Academy Portrait Painting Course (Portraiture) 2023/24


9 in stock

(14 customer reviews)

Part Time Course
Total of 40 weeks of tuition

Deposit = £200
Cost =  £975 per term (3 terms per course)
Limited to 10 Students

9 in stock



Academy Portrait Painting Course 2023/24

Take your skills to the next level this year and learn the traditional techniques of classical realist art. The portrait painting course will teach you tried and tested methods going back to the Renaissance.

Cost £2950 (deposit £200)

One years academic studies 2023-2024.
Saturdays 9.30-4.30
Total of 40 weeks tuition

1st Term
16th Sep – 28th Oct | Half Term | 11th Nov – 23rd Dec 2023
Christmas Break
2nd Term
6th Jan – 10th Feb | Half Term | 24th Feb – 23rd March 2024
Easter Break
3rd Term
6th April – 25th May | Half Term | 8th June – 20th July 2024

The Portrait Painting Course is divided into two parts. The first part is Tone, the second part is Colour. The second part of the programme will focus on the theory and practical application of colour. We will be exploring the Full Colour Palette which lends itself well to the Alla Prima style of painting, giving it a fresh vibrant look.
The study of masterpieces is the quickest way to develop a visual vocabulary. During this term we will be looking at some of the modern masters of the Alla Prima technique to help us deal with the complexities of the full palette.
Through studying the masters and applying what we have learned we can start to develop our own style as a portrait artist.

Louis Smith is a classically trained portrait painter who studied in Florence for three years. A painter of bespoke portraits he undertakes various commissions ranging from individuals through to families and professionals. To see some examples of his work go to

Daily Schedule

  • Critiques from previous weeks homework asignment.
  • Theory behind the days lesson.
  • Demonstration of each step.
  • Class repeat the steps.
  • Assignment for further independent study to reinforce the lesson.

Topics Covered

Colour Wheel

Portrait Painting Course

Lesson = Understanding Colour.  Hue, chroma and value explained. Deeper knowledge of complimentary colour and colour temperature.

Exercise = Colour wheel, mixing secondary and tertiary colours from primary colours. Mixing flesh tones, high chroma – low chroma,  warm and cool.

Model =  No Model.

Homework = Practice colour mixing exercises.

Students will learn:

  • how to manipulate colour
  • how to mix flesh tones

Master Copy

Lesson = Richard Shmid is a modern day master of Alla Prima portraits, the aim of this study is to emulate his loose high chroma style.

Exercise = Study a Richard Schmid portrait painting observing the use of colour, strokes and accuracy.

Model = Apply what we have learned with the Model.

Homework = Study Richard Shmid Portrait. Paint a portrait in similar style either sitter or photo reference.


Students will learn:

  • colour mixing.
  • deftness of handling.
  • Bravura.


Lesson = This Lesson is designed to push the boundaries of colour by assimulating  Richard Shmid’s approach to capturing the variety of colour in the face.

Exercise = Study observing the local colours of the face and exaggerated colour mixing.

Model = Referance of Paul.

Homework = Repaint the study to see how much you remember.

Students will learn:

  • to push colour and it still look believable.
  • bravado.

Direct Painting

Lesson = John Singer Sargent master copy. Now we are starting to refine the colours of the face by copying Sargents lowere chroma colours.

Exercise = Break down the portrait in to simple planes of hue, chroma and value used by Sargen

Model = Lady Agnew portrait.

Homework = Repeat the exercise with another master copy.

Students will learn:

  • to push colour and it still look believable.
  • bravado.


Lesson = This lesson is designed to observe and describe the subtlety of colour and tonal relationships by assimulating Sargents approach.

Exercise = Lower the chroma and maintin the planes to describe the form of the face.

Model = Referance of a young girl..

Homework = Repeat the exercise.

Students will learn:

  • how to mix lower chroma colours.
  • Subtlety.


Lesson = Softening edges, still observing the planes of the face but refining the variety of edges as when rendering each plane.

Exercise = Observing the variety of edges of each plane ranging from sharp to soft.

Model = Using a portrait model and reference.

Homework = Work on the portrait in their own time.

Students will learn:

  • refinement of edges.
  • how to finesse the lessons learned so far.

The tone part of the Portrait Painting Course is divided into two parts, drawing and tone.

The secret to a successful painting is measuring tone and colour in that order.
First we start with the Sight Size technique which is copying the reference like for like. Once we are comfortable with this measuring technique we then progress to comparative measurements based on proportional units of measurement, this method is used when observing the model from a distance.

The next step is tone, we will be learning how to observe and describe 3-dimensional form without the distraction or complexity of colour.
Simplification is key, we start by using the model of the Asaro head as an armature to break down the features of the face into simple geometric planes. Training the eye to accurately compare the tonal relationships of each plane is crucial to painting a convincing portrait.
All images below are taken from Louis Smiths demonstrations in front of the class when delivering each lesson.

Daily Schedule

  • Critiques from previous weeks assignment.
  • Theory behind the days lesson.