Diploma Program

The Norfolk Painting School Diploma

Places now open for Diploma 14 commencing January 2020, Diploma 13 starting September 2019 now full. 

If you are serious about joining the Diploma come to our Diploma Taster Day on September 11th, ask jane@norfolkpaintingschool.com for more details.

Diploma In Painting : The complete technical, aesthetic and creative course in painting for serious artists

‘ The Diploma is the culmination of over a decade of course tuition and the distillation of the sum of everything I know about painting ‘ (Martin Kinnear. Course Director).

Who it’s For

If you want to learn technical skills, improve your aesthetic judgement and develop your own creative painting style over a structured year then our diploma is for you.  You don’t need to be an accomplished painter to join. The Diploma raises the ability of experienced artists and sets new ones on the right path.

How it Works

The Diploma runs over a year, and includes nine three day residential workshops with Martin Kinnear at our Norfolk studio, plus structured painting assignments in your home studio between classes.

Each workshop is themed and includes a mixture of critique, technical painting and original creative work to incrementally build your ability over three trimesters.  Starting with a technical trimester the course explores aesthetics, and creative style development, making it a very rich and full learning experience.

Where to Do It

Diploma courses are only available with Martin at his Norfolk studio, students travel to it from all over the world.

Fees and Booking

All three 2019 Diplomas are now full. We are taking applications for Diploma 14 , starting January 2020.

The Diploma is available with or without accommodation.  The 2020 Diploma fees are £7,350 residential and £6,270 non residential, with payment by deposit and three instalments.

To discuss a place on our Diploma and arrange a portfolio meeting with Martin  call Jane on 01485 528588

Martin’s view of the diploma

‘What is our Diploma? Quite simply it’s the course I wished I could have signed up for when I decided to pursue my dream of becoming a professional oil painter. It’s a structured oil painting course designed to teach you the skills you need to develop and express your own creativity. It’s about thinking, about painting and about making changes for the better.

Does it work? Well the key to it was not just to teach a house style but whether we could create a course which allowed students to not only learn painting, but to do so in a way that allowed them to develop their own style.  Over ten courses in, every single graduate has learned to paint their way – so yes it’s a course in learning to paint like you – and there’s not many of those around.’

What’s Included in brief:

  • Around a year of structured study in technical, aesthetic and creative painting skills
  • All of the materials you need in and for the workshops at the school
  • Nine three day workshops over three themed trimesters
  • Comprehensive printed notes on each workshop
  • An integrated and structured reading and further study program, for each workshop to enable you to deepen your learning if desired
  • Ten home study assignments, one linked to each session, including a pre course study
  • Online group forums including access to Martin’s 2008, 30 lesson Home Study course as an incremental structured reference for core skills exercises
More Information

Our Diploma – now in its fifth year and  fourth version is our definite course in painting and has a proven track record of transforming the painting of its graduates.  A full diploma prospectus in PDF format – is available from the School.

What Our Students Say
“I just wanted to express my thanks and appreciation for your time and support during the Diploma it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done I had a wonderful time” Tom S Diploma 5
Norfolk painting school Diploma 9 student’s creative study from WS6 by E.P-Y
“When asked how I had found the Diploma course to date I replied that not only had it fundamentally changed my approach to painting in oils but that it had had a much wider effect on my life generally. I’ve become more focused, more disciplined as an artist. (I even call myself an artist!)
Martin’s teaching is delivered with humour, pace and generosity but above all, it is logical, well structured and supremely intelligent.
There are many Eurika moments for the competent students and the ‘debunking of mysteries’ for students new to painting.
Time and again during lectures, demonstrations and reading material, I found myself saying, ‘Ah, that makes sense’…
His support team are competent and patient and the ‘fellow inmates’ are there to encourage and cajole in real life and online.
The downside of a Kinnear course is it comes to an end so it really pays to dive in and ‘give it the big one’.” SF Diploma 8
“Very, very excited about term 2. I can’t remember when I felt so enthused about life, when I’ve had something of import to look forward to so much.
And it feel like something that’s for me. Not for the kids, or the ol’ man, or any other family..but ME!” SF Diploma 8
An introduction to the Diploma by Course Director Martin Kinnear
Bunsall Winter by Martin Kinnear selected for the Societie Nationale Des Beaux Arts 2018 Paris Salon. and awarded the Medaille d’ Argent.

What is our Diploma? Quite simply it’s the course I wished I could have signed up for when I decided to pursue my dream of becoming a professional oil painter.

It’s a structured oil painting course designed to teach you the skills you need to develop and express your own creativity. It’s about thinking. about painting and about making changes for the better

Did I mention self confidence? Well it’s that too, our Diploma courses also encourage you to think deeply about your Art and learn to present it (and you) in a credible way.

I think it’s the best painting course you’ll find and because of that it’s important that we find the best students. Painters with potential – (although they can’t often see it ), open minds and a willingness to get involved and embrace new ideas.

For all of these reasons the Diploma is a selective course, so if you’d like to take part then read on before dropping me a line for a chat about your work and what kind of painter you want to become.

Norfolk painting school Diploma 9 WS6 student’s creative study  by L.H

How it works with you

Make no mistake about it, the Diploma is a big course, but it’s also designed to work around your family and work commitments.

The course runs over a year, during which you’ll attend nine residential workshops in Norfolk  and be set a few hours of independent painting to do each month – although most students do as much as they possibly can.

‘A few hours’ means two paintings by the way – one based upon the skills I taught you in the last workshop, plus a second original piece using the ideas you drew from it.

Practical workshops lie at the heart of the Diploma, each month you’ll be presented with a theme such as ‘How to paint light’ backed up by hands on technical session, Art Historical context and have group moderation of your works

Group sessions are key to your personal creative progress and run parallel with any group study I set. At each session we’ll discuss how the last workshop has fed into your personal style. Some of the skills you learn will be merely interesting, but others will transform your thinking, and change your style.

Technical study sessions ensure that you build up a set of practical skills: Gesso, Grisaille. Ébauche. Imprimatura, Camïeau, will become practical skills you can call upon not just jargon.

Apart from the painting you’ll get involved with everybody else in the group via our online Diploma Forum, where you’ll find set topics as diverse as comparing Mondrian and Matisse or find technical resources on glazing or gesso.

A Snapshot of Student Works

What goes on at the Diploma, and what can you expect? Each month students create both Active Studies after well known painters and their own  Creative Studies based on the skills they have learned. Here is a selection of creative studies from Diploma 9 at the conclusion of trimester 2.

You’ll see straight away that there is no ‘house style’, no limits to your personal expression and no right way to do the course. By teaching principles rather than a  pre- set style the Diploma can teach you to paint like you, not me or anybody else; and that’s all one can hope to ask from a course.

Norfolk painting school Diploma 9 WS6
Norfolk painting school Diploma 9 WS6
Norfolk painting school Diploma 9 WS6
Norfolk painting school Diploma 9 WS6
Norfolk painting school Diploma 9 WS6

Joining Us

Diploma 11 starting January 2019: Full

Diploma 12 starting end January 2019: Full 

Diploma 13 starting September 2019: Full

Diploma 14 starting January 2020 : Open for Applications

Everything was contemporary once, This student had never studied in oils before joining our 2017 program. These two studies just need top glazes to bring them to life.
Learn how you paint; there is no house style on our Diploma, we simply give you the skills and direction you need to discover your creativity. Large format Oil on paper from our 2016 program
Each month you’ll be encouraged to produce a body of work aimed at helping you to find your creative vision and refine your technical style. Various works by Salona White 2016. Diploma 4.


Where will it take you? One of our international students discussing her encounters with the dark expressive style of Goya.