Introduction to Portrait Painting

Throughout August

3 day course



(Monday to Wednesday)

Morning: 10:00am - 12.30pm

Afternoon: 1.30pm - 4.00pm


All classes are held at Bowland Atelier

Places limited to 3 students per class - early booking is advised


In the C19th the plaster cast was a common item in artists' studios.  As conceptual art took centre stage, plaster casts became overlooked and then largely abandoned as a teaching aid.  Over 3 days students learn the fundamental skills of portrait drawing and painting from life, using the plaster bust.  Via demonstrations from tutor John Rotherham and practical exercises, you will explore the key principles of cast drawing: proportion, line & volume, chiaroscuro (values) and edges. Students start with exercises in charcoal on brown packing paper, building towards longer shaded drawing on white paper and moving on to monochrome painting in oil.

Using step-by-step exercises you will learn, in the same atelier tradition as 19th Century painters, how to observe and paint from life in oils. Students will receive clear, step-by-step instruction with plenty of individual critique.  You will finish the course with a greater knowledge of how to draw and paint portraits using the cast, which you can then take away and use to inform your own artistic process.

The course is suited to all levels and abilities, and each class member will be taught to his or her individual level. The classes are informative and informal, and whilst the teaching is professional and the students will learn a lot, it is not an intimidating experience.  The content is structured over 3 days with 2 sessions per day. Each session is 2.5 hours. For the start of the course each student will need to buy a box of willow charcoal and a hand cloth (e.g. cotton dish cloth or chamois) for erasing.  In addition, a small set of oil paints, brushes, palette and canvas boards.  We can give you advice and recommendations on what you will need.  Please note, lunch is not included.  There is a splendid restaurant and coffee shop on sight, catering to all tastes.

Course fee is £250 per student.  Maximum class size is limited to 3 students, to ensure a good teacher/student ratio.

Whilst it is not a requirement, we do recommend students undertake our 1 week 'fundamentals of drawing and painting from life' summer course, prior to the 'introduction to portrait painting' short course.  To find out more about our summer 'fundamentals' course click here



£250* per student



 For further information and to book your place on the course

contact Cassandra Batterby or John Rotherham

Tel: 07736 540895 or email info@bowlandatelier.co.uk

*Payment in full is required at the time of booking and is non-refundable


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