Oil Painting Master class | Portraits with Andrea Huelin Art Est Art School and Gallery

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Oil Painting Master class | Portraits with Andrea Huelin

Oil Painting Master class |  Portraits  with Andrea Huelin

This course has no current classes. Please the waiting list.

Course overview

In this two day workshop with 2023 Archibald Packing Room Prize winner Andrea Huelin, you will learn how to achieve a satisfying likeness with your portraits without overworking them.  Andrea will share how she approaches a portrait painting, with special attention to composition, tonal values and tricky things like hair, eyes and hands (hint: there are secret shortcuts!).  If you find mixing colours for skin tones challenging, Andrea will share her ‘recipes’ that will help you to create warm, glowing skin tones that help create a lively painting.  On day one, students will learn about what makes a good portrait subject, colour mixing and some tricks for helping to achieve a likeness.  Students will work from a photograph that they have brought along.  On day two, students will continue to resolve their portrait, or begin a new painting study, practising the techniques learned on day one. 

Note for acrylic painters: T_his workshop is geared towards oils. However, while Andrea works in oils and is not that experienced with acrylics, the principles for painting in acrylics are the same. If you are an acrylic painter and keen to do this workshop, Andrea will do her best to provide the equivalent instruction where the processes are different._

What to expect

Students will learn about:

 Choosing a portrait subject and style for your painting

  • The alla prima oil painting method
  • Learn about colour mixing for skin tones, use of mediums and solvent
  • Learn about achieving a likeness in your portrait
  • The importance of tonal values in portraits
  • Students will complete a painting (or close to completed painting) over the two day workshop, or they may work on two painting ‘studies’ – one on each day.

Is this course right for me?

This workshop will suit students used to oil painting and experienced artists who want to shake up their oil painting skills and learn new approaches to portraiture.

Photo References

Bring at least two photos that would be suitable for a portrait.  A printed photo is best, or you can work from an ipad or tablet as long as you have some way of propping it up next to you at the same level as your painting as you are working. Andrea usually uses an ipad for her reference pictures, as she can zoom in, and the lights and darks are good.  Andrea does not recommend working from an iphone or similar (too small).

Students will be sent guidelines on what makes a good reference photo for a portrait on enrolling.


Oil paint colours in 40ml tubes or similar.  It is important to have a cool and warm version of each of the primary colours – yellow, red and blue.   A red ochre, yellow ochre and dark grey are handy too.  

These are the colours that Andrea uses:

Titanium white, Lemon yellow, Cadmium yellow medium (or similar hue warm yellow), Yellow ochre, Cad red medium (or similar warm red), Alizarin Crimson (or similar crimson hue), Red Ochre (sometimes called light red), yellow ochre, Ultramarine Blue, Pthalo blue, Raw Umber, Paynes Grey.  Optional colours:  Naples yellow, burnt sienna, burnt umber, viridian green, dioxazine purple

Brushes: Filbert or flat brushes size 10 and 8 (about 2cm and 1.5cms wide across the top of the brush), 2 brushes size 3 or smaller (about 5mm wide or smaller).  Flat brushes are good here, because you can use the corners for detail.  You can also use smaller round or filbert brushes if you have those.  Firm synthetic brushes are best.  Andrea uses Neef 95 Flat Stiff Synthetic, or Rosemary & Co Ivory Synthetic long flats.  Good brushes will give you the best results.  

Oil painting medium: Archival brand odourless lean medium (at least 100ml). For your and other students’ comfort, Archival brand is the recommendation as this is the only odourless brand of medium available.  Another option is to use a mixture of linseed or other artist’s oil diluted with solvent

ODOURLESS solvent for clean-up and diluting paints and mediums 500ml. Solvent MUST BE ODOURLESS

2 x artist boards or canvases about 9x12inches / 30x35cm or similar.  Artist quality canvas or board will yield the best results.  Andrea uses home-made mdf panels primed with sealer, undercoat then gesso, or store-bought ‘Ampersand’ brand pre-primed boards (or similar brand).

  • White Acrylic gesso for priming your boards and canvas
  • Cheap brush or foam roller for applying gesso
  • Soft cotton rags - at least 2 per day
  • Clear or white perspex, melamine or glass, about A3 size to use as a palette, or an A3 sized disposable palette.
  • Masking tape, at least 1 inch wide
  • Cheap box of tissues
  • 2 jam sized glass jars with lids
  • A bottle of baby oil is good for cleaning your hands
  • a roll of paper towels,
  • extra rags or chux wipes

Images: Andrea Huelin  'Clown jewels', oil on board, 2023.  120 x 120cms Winner Archibald Packing Room Prize 2023 .  'Lure and Kill':  Portrait of Professor Scott Ritchie, Entomologist, 2020, Oil on board, 91 x 68cms, (Finalist in the Lester Prize for Portraiture, 2020)

About studio classes

Our class sizes are small, ensuring you receive the individual tuition you need. We have a maximum of 12 students per class.

Unless otherwise noted, prices *exclude* art materials. Click here to see a list of local art supply retailers.

To learn about our studios, amenites and how to get there, click here.

Save on your art class

Art Est accepts Creative Kids vouchers and memberships to help you save on your art class, along with regular discounts for current students. To find out what you are eligible for and how to book with these, visit our special offers and discounts page:

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Course testimonials:

  • Wonderful teacher!
  • I learnt so much at this workshop - it was made truly special by Andrea Huelin's energy, generosity & positivity in her sharing of her expertise, practical skills & knowledge & her personal artistic insights. Sincere thanks to Andrea & Art Est Studio.
  • Andrea ran a good course, she did a careful explanation of her process at the start and then allowed us to have a go. She also repeated the process on sunday as she probably realised that people need to do the process a few times to get the hang of it. she also gets around to students to give direct advice & this is quite useful. I would do her course again. The venue is good as you can park relatively easily on the weekend. I don't think I could have asked more of Andrea, thanks Andrea and Art Est