Introduction to Matisse - Pattern + Illusion

Oil / Still Life

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Course details

In this 2 day introductory online course led by artist Alice Mumford, learn how Matisse used pattern to create the illusion of three dimensions and immerse yourself in the joy of looking and painting in oils.

Matisse transformed his studio into dreamy places, something like a stage set. His flat colours became real spaces we move through as a viewer. Inspired by some of his renowned paintings discover how you too can create space in your painting using pattern.

Over two mornings work from home alongside Alice while using the inspirational set up in our studio in St Ives. Learn how Matisse and other artists of the 18th and 19th century generated a new visual language, looking beyond the confines of European linear perspective. Explore how this approach can change the way you see the world around you and inspire your own painting.

Benefit from seeing how Alice creates dynamic compositions and invigorating colour palettes inspired by Matisse. Learn how Matisse used devices to improve and adjust a painting to create a more satisfying finished piece.

You will need to gather your own materials for the course and have access to the internet. You will be working from the same still life as Alice so you will see both Alice at work and the still life on screen. We will send you a handbook on setting up ready for the course covering equipment and materials. You won’t be seen or heard in the session but you can ask questions using the chat function.

We record these live sessions so you can watch again on demand for 6 month after the course. Share your work live with others on social media using the #schoolofpainting



In these two sessions, Alice will be working in the studio live to share with you her process. Questions will be taken throughout. We expect each one t0 last around two and half hours.

Session 1 – Live broadcast, 10:30 am – 1pm, Tuesday, 14th September

Context and drawing in charcoal/Palette and painting

Alice will talk about the context of the course. Look at how traditional Japanese Prints were such an influence on Matisse’s visual language. Look at Matisse’s scale and compositional devices and then start our drawing on canvas with charcoal. We will look at Matisse’s unusual and invigorating approach to setting up his scene using yellows, pinks and greens. We then go on to lay out our palette and start to paint in oils. Continue to develop your painting in the afternoon based on a still we will email you.

Session 2 – Live broadcast, 10:30am – 1pm, Wednesday, 15th September

Painting and making adjustments

Alice will talk you though the process of developing a painting. As you watch Alice work she will talk you through how she goes about solving the puzzle of resolving a piece. The session is inspired by the evidence of Matisse’s making adjustments to a painting with his own unique approach of using coloured cut outs.

What will I learn?

  1. Understand how space can be created out of pattern.
  2. Learn how colour can be made to have an underlying connection.
  3. learn to use spot the difference when it comes to colour to keep the viewer engaged.
  4. Introduction into “fixing a painting “.

Who would this course suit?

Whether you are a complete beginner in oil paints or would like to build your confidence working with them, this course is a wonderful starting point.

How Does an online session work?

We will send you a link the day before the session so you can join in live.

You can put questions to the tutor using the online chat function. We record the sessions so you can watch on demand, as often as you like, for up to 6 months after. You will also be invited to join our Facebook Alumni group so you can share your discoveries with fellow students from around the world.

Introduction to Matisse – Pattern and Illusion

Oil / Still Life

Sorry, this course is not currently available

Taught by


View Alice’s Work

“The school of painting is an oasis; a place to share ideas, enthusiasm and adventures into painting. Teaching has helped me to translate my thoughts and reflections about art into practical courses. In doing this I have learnt so much and shared in that adventure. It’s an opportunity to pass on the wonderful sense of being part of a bigger ‘family’ of painters.”

What to Bring

We will email you a guide on setting up ready for the course covering equipment and materials.

This will include a full materials list and you will need to use oil paint and either low odour white spirit or Zest It, if you are sensitive to solvents.

You will need access to the internet and either a Smart TV, PC or laptop or a tablet with audio. Phones are not really suitable however cast your phone to a Smart TV.

Timings and Breaks

Session 1 – Live broadcast, 10:30 am – 1pm, Tuesday, 14th September
Session 2 – Live broadcast, 10:30am – 1pm, Wednesday, 15th September

During the session please pose questions to the artist using the chat function.

We will be sending you a recording of the sessions so you can revisit as often as you like for up to 6 months after broadcast.


Online Live Broadcast

Do I need a webcam/any equipment.

For our webinar sessions which are broadcast on the internet no webcam or microphone is needed as you just need to be able to see/hear hosts and you can communicate using the chat function. You can watch using a PC, Smart TV or tablet. A phone isn’t ideal as you will struggle to see enough unless you can miracast to a screen or smart TV.

For the longer online courses on Zoom you will need a laptop or tablet with audio and camera enabled so you can have a screen near where you are working. If you have a PC without camera or speakers, you can purchase a plug and play webcam for approx £25 which connects to a usb port. You will also need reasonable broadband connection and speed.

I have registered for the webinar but I cant find my joining link

The link will be emailed to you at least 30 minutes before the session. Please check your junk mail and if you can’t find the email please contact and we will resend it. You can use a PC or tablet or even cast from your phone to watch on your Smart TV.

I paid for the session but missed it, can you send me the video?

Currently all our online sessions are recorded and the video recording will automatically be sent to all who booked on the session. You will have access to the course for up to six months from final broadcast date & a month for online life drawing webinars.

Our 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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