Portraiture | A Simple Strategy

Discover a wealth of understanding to take forward in your portrait painting.

Date & Time

25th-29th March | Monday to Friday | 10:00-17:00


LARA London
371 Clapham Road
London SW9 9BT
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This Workshop will teach you to see and paint the structure of the head simply.  A likeness in portraiture doesn’t come from getting the features right, but instead from getting the structure of the head right.

Sargent said, “If you work on the head for a week without indicating the features, you will have learnt something about the modelling of the head.” This masterclass won’t be taking Sargent too literally – paintings will be of between one hour and one day.

Aims of this Course

The aim of this Workshop is to develop our ability to perceive and paint the head as a whole.  Rather than thinking of a portrait as a collection of individual features, our emphasis will be on seeing the structure of the head, within which the features can later be painted.

A number of small studies will be painted, and the aim of these will be to see and to paint very simply and directly.

We will explore colour theory to experiment with different approaches to colour and use both sight-size and comparative measurement.

Day One – Some theory and a demonstration. Limited palette short studies.

Day Two – Colour theory.  Full palette short studies.

Day Three – Two short studies and one longer study.

Day Four – Two longer studies.

Day Five – One full day, continuing one of the studies from the previous day.

Drawing experience is required.

The Facilities

Each class is limited to 8 students working from two models.

The workshop room is located within the main school of LARA London.

Each model is lit with individual professional photographic lighting which provides a steady, unchanging environment from which to observe all elements of portrait painting.


A full materials list will be provided on booking. Most materials can be purchased in the LARA shop onsite.


An excellent programme. Simon was an outstanding teacher who was clear and calm with a comprehensive strategy for the five days. Being able to watch him paint occasionally was a bonus, and he had great resources to demonstrate great paintings. Everything promised was delivered. I feel I’ve ‘turned a corner’ on my portrait painting. My 40 hours at LARA was the highlight of a great five week European/UK holiday from Australia” – Jan Cochrane-Harry,

Learn from the best tutors

Simon Watkins

"To draw and paint from life is a privilege; it’s an opportunity to observe and communicate something of the world we experience"


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