine for novices.

If any of the courses do need a bit of experience we flag this up in the brochure and on the website.

Booking a Course

Can I pay by cheque?

Please get in touch by phone and we can hold your place for a few days whilst you post your cheque (made payable to: St Ives School of Painting) to us at St Ives School of Painting, Porthmeor Studios. St Ives TR26 1NG

How can I reserve a place?

We will hold a provisional reservation for 24 hours if you give us a call whilst you find accommodation. Otherwise please book online or by telephone 01736 797180.

You can reserve a place with a £100 deposit; balance is due 12 weeks before course start date.

About St Ives

Where do I park?

The nearest long stay public car parks are the Island and Barnoon both 5 minute walk away. In the peak summer months it may be easier to park at the big top car park by the leisure centre and walk down into town. If you don’t fancy the walk up the hill at the end of the day there is a shuttle bus which runs from outside the cinema.

How do I get there?

Public Transport: If you are coming from further afield the main train line runs into St Erth which is a 15 min taxi ride away or you can take the St Ives Bay Line which runs approx. every 30 minutes. The School is a 10 minute walk from St Ives station.

Driving: M5 will take you to Exeter where we recommend that you take the A30 across Bodmin Moor and into Cornwall. After passing Hayle, leave the A30 at St Erth roundabout for St Ives. Turn right at the second roundabout. This road will take you through Lelant and Carbis Bay into St Ives.

Where can I stay?

St Ives has a huge selection of hotels, guest houses and self catering accommodation to choose from. Please browse the art holidays St Ives section on our website and give us a call if you would like any help.

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