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Painting Portraits in Oils Workshop

July 27 @ 11:00 am - 4:00 pm

£60.00 – £65.00

Introduction to Painting Portraits in Oils Workshop with Martyn Harris ARBSA

This workshop will provide you with the basic tools and techniques necessary to painting portraits with traditional oil paints, with a focus on mixing flesh tones.

Age group and abilities to be taught        

  • 18 years and above.
  • Ideal for beginners and improvers.

Course aims and skills/knowledge to be taught

  • Preparing surface, composition, drawing out, colour mixing, blocking in to refining the portrait

Course outline for Introduction to Painting Portraits in Oils Workshop

Morning activity 

  • Preparation and drawing out: you begin by deciding the format and size of the portrait. Working on a 300 x 250 prepared board, you will begin to lay the undercoats and grid out the canvas, before drawing out your portrait

Afternoon activity

  • Blocking in: The underpainting is the foundation of a painting. The tutor will cover how to lay out your pallet to maximise efficiency and easiness
  • First Pass: Start refining areas in more detail and mixing flesh tones
  • Final Pass Finishing: the tutor will guide you on the finishing process, and provide recommendations for future workings and varnishing

Materials and equipment required by workshop students

Some of these can be borrowed from the gallery, but we recommend that you bring your own equipment to use as well.

  • A range of paintbrushes (flats, filberts and rounds)
  • Oil paints – the tutor recommends the Windsor & Newton Artists Oil range. His palette includes Titanium White, Cadmium Yellow, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Sap Green, Cobalt Blue, Paynes Grey, Cadmium Red and Alizarin Crimson.
  • Mediums (Distilled Turpentine and Windsor & Newton Refined Linseed Oil)

Materials and equipment provided

(These will be provided for use during the workshop and are included in the fee).

  • Prepared Panels
  • Some oil paints
  • Some paintbrushes
  • White spirits for cleaning

Methods of assessing outcomes

  • Group discussion and tutor feedback
  • Completion of the evaluation form

Interested in learning more about this workshop? Visit our blog to read some student feedback! 

Booking information

  • To book please visit the RBSA Gallery website and click ‘workshops’ at the top of the page. Alternatively, please call the Gallery on 0121 236 4353 during opening hours Tues-Sat 10.30am – 5pm. Bookings can also be made in person at the Gallery. Payment in full is required at the time of booking to secure a place.
  • Payments can be made by card online, by card over the phone, and by cash/card at the Gallery.
  • Places are limited to 10 people per workshop unless stated otherwise. Allocation will take place on a first-come first-served basis.
  • Please inform the RBSA Gallery when booking of any health conditions or additional needs as some workshops might not be suitable.
  • A valid student ID must be provided to receive a student discount.

Cancellation Policy

  • If you, the customer cancels your booked workshop, we are unable to offer you a refund.
  • Transfers to an alternative workshop may be possible depending on the circumstance and is of the discretion of the RBSA Gallery.
  • In the event of under-subscription, workshops may be cancelled or re-arranged. We will give you as much notice as possible if this happens and you will be able to transfer to another course or receive a full refund. The RBSA is unable to refund additional expenses, such as travel and accommodation.
  • If you are booked on a workshop and do not turn up on the day, a refund will not be given.

Continual Professional Development (CPD) and Copyright

  • We welcome bookings from people attending for Continual Professional Development (CPD). However, our workshops are not designed as CPD. If your employer is paying for the course or you require more details about what you expect from the course, please contact the Gallery in advance before booking.
  • The workshop content and any information provided (e.g. handouts, guidance notes, etc.) are the intellectual property of the artist delivering the workshop. They should not be used or reproduced without permission from the artist (e.g. copying handouts to use in any classes workshop attendees might deliver themselves afterwards). 

Other information

  • The workshop will take place in the RBSA Gallery, floor 1. The space will be closed to visitors and will only be used by workshop attendees. However, staff and volunteers will need to walk through the space at various points in the day to access the staff office, which is located on the same floor.
  • Attendees can leave their materials in the workshop space during their breaks but the RBSA will not be responsible for any loss or damages.
  • Please bring a packed lunch. Alternatively, there are a number of cafés and sandwich shops within walking distance of the Gallery.
  • Please bring an old shirt or apron to help protect your clothing.
  • The continuous redevelopment work in the city center has caused increased traffic, delays, and diversions in and around the City Centre. Therefore, please allow yourself plenty of travel time, plan your route, and check your parking arrangements.
  • If you are travelling by car, please ensure your car is clean air zone compliant, or charges may occur.


July 27
11:00 am - 4:00 pm
£60.00 – £65.00
Event Category:


Martyn Harris


Gallery 1


The numbers below include tickets for this event already in your cart. Clicking "Get Tickets" will allow you to edit any existing attendee information as well as change ticket quantities.
Painting Portraits in Oils Standard Ticket
£ 65.00
8 available
Painting Portraits in Oils Discount Ticket
for Full-Time Students, Friends of the RBSA, and RBSA Members, Associates and Graduate Artists
£ 60.00
8 available