Portrait Painting | Masterclass

Learn to paint a competent portrait in oils.

Date & Time

15th-19th July 2019 | Monday to Friday | 10:00-17:00


LARA Bristol
Trinity Road
Bristol BS2 0NW
Bring me there

This Masterclass will teach you to paint a competent portrait in oils.

This Masterclass has achieved sufficient sign-ups to run.

Aims of this Course


  • Applying a knowledge of anatomy to a portrait.
  • Understanding the proportions and planes of the head to develop a deeper knowledge of the underlying structure of the form.
  • Capturing an accurate likeness of the sitter and bringing out the best in your model.
  • How to organise a complicated subject with a simple value range.
  • Assembling an appropriate palette of colour and mixing accurate colour values.
  • Paint handling and edge control.
  • Controlling focus within portrait painting and overall design.

The Facilities

This Masterclass is limited to 8 students and takes place in the Figure Room of the LARA Bristol studio. Each model is lit with individual professional photographic lighting which provides a steady, unchanging environment from which to observe all elements of portrait painting.


Please bring the following materials with you. Items marked with an asterisk are stocked in the LARA shop. Please call ahead if you would like to reserve items to ensure availability.

Oil Paint: The LARA Palette

  • Lead White – PW1 (recommended) or Titanium White* – PW6
  • Nickel Yellow* – PY 53
  • Yellow Ochre* – PY 43
  • Cadmium Red* – PR 108 (or cheaper alternative English Red PR 1C1 or Winsor and Newton Scarlet Red))
  • Alizarin Crimson* – PR 83 (more permanent alternatives: Quindacridone Magenta – PR 122, Quindacridone Maroon – PR 206)
  • Cobalt Blue* – PB 28 (or cheaper alternative Ultramarine Blue PB 29)
  • Raw Umber* – PBr 7
  • Ivory Black* – PBk 9
  • We highly recommend Old Holland, C Roberson, Blockx, Vasari and Winsor and Newton (cheapest option)

For Your Transfer Drawing

  • Tracing paper* – 1 or 2 sheets same size as canvas
  • Charcoal* – this can be willow charcoal or you can purchase Nitram charcoal from the school

For Painting

  • Balanced wooden arm palette* (if you are right handed, please buy a left handed palette, and vice versa)
  • Stretched linen canvas* or gesso panel 18″x24″ approximately. It’s advisable to bring 2 canvases of the same size to help transport your painting safely home.  If you know how to put down an imprimatura, please do so with a thin wash of raw umber as this will save you painting time. Alternatively we will do a demonstration on the first day for those who are unsure.
  • Small (roughly A4 size) canvas cut-off, panel or canvas paper* – for colour study
  • Hog bristle brushes*  (overall a good selection of hog brushes should be used.  The more brushes, the easier it is to keep colour mixes clean. A variety of sizes is essential for handling large areas of the painting as well as small details.  However, a set of at least 10 ‘filberts’ and ‘flats’ should be enough to get started).
  • Flexible steel palette knife*
  • Refined Linseed Oil*
  • Winsor and Newton Sansodor* or Jackson’s low odour solvent (odourless turpentine substitute for painting).  You cannot use turpentine within the studio
  • Airtight metal brush cleaner or jam jar (jam jars must be clearly labelled with your name, course and solvents it contains)
  • Metal dipper* for medium
  • A good supply of kitchen roll for cleaning brushes
  • Tupperware tub for keeping paints overnight
  • Something to carry your wet paintings home with on the last day, for example, a canvas carrier*.  If you are unable to find one, another canvas of the same size can be strapped to the front to keep the painting safe while being transported.


“Personalised tuition from a great tutor” – Mary Povey, Portrait Painting Masterclass student 2018

‘A week workshop at LARA was a chance to selfishly devote all my time and energy to the one thing I love doing most. It was very concentrated in a positive way, the environment was relaxed , the course well structured, the tutor generous with time one to one as well to the group as a whole. I felt I got lost in my own world of endeavour and pleasure at trying and it did not matter not being the best in the group. I wanted the week to last longer – being a small group also was lovely.’ C Barnes

Learn from the best tutors

Luca Indraccolo

"Mastering the technique of painting is just the beginning. Deciding what to do with it is the hard part."


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