Portrait Painting in Oils

May 20th - June 7th (3 weeks) & October 21st - November 1st (2 weeks)
Weekdays from 10AM - 1:30PM
Tuition Cost:
On request
Application Deadline:
One month prior to commencement
All students will have their own individual working space and easel. Model fees are included in the price and there will be one model to every two students.
Materials required:
Tuition does not include all necessary materials aside from basic studio equipment, stands, and a selection of fabric for backgrounds. Some materials may be supplied for an additional fee (everything except brushes).
Level of Difficulty:
All levels of experience
Atelier Canova studio
Class Size:
4 students


It is no coincidence that this course is the final workshop offered for the 2013 Spring/Summer season. Skills acquired through doing the Bargue course, cast drawing and still life painting, all culminate in this workshop. To paint a portrait in colour successfully, requires sound drawing skills, a keen understanding of the value range, and the appropriate paint application (opaque versus transparent, and warms versus cools). This is a very sophisticated class and for this reason we have fifteen days to work on the portrait – a total of 52 hours of class time.

This course will also be offered in October in an abbreviated form of two weeks – a total of 35 hours of class time.

A portrait sketch of a woman in colour oils

An example of a portrait used in the slide demonstration.

Portrait demonstration at the Harlem Studio with a girl sitting

Portrait demonstration at the Harlem Studio


This course begins with a slide show of some of my favourite painters and paintings. We will discuss composition and the various techniques used in the execution of the most successful portraits.

I will also give a talk and slide presentation on the steps I follow in developing up my paintings. The students will then arrange the set-up for their model and begin working on their charcoal drawings. After the drawings are completed satisfactorily, I will explain the layout of the palette and the advantages of a reduced range of primary colours. We will do a quick colour study, select our limited palette, and begin to paint.

Students working at the Harlem Studio

Students working at the Harlem Studio, NY

Students working at the Harlem Studio

Student's work at the Harlem Studio


This is the most complex course I offer, and those who have taken other classes with me will benefit from it the most. On the other hand I have also had complete beginners take this course, and they were extremely happy with their results.  All are welcome Рthe only prerequisites I ask are patience, determination, and a good sense of humour!