Two students' work sit propped up on a table

GCSE and A Level Masterclasses

Exam support

“Working large scale was out of my comfort zone however it ended up really successful. Heather helped a lot throughout… it was a great experience”.


Artist educator Heather Libson worked with a select group of Year 10 and Year 12 students at Oaks Park High School over two days to deliver masterclasses in painting and drawing.

The sessions intended to support students’ development of their exam coursework. Aiming to encourage them to experiment with working on a large scale, using new techniques and mediums. 

The Year 10s were responding to their GCSE topic of ‘Reflections’, and the Year 12s to their A Level theme of ‘Light and Dark’. Each student chose an image relating to their individual project and brought a greyscale print out of this to the workshop to use as a reference for their tonal artwork.

As the aim of the session was to encourage students to experiment with working on a large scale, everyone was given an A1 sheet to work on.

“I never worked this big before. I learnt to trust the process because it didn’t look great at the beginning but I like the final piece”.


Heather began by introducing her own practice and explaining how she often works between two different scales, translating a small study into a large piece of work. The students were introduced to a number of different techniques and processes they could use to create a large-scale tonal artwork and were given a wide range of materials including paint, ink, chalk pastels, charcoal and rubbers.

“The group were pushed beyond their normal comfort zones both in terms of working large and the combinations of media they were able to use. They learnt how to block in the larger areas first rather than focusing on detail, so that they were able to make rapid progress, with most finishing the day with a resolved piece of work”.

Heather Libson, Lead Artist

The session supported students to focus on and develop a sustained piece of work over a full day, and to push their work in new directions. The lead teacher saw students “developing a greater commitment and ambition to their coursework” during these Bow Arts sessions. 

100% of participants said they learnt something new. 

“Their drawings were strong, individual and reflected their hard work – impressive results in such a short day. I was struck by how mature the work was”

Heather Libson, Lead Artist