The British are renowned for talking about the weather; an island nation who follow the poetry of the shipping forecast, and whose small talk is dominated by how unusual the weather is for the time of year.

We are delighted to have Sam Clayden teaching with us online once more.

Earlier this year he taught a sell out course at Casa Rosa, in Andalucia, demonstrating his love of landscape, light and nature. Sam’s summer Sorolla workshop sent students looking for sunlight and shadows. January is a very different time of year and the wild exciting skies of winter will be part of his inspiration.

In this three-day online workshop, following in the footsteps of the likes of Turner and Constable, you will explore ways of expressing the endlessly changing clouds and skies. Through online demonstrations, historical examples, critiques of students’ work, Sam Clayden will cover everything from mixing colour harmonies and mark-making, to aerial perspective, light and form, recession and texture. 

  • Tutor, Sam Clayden
  • Online with Zoom and WhatsApp
  • 11, 18, 25 January, 2024
  • 10.00-12.00 Demonstration on Zoom,
  • return at 4.30-5.30 for crit
  • £145/3 classes and access to video recordings of each class.
  • Students will gain access to a useful library of cloud reference images.

What to Expect on Clouds and Skies, Oil Painting Workshop

Week 1 

The basics of clouds – basic colour harmonies and creating space, depth and atmosphere.

Week 2 

Creating drama – looking at storm clouds and backlit clouds, we will begin to look at clouds as large translucent forms that recede towards the horizon. 

Week 3 

Finding harmony – looking at late evening and early morning clouds, we will take a deep dive into some of the more glorious colour arrangements that skies have to offer. 


  • Brushes – a range of sizes and shapes – hog and synthetic recommended, but variety is always good
  • Palette
  • Paper towels or rag
  • Panels or canvases
  • Oil paints – any brand 

Any brand of oil paint will suffice and you are free to use whichever pigments you feel comfortable with, so long as you have a white, red, blue and yellow. Below i suggest a limited and an extended palette, both of which i will use during the course.

Suggested pigments:

Limited palette:

  • titanium white
  • Yellow ochre
  • Permanent alizarin/permanent rose
  • Ultramarine blue

Extended palette:

  • titanium white
  • Yellow lake/cadmium yellow
  • Yellow ochre
  • Pyrrol/napthol/cadmium red
  • Alizarin permanent/permanent rose
  • Ultramarine blue
  • Viridian
  • Burnt umber 
  • Ivory black

About Sam Clayden

Sam Clayden is a British representational artist working out of London and Surrey.

Although always a keen painter and draughtsman, he began his career as a journalist reporting on politics and the public sector for a magazine based a few hundred meters from London’s Tate Britain. Sam would increasingly spend breaks wandering its galleries and sketching the works of Waterhouse, Watts, Sargent, Leighton, Millais and Lawrence. Over time, his obsession with painting pushed him to leave his career in pursuit of his renewed passion for art.

Sam studied classical drawing and painting techniques at London Fine Art Studios, Battersea, where he now teaches Portraiture, Figure and Still Life painting.

Combining influences from 19th Century Russia, European and American realism, Naturalism, Renaissance and Baroque painters, elements of the impressionist movement and music, Sam’s belief is that nature, light and abstract shape and colour design can be harnessed to create classically inspired works relevant to contemporary audiences.

Nature is Sam’s primary guide. Working almost exclusively from life, his goal is to use the physical properties of paint to capture moments that feel real, almost tangible, but stand alone as abstract designs in themselves.