Term 3 Exploring Abstraction

Term 3 Exploring Abstraction

$345.00 inc. GST

Lecturer: Dr Melanie Cooper
Sat 3 Aug – Sat 7 Sep 
9.30am – 12.30pm
Level – Beginner to Intermediate


This course is the first part of two courses designed for beginners and intermediate students keen to explore a range of approaches to abstraction with acrylic paint. Students will begin by exploring abstraction through drawing with charcoal, pastel, pencil, and other materials to develop confidence in intuitive mark making and composition. With a focus on discovery and developing individual vocabulary, students will move on to experiment with a range of processes and techniques to learn more about the potential of acrylic paint. Drawing on historical and contemporary examples, students will abstract from observation, gestural response, and invention. A range of experiments and projects will be developed in class each week.


Please note that due to the expansion of the original 6-week course, the first and second parts of Exploring Abstraction will be reorganised so that it begins with a focus on drawing. Acrylic painting techniques and exercises will be introduced after the first drawing sessions and continue to run into the second part of the course. This means that some of the original lessons will run in a different sequence during term 3 and 4. It is important to be aware that if you have only taken one of the parts of the course, some lessons may already be familiar, though this repeated practice will be of benefit to learning and development of skills.





  • A3 drawing pad or cartridge paper
  • 4 sheets of A1 cartridge paper *(2 sheets for the first class)
  • 3 sheets of A1 oil sketch paper
  • 3 sheets of A2 oil sketch paper


Acrylic paint:

(decent student quality brand will do if budget is tight, eg. Derivan, Reeves or similar.)

  • Titanium white (a larger tube if available)
  • A warm yellow – yellow deep or yellow ochre
  • A cool yellow – lemon yellow or hansa yellow
  • A warm red – vermillion or cadmium hue
  • A cool red – alizarin crimson
  • A warm blue – ultramarine blue
  • A cool blue – prussian blue or pthalo blue



Hogs-hair brushes in a range of sizes – flats and rounds. For example:

  • sizes 2, 4, 8, 12.
  • 2 small round synthetic brushes in size 0 and 1
  • Old cheap scratchy flat house paint brushes that you can find in the dollar store or hardware shop*

Other tools and materials for different projects will be discussed in class (these will be things you most likely already have at home or in the shed!)


Drawing Materials:

  • Willow and compressed charcoal*
  • Charcoal pencil
  • Mars Lumograph pencil 8B or black pencil
  • Graphite pencils
  • Colour pencils, markers, Poscas, crayons, whatever you already have at home
  • Vinyl eraser*


For every class:

  • A4 visual journal or sketchbook*
  • Pencils*, sharpener*, eraser*
  • Scissors*
  • Glue stick*
  • Pen for writing notes*
  • Masking tape*
  • Bulldog clips*
  • Palette – a plastic serving tray, ice cream lids, old plates work well
  • Jar with a lid
  • 3 plastic containers with lids (eg. Old margarine or yoghurt containers)
  • Soft rag*

*Asterisk indicates the materials that will be required for the first class.


Melanie Cooper is an Adelaide based artist working across painting, drawing and textiles. As a graduate of the North Adelaide School of Art, she was awarded a Masters in Art History from the University of Adelaide in 2008 and a PhD in 2017. Exhibiting widely, her work was more recently shown in the Supermarket International Art Fair with FELTspace in Stockholm, Sweden. Her current practice is inspired by natural forms and concepts of interconnectedness, identity, and memory. She teaches painting, drawing and art history at the Adelaide College of Arts and Censors, Vandals and Iconoclasts at Adelaide Central School of Art. She also currently serves as state representative for the Art Association of Australia and New Zealand.


Image: Melanie Cooper, Thinking through violet, 2021, acrylic on canvas

Categories:Term 3 2024Short Courses
Discipline:Mixed MediaCollageDrawingPainting
Experience Level:BeginnerAdvancedIntermediate
Content Type:Abstraction

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