Ian Murphy's CPD Art Teacher Workshop
Painting and Mixed Media

Painting and Mixed Media Workshop Structure


The link between Drawing and Painting

As with the drawing workshop, the day begins with Ian Murphy’s introduction into his philosophy on drawing and painting: the importance of selection and design and the connections he makes with the sketchbook drawing process and the colour observations he makes on location. He illustrates these strategies with a shared scrutiny of his sketchbooks and the breadth of work (both finished and still in the process of being developed) that he brings to every course.

Again, if you have attended Ian Murphy’s drawing courses you will be aware that he sees this very much as a sharing experience: everyone is welcome to input into the introduction, allowing the focus of Ian Murphy’s opinions to have a relevance to you and your students. This will also be the beginning of your opportunities to photograph the artwork to ensure you leave with every viewpoint, opinion and idea fully illustrated to share with your colleagues.

Ian Murphy Painting Workshop

Part 1: The morning session

Understanding Colour

The session begins with Ian Murphy’s introduction to colour, and like all his workshops he will illustrate how he delivers his theories, and knowledge of materials to student groups, and how he encourages them to annotate the information to add to their working journals.

Colour, and understanding how colour based art products work are integral to this introduction, as everyone has prior knowledge, and usually a preference to colour materials; Ian Murphy illustrates how teachers and students can build on, and start to experiment, with this growing knowledge of colour.

Preparing Surfaces

Every great painting needs a really exciting base – so the priority in the first part of the morning session is to prepare all our paper surfaces with delicate base layers.
Basically, the more base surfaces that we can make at the beginning, the more potential exciting layers we can add during the day. ‘Every surface provides an opportunity’ – and Ian Murphy’s philosophy is to encourage students to just ‘Have a go, and see what happens’– he feels this is best approach to development studies.

Inspired by Colour and Surface Texture in the Landscape

Understanding the aesthetics of colour and surface texture – Local colour

A challenge to take back to school

Ian Murphy’s colour inspiration comes from his work on location, he seeks out weathered and eroded surfaces in the landscape (both Natural and Constructed), and these become the catalyst for the surfaces that he creates back in the studio. The local colour he often observes in the environment becomes the initial starting point for his subjective analysis back in the studio – he allows the drawings he produces from one location to marry with the photographic image he collects from another.
We see this as a technical challenge that you can take back to school for your students to try. We have included a few images to help illustrate the process.


Developing our Surfaces

Due to the practical issue of layering mixed media together, or more importantly, factoring in a drying period, Ian will ask you to work on several pieces at the same time. This will begin in the morning session and continue into the afternoon.

Part 2

Adding to, or Breaking into the surface

Ian Murphy’s normal practice is to add and takeaway layers throughout the creative life of the image, so key to this element of the course is preparing the mental strength to partially destroy what we have just created. Students can find this philosophy hard to embrace as their normal mind set is to just develop their ideas by adding more things to the surface. His aim is to encourage the creative mind to have the confidence, to learn to take a risk, in order for an artwork to become better.
Throughout the session we will be exploring the transition of the surfaces you create by adding to, or breaking the textured layers to your samples.

Textured Layers
Water and Oil based layers

Water and Oil based layers – allowing for happy accidents

Ian Murphy likes to experiment with both dry and wet products with his art practice, and even explore the anomalies created when oil and water based materials are layered together. His aim is always to allow the beautiful, almost accidental interactions that can occur when you are not fully in control of the mix, to be an intrinsic part of the finished painting.

Many of these techniques are best applied while the work is in a vertical position allowing gravity to play an important role in the semi accidental approach.

Throughout the day (development strategies) Ian will continually encourage you to experiment with different layers of materials just to be aware of the potential results, the happy accidents that could be a catalyst for a finished idea.

Students often ask about the creative process when they see such unusual materials on the canvas – ‘I simply explain that it’s almost like playing with creativity; I want to be excited by colour and texture coming together in a way that I can’t replicate by just applying paint with a brush. The more risks I take with materials, the better my artistic knowledge.’

Adding text and images

As you’ll know, if you’ve attended one of Ian Murphy’s drawing and mixed media workshops, adding text is a really important part of is working process. We will again be using text and image as an important layer, but with the inclusion of colour, this added content can take on another important feature.
Ian will challenge you to find the focal point to your design and composition, and consider how we can then include layers of text to work in conjunction with this. He often talks about the added text layers working in the periphery of the artwork, occupying spaces that are not a distraction to the key subject area.
NB You are more than welcome to bring along images and text that are personal to you or your practice if you would like to develop these ideas throughout the day.


Applying paint – Impasto or Translucent

Translucent: allowing light, but not detailed shapes, to pass through; semi-transparent.

Impasto: the technique of applying paint so thickly that brush or knife strokes can be seen

Applying paint to the surface of the paper or canvas is not always a straightforward strategy and Ian likes to say to students that applying paint thin or thick are both technically correct. In his studio, because he always likes to create tactile under layers first, his intention is to add paint thinly as a second layer, this allows the visual interaction between surface and colour to be an important feature in the work, even at such an early stage.

‘Basically it doesn’t work as well the other way round, I intrinsically use a watercolour technique with my oil paint for my first colour decisions, this allows light to pass through the paint to the surface texture below. I can then explore the exciting possibilities of vibrant, translucent colour washes visually interacting with the texture below. It’s only when I get to the later layers that I start to use more of an impasto technique.’

Mood and Atmosphere – Capturing the Light

Allowing colour and tone to work together

One of the key features of Ian Murphy’s work and most certainly one of the main ingredients that a lot of people love is the way he captures mood and atmosphere. This feature translates really well between his drawing and painting processes, and through the latter stages of the workshop he will challenge you to bring together the idea of controlling the quality of light and harnessing this with your choice of colour scheme. His main aim is to put you into the position of the students in your classes, and challenge you to work with colour and tone together.

Mood and Atmosphere in paintings


Ian Murphy’s mantra INSPIRE CHALLENGE SUPPORT is derived from his focus of being an Artist and Educator. The vast array of sketchbooks, drawings and paintings that he brings along to every workshop provides the INSPIRATIONAL facet, whilst the artistic CHALLENGES are very much evident throughout the day as he pushes new levels of understanding. And finally, the all important SUPPORT feature is taken care of with the online tutorials which provide everyone with 24/7 access to all the amazing techniques and processes that Ian Murphy uses everyday in his studio.

“I always want the drawing process to be a journey of discovery, and feel that working on a large scale really allows the sense of expression to be prominent.”

Ian Murphy working on a large scale

Part 3: The afternoon session

The finished pieces – Large Scale mixed media paintings

Again, as with the drawing and mixed media workshop, Ian will ask you to develop your ideas into a larger scale final piece incorporating some of the tactile layers from the development strategies explored earlier. The intention is once again to challenge your learning from throughout the day – he sees it as your opportunity to combine your enthusiasm for the mixed media, maintain a strong sense of compositional design, and resolve the all-important colour decisions, to ensure a focused finished piece.

Translating your drawing into a painting

The important and, sometimes, difficult journey for a student is the immediate translation of the sketch or initial photograph into the design for the painting. In Ian’s case he always selects from his drawings in the sketchbook and it is this starting point that forms the crucial element to the paintings composition and design. As with the drawing workshop you will know that Ian refers to the details of the image being done at the end, so the critical part of the initial planning process is to form your design around the important shapes and movements.

Teachers developing their large scale studies

Q&A, Plenary time – if possible!

Ian is always very keen to answer your personal questions and queries that arise from your day. Quite often though, the harsh reality is that we always run out of time when we get to the latter stages of the workshop – basically, everyone just loves the hands-on approach to his workshops and want to be creative for as long as possible. So, as much as we would like to build in the plenary session at the end, history tells us that our time always overruns, and therefore we can only recommend that you ask as many questions as you possibly can during the day, and if we get chance to build a Q&A at the end we will do so.

St Richard's Catholic College

One Day, Painting and Mixed Media Workshop
Saturday 14th July 2018
St Richard’s Catholic College
Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex

All materials, equipment, visual source material and documentation will be provided.
You will also receive a 12 month licence to Ian Murphy’s Online Tutorials

What Other Teachers Said

Wonderful, Amazing, Fantastic, Inspiring… As a teacher of 17yrs it is refreshing to attend a course of such high content and delivery. I will use every minute of the workshop back at school and it has the added benefit of inspiring the teacher as an artist themselves.
K. Johnson

Everything – all was such an insight and usable for exam and KS3.
Loved it! So important to do it yourself as you remember more. Very fast paced! Learnt a lot, very keen to try the techniques out on the kids as school.
L. McGrath

This gave me a clear outline and structure for supporting the development of students observational drawing techniques. Hands on is great, but seeing sketchbooks and examples of artwork really brings the course to life.
S. Huson

Absolutely fantastic day. Brilliant structure, course content and resources. The food was outstanding, thank you for catering for my gluten free allergy. Work, people, facilities were perfect, I have enjoyed it so much.
S. Trott

Really lovely atmosphere, Ian is very friendly and helpful.
C. Siswick

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Free gift for teachers!

Creating Great Sketchbooks

7 ideas I use in my sketchbook drawing when I am on location
I always stress the importance of my sketchbook to my creative practice - it is my constant companion whenever I travel, and it provides me the best solution to record the environment around me. I have always drawn in a sketchbook, its second nature to me, and it is one of the main things that students love to look through during my workshops. The downloadable booklet will give you an insight into the creative strategies I use when I draw in my books and hopefully it will provide you with a substantial aid to share with your students.
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Creating Great Sketchbooks

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