Figurative Oil Painting Class


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The Figurative Oil Painting Class offers an immersive exploration into the representation of the human form through oil paint. Throughout the course, students delve into techniques for capturing the human figure’s proportions, anatomy, movement, and emotion with accuracy and expression. Through a combination of theory, hands-on exercises, and constructive feedback, participants develop their skills in both drawing and painting, learning to convey depth, texture, and mood in their artwork. The emphasis is placed on understanding light and shadow, composition, and developing a personal style. Whether novice or experienced, this course provides a supportive environment for artists to refine their abilities and deepen their understanding of figurative art.


Wednesday, April 17th, 1900-2200

Wednesday, April 24th, 1900-2200

Wednesday, May 1st, 1900-2200

Wednesday, May 8th, 1900-2200


The Art Room, Stamford Arts Centre, 27 St Mary’s Street, Stamford, PE9 2DL.


Wharf Road Car Park.


All skill levels, from beginners to those with more experience. If you have any specific access or support requirements, please give us a call at the time of booking to discuss your needs.


This course is for 18-year-olds and older.

Course breakdown:

Week 1: Introduction to Oil Painting

  • Overview of materials: types of paints, brushes, canvases, and palettes used in portrait painting.
  • Understanding facial anatomy: basic proportions of the human face, including placement of eyes, nose, mouth, and ears.
  • Exploring different portrait formats: head and shoulders, half-length, and full-length portraits.
  • Demonstration: a step-by-step process of blocking in a portrait, focusing on proportions and initial sketching.

Week 2: Colour Mixing and Skin Tones

  • Basics of colour theory: understanding hue, value, and saturation.
  • Mixing realistic skin tones: using a limited palette of primary colours plus white to create a range of skin tones.
  • Considering lighting conditions: how natural and artificial light affect the appearance of skin tones.
  • Demonstration: mixing and applying skin tones to a portrait, focusing on subtle transitions and variations.

Week 3: Capturing Likeness and Expression

  • Techniques for capturing a likeness: observing unique features and characteristics of the subject.
  • Conveying emotion and expression: understanding facial expressions and body language.
  • Working with value and contrast: creating depth and dimension in the portrait.
  • Demonstration: refining features and expression in a portrait painting, focusing on details and nuances.

Week 4: Finishing Touches and the Final Project

  • Refining details and adding finishing touches: enhancing realism and texture in the portrait.
  • Creating a cohesive composition: considering background elements and framing choices.
  • Critique and feedback session: review of student work and discussion on progress and areas for improvement.

Suggested materials list (not essential): 

Paints: French Ultra Marine Blue, Cadmium Red, Aliziran Crimson, Raw Umber, Transparent Oxide Red, Naples Yellow, Lemon Yellow, and Titanium White.

French Easel/Pochade Box/Painting Box

Paint Thinner: Gamsol or Odourless Mineral Spirits

Medium: Linseed Oil

Metal Brush Washer

Brushes: Filberts no. 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and Ivory Pointed Rounds no. 0, 2, 4, Fan, and Ivory Flat no. 2, 12.

Quality paper towels or towels for cleaning

Stretched canvases or canvas panels or boards


Palette Knife


Please note: 

The Art Room is on the third floor and there is no lift.