We spend our lives reading people’s faces – picking up on social cues but also to connect emotionally. But how do we read our own? There are few subjects more innately captivating than the human portrait. There are also few subjects that are quite so confounding to paint.
Ashley Hold is an accomplished portrait painter who has exhibited in the BP Portrait Award at the National Gallery, among many more. In this three-day course, he shares his insight into the techniques used by masters of portraiture. Learn to draw with anatomical accuracy, fix flesh tones and bring a spark of life to your self portrait.
Using a mirror and yourself as the model, Ashley will teach you how to retrain your eye to read the face like a painter. Use pencil and measured drawing techniques to find the architecture of the human form, examining the anatomical relationships of the figure and face. This gives you a solid structure to work into when you move into acrylic paint and colour later.
You’ll look at a variety of influences throughout the course, including Ashley’s own work. Degas offers a lesson in strong lines and sombre, intimate tones. Then Lucian Freud and Antonio Lopez demonstrate that detail is not the key to powerful figurative painting. Rather, a technical understanding of proportion is what withstands the impasto lashings of Freud’s flesh tones or the pared back draping of Lopez’s fluid fashion illustrations. This insight into how painters have approached the puzzle of portraiture and created their own unique connection with the subject helps you find your own.
Once you’ve gained a greater command over line and tone, Ashley will demonstrate mixing flesh tones and tints. Flesh tones can make or break your portrait; Ashley’s knowledge of building the right palette for the task is second-to-none.
This condensed masterclass in classical portraiture offers solutions to the puzzle of portraiture developed over centuries. Give yourself a fine technical foundation in painting portraiture that radiates life and tells a story.
What will I learn?
- An understanding of technical drawing techniques including measured drawing, proportion and triangulation.
- An understanding of tonal values and light.
- Techniques for working in acrylic paint.
- Historical insight into painters throughout history have approached the task of portraiture.
- Tips on colour mixing, particularly flesh tones.
Who would this course suit?
This course is ideal if you have some experience in life drawing or other observational drawing that you would like to develop. If you have experimented with portraiture but would like to gain a more technical understanding of how to draw and paint people, this course is for you.
I have been teaching drawing and painting for over 13 years, from secondary school level to undergraduate and postgraduate level. I have observed how students struggle with certain aspects of drawing and painting and have developed my teaching practice to deal with these ‘obstacles’ to learning. My artistic practice and my teaching practice are bound together in a symbiotic relationship.
What to Bring
Our studios are fully equipped and we provide you with all the materials you need for your course. However, if you have a favourite set of brushes or any specialist materials that you would prefer to use, please bring them with you.
Timings and Breaks
The first day starts at 10am and finishes at 4.30pm, please aim to arrive ten to fifteen minutes before the start time. Please wear a mask on arrival.
All course days after that start at 9.30am and finish at 3.30 on Sunday after a short lunch break to try an enable people to get home that day.
There are plenty of nearby places to eat and we will serve tea and coffee at break times during the day.
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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