Developing Portraiture (online)

Drawing / Oil / Figure

Book Selected Date

Course details

Are you frustrated that your portraits of people just never look convincing, but you don’t know why? Get the tools, tips and support you need so you can start to paint with more confidence.

This course is an invaluable introduction to drawing and painting the human face. Work from a clothed model broadcast live in our St Ives studio on the first day and then from a still over the next sessions. Initially you will familiarise yourself with the face through drawing, studying anatomy, tone and composition in pencil. Then use gouache to paint monochromatic studies that deepen your understanding of tone and progress to full colour oil paintings on canvas to capture the essence of the sitter.

Teaching will be through live demonstrations from your tutor Gary Long and one to one time with each student with group feedback as well from your fellow students. You will have 3 mornings of live teaching and a final self study day with online feedback.

The group is kept small at just 12 and you will be able to interact will your fellow students at the live zoom sessions as well as on our private image sharing platform with daily feedback from your tutor. This private online space is a chance for you and your group to connect with each other and share progress during the course.

We record these live sessions so you can watch again on demand for 1 month after the course.

You will need to gather your own materials for the course and have access to the internet. We will have staff on hand to assist with your connecting on Zoom with a dedicated tech session. You will receive a comprehensive handbook on setting up ready for the course covering equipment and materials.

Day to day plan

This is a 3 day course with daily live and interactive sessions lasting three hours. You will work on your own piece during these sessions.
Each day, upload images of your artwork, which your class and tutor will be able to view and provide feedback on.

Tech session

Live Zoom session Thursday 21st January 1pm – 2pm

Technical induction with our digital administrator to ensure everyone is comfortable and ready for the first session.

Day 1

Monday 25th January – Live Zoom session 10.00am – 1pm

After an introduction to the course Gary will show you how to read the face through drawing, studying anatomy, tone and composition. You will work from the model broadcast from our studio in St Ives. If you have an easel either desk or standing have this set up ready, otherwise work on the table.

Day 2

Tuesday 26th January – Live Zoom session 10.00am – 1pm

Gary will move on to developing monochrome studies using gouache again working from a still taken the day before. If you don’t have gouache at home acrylic will be fine to use. We then move into oils and colour starting with applying thin washes on the canvas. Look at how to mix your skin tone palette.

In your own time in the afternoon develop you work further working from the video or a still. Share your studies on our image platform and get feedback from your fellow students and tutors.

Day 3

Wednesday January 27th – Live Zoom session 2pm – 5pm

We start the session with a quick look at everyone’s progress. We then continue to start look at techniques for applying the paint to canvas and developing a likeness. There will be time during the session for Gary to looking at progress on each persons work to help you make adjustments. This final session will help to cement your learning and provide you with a solid foundation to move on from.

Day 4

Thursday January 28th Self study day

Continue to work on your painting using a still sent to you from the previous days sessions. Upload your final work to our platform and Gary and your fellow students will give you some final feedback at the end of the day via the platform.

What you will get out of this course

  1. Broaden your visual language.
  2. Learn to build a likeness through studying the architecture and anatomy of the face.
  3. Learn how other artists have tackled the challenges of portrait painting
  4. Understand how line, tone and colour work together to create a successful portrait
  5. An opportunity to watch an experienced portrait artist at work and see the process of creating a figurative painting first hand

Is this course for me?

Have you ever wanted to do a portrait but don’t know where to start or are you frustrated that your portraits of people just never look convincing?

You might be struggling to get a likeness or perhaps your paintings just don’t look anatomically correct but you don’t know why?

Learn reliable ways to tackle these challenges and build your confidence. Get the tools you need to progress so you can paint the portrait that you want to.

Developing Portraiture (online)

Drawing / Oil / Figure

Book Selected Date

Taught by


View Hilary,Jean’s Work

In 1995 I became a tutor at St Ives School of Painting. Offering inspiration through my passion for drawing, water-based media and art history I strive to liberate a creative vision through direct observation and en plein air. My fascination in old buildings with a story to tell connects me to the studio’s historic narrative. Working in the space can feel like being inside one of my own drawings.

After many years as an illustrator I taught on the BA Illustration course at Falmouth University. In 2011 I began teaching at St Ives School of Painting. I deliver courses involved with the figure, still life and landscape. My practice as a painter feeds into the teaching, often through demonstrations. The school is wonderful – the history the ethos and most of all the people.

What to Bring

You will receive a comprehensive handbook on setting up ready for the course covering equipment and materials. We will guide you on how best to set up in your own home environment whatever that might be from the kitchen to the studio. It would be useful to be able to print the image we send you to work from after the first day.

You will be provided with a full materials list and you will need to use oil paint and either low odour white spirit or Zest It, if you are sensitive to solvents. You will need 2b pencils, cartridge paper, drawing board, willow stick charcoal (soft charcoal that crumbles) and putty rubber, ivory black and white gouache or acrylic. A selection of oil paints, a canvas 20 inches by 16 inches roughly.

IT Equipment

You will need a laptop or tablet with audio and camera enabled so you can have a screen near where you are working. A phone is not ideal as you will struggle to see enough. You will also need reasonable broadband connection and speed.

Timings and Breaks

On the Monday before the course starts there will be technical session with our digital administrator to make sure you are comfortable with the technology and everything is working correctly.

Key Dates: Live Zoom Sessions

Tech session

Live Zoom session Thursday 21 January 1pm – 2pm

Technical induction with our digital administrator to ensure everyone is comfortable and ready for the first session.

Day 1 Monday 25 January Live Zoom session 10.00am – 1pm

Day 2 Tuesday 26 January Live Zoom session 10.00am – 1pm

Day 3 Wednesday January 27 Live Zoom session 2pm – 5pm

Day 4 Thursday January 28th self study day

These classes will be recorded and available to view a couple of hours after the session ends so you can review and recap.

All recordings will be available for you to watch again on demand as many times as you like for one month after the course ends. This means you can review, pause, rewind and further develop your skills.

What our students say

Greg focused on making sure, as beginners, we had the understanding and confidence with oils.

Darcy Chapple

Greg gently pushed me into attempting things I would probably never try otherwise

Geoff Evans

a fantastic experience – it exceeded my expectations and has inspired me to unleash my creativity!

Shana Tam

Greg was very generous with his time and knowledge…Best experience for a long time

Jaci Richards

Greg gave an excellent overview to oil painting technical disciplines plus an introduction to charcoal and gouache. It was intense but extremely satisfying to learn and appreciate the challenge in the ‘dance of chaos vs control’!

Shana Tam



Do I need a webcam/any equipment.

If it’s for our You Tube webinars and You Tube courses no webcam is needed as you just need to be able to see/hear hosts and you can communicate using the chat function. You can watch using a PC, Smart TV or tablet. A phone isn’t ideal as you will struggle to see enough.

For the longer online courses on Zoom you will need a laptop or tablet with audio and camera enabled so you can have a screen near where you are working. You will also need reasonable broadband connection and speed.

I have registered for the webinar but I cant find my joining link

The link will be emailed to you the day before the session. Please check your junk mail. If you can’t find the email please contact and we will resend it. In the New Year we are moving from Zoom to You Tube Live. This should be easy to use, just follow the link and watch live on the internet. You can use a PC, smartphone, tablet or even watch through your Smart TV.

I paid for the session but missed it, can you send me the video?

The video recording will automatically be sent to all who booked on the session. Currently all our short online sessions are recorded and you will have two weeks from the date of the session to watch it.

Our Courses

How can I get help in choosing a course?

Our friendly expert staff are always happy to discuss your needs and our courses in more detail to help you with your decision. Please call us on 01736 797180

How do I get my work home?

Tutors have special techniques for transporting oil paintings and the school has plastic folders available in our shop for £3.50 or do bring a portfolio.

For international students we are happy to arrange transportation of your work back home.

What do I need to bring?

Absolutely nothing! All materials and aprons are provided although some people do like to bring their own set of brushes.

What do I do for lunch?

Courses allow an hour’s break for lunch and there are numerous places nearby or you are welcome to bring a packed lunch into the studio.

What times do courses run?

Most of our courses start at 10am and end at 4.30pm on the first day. Subsequent days we start at 9.30am ending at 4pm.

Weekend Courses run 10am – 4pm on the first day but the final day starts at 9.30 and ends at 3.30 with a short lunch break to enable people to get home that evening.

Do you have to be experienced to come to the School?

The School is a very friendly and welcoming place for all ages and experience. Our drop-in life classes and August half-day workshops are ideal for those wanting to have a go for the first time. Most of our longer courses are also fine for novices.

If any of the courses do need a bit of experience we flag this up in the brochure and on the website.

Booking a Course

Can I pay by cheque?

Please get in touch by phone and we can hold your place for a few days whilst you post your cheque (made payable to: St Ives School of Painting) to us at St Ives School of Painting, Porthmeor Studios. St Ives TR26 1NG

How can I reserve a place?

We will hold a provisional reservation for 24 hours if you give us a call whilst you find accommodation. Otherwise please book online or by telephone 01736 797180.

You can reserve a place with a £100 deposit; balance is due 12 weeks before course start date.

About St Ives

Where do I park?

The nearest long stay public car parks are the Island and Barnoon both 5 minute walk away. In the peak summer months it may be easier to park at the big top car park by the leisure centre and walk down into town. If you don’t fancy the walk up the hill at the end of the day there is a shuttle bus which runs from outside the cinema.

How do I get there?

Public Transport: If you are coming from further afield the main train line runs into St Erth which is a 15 min taxi ride away or you can take the St Ives Bay Line which runs approx. every 30 minutes. The School is a 10 minute walk from St Ives station.

Driving: M5 will take you to Exeter where we recommend that you take the A30 across Bodmin Moor and into Cornwall. After passing Hayle, leave the A30 at St Erth roundabout for St Ives. Turn right at the second roundabout. This road will take you through Lelant and Carbis Bay into St Ives.

Where can I stay?

St Ives has a huge selection of hotels, guest houses and self catering accommodation to choose from. Please browse the art holidays St Ives section on our website and give us a call if you would like any help.

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