Portrait Painting

Portrait painting has a rich and fruitful history. In this class, students will be exposed to not only a brief history of the portrait but also the varying ways a portrait can be made. From alla prima to a more nuanced depiction using oils, a sound structure of painting the human portrait will be explored. Painting with acrylics will be allowed, but oils are encouraged.

Special Notes

This is an in-person class which will take place onsite at Fleisher. Please review our COVID-19 community safety policies for current guidelines.

Tuition Assistance is Available

To make our classes and workshops accessible to everyone, Fleisher offers tuition assistance every term so that everyone can join our creative community. Tuition assistance applications can be completed once registration is open by clicking here. The deadline to apply for winter term assistance is Wednesday, November 23; Notifications will be sent by Wednesday, December 7.

What you will learn:

  • History of portraiture painting

  • The structure and anatomy of the head/face

  • Alla prima techniques for portrait painting

Required supplies:

  • Mirrors (full length or smallest 8×10 inches)

  • Various brushes: round, flat, and fan ranging in sizes

  • Rags or Viva paper towels

  • Jars with tops for solvents and linseed oil

  • Aprons

  • Oil paint sets or individual selected paints for your pallet:

    • Olive Green
    • Sap Green
    • Titanium White
    • Ultramarine Blue
    • Burnt Umber
    • Burnt Sienna
    • Cadmium Orange*
    • Cadmium Yellow*
    • Permanent Rose
    • Flake White
    • Cerulean Blue
    • Alizarin Crimson
    • Permanent Green
    • Any other oil paints that you would like to use on your pallet

    *The instructor is aware that Cadmiums can be more expensive than a general color, if you can find the 2 hue of the cadmium that will be acceptable for this course.

  • Refined linseed oil

  • Mineral spirits (no turpentine)

  • Surfaces do not have to be canvas but please make sure your surface will be compatible with the oil paint, e.g., canvas, wood, certain drawing papers. Sizes of surfaces can also range to 18 x 24 inches and larger, provided we have space to create, store, and let dry after class.