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Learn to Paint Portraits in Oil with Marie Mansfield

This painting class is for students who want to learn how to paint portraits. Marie will demonstrate step by step how to approach tone, proportion and form in your portrait painting. Throughout the planned exercises, Marie works with each student at his/her own level, and works to progress each student’s ambitions. Students will benefit from doing tonal studies and colour mixing, and will cater for students who wish to improve their painting skills using their choice of medium. While Marie’s primary interest is oil painting, acrylic painters will also benefit from this course.

images: recent portraits by Marie Mansfield

What to expect

Students will learn :

  • about the anatomy and structure of the face and head
  • about using light, tone and proportion in producing a likeness
  • colour mixing in oils so the colours don’t get muddy
  • tonal paining exercises in monochrome and colour
  • techniques to deal with details such as teeth, hair and hands
  • about portrait composition and its impact, with reference to past and present artists
  • Learn about tone, proportion and form by studying and painting the Masters

Is this course right for me?

This class is for painters with some experience, not for beginners.


Art materials are not included in the course fee. Students will need the following:

• Surfaces: Canvas board or stretch canvas for oils (acrylic primed).
• Titanium White and Raw Umber acrylic paint for the ‘mid-tone ground’ to prepare the surface for painting.
• Brushes: bring a selection of brushes that you normally use, for oils a ‘Long flat’ is best.
• Palette and palette knife (long flexible knife with a tapered tip).
• Paper towels or rags.
• Paint: The following is the recommended colour palette for portraiture. Vermillion Red or cadmium red, Ivory black Titanium or Zinc White, Burnt sienna. Yellow ochre.
• For monotones Titanium White and Raw Umber in Oils
• Drawing materials Optional: Bring charcoal along with some cartridge paper (A3 suggested) for sketches and practice.

Students are welcome to include other paint colours they may already own. For better results, we recommend buying ‘artist quality’ paints.

If using oil paints
Use odourless solvent for cleanup and diluting mediums. Solvents MUST be odourless. You will need jars with lids to store spent solvents/mediums. You tutor will give you information on reusing and disposing of spent solvents and mediums.

Our term classes are held in our spacious studios.

Our main studios are air-conditioned for year round comfort, and extra measures are in place for your health and well being.

Please read about our Covid-19 safe measures here.

Fees for adult classes exclude art materials.Click here to see a list of local art supply retailers.

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

Course testimonials:

  • Best art classes I've ever had
  • Marie gave great instruction, she was very patient when I was challenged. I had a great time getting back into oil painting, and feel inspired to continue. I especially like the school environment. Its cleaner than most art schools and has great natural light and feeling of space.
  • I thoroughly enjoyed this class very much. Marie was excellent, knowledgeable, and very helpful in guiding our learning. I enjoyed it so much I am coming back next term. Thank you