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Portrait Painting

Portrait Painting

Chelsea College of Arts
Taught by
Atul Vohora


Join Portrait Painting and work directly from a model developing your portrait painting techniques. You will also develop a greater knowledge of oil painting materials and techniques in relation to portrait painting.

You will learn to understand the structure and anatomy of the skull and through an initial day dedicated to drawing, begin to observe shape, form, light and contrast in relation to the head. These ideas will then be carried into a sustained painting, which you will create over the remaining days.

Informative lectures will compliment your studio work, where you will look at specific examples of portrait paintings, relating to the topics covered in the practical sessions. You will explore a range of painting aspects including observational drawing, composition, choosing a palette, colour mixing and colour relationships, proportion, making light and form with colour, mark and touch.

Topics covered

  • History
  • Anatomy
  • Observational drawing
  • Eyes, mouth, nose, ears
  • Backgrounds
  • Colour mixing
  • Proportions
  • Light
  • Expressions
  • Poses
Course outcomes
By the end of this course, you will have developed a greater knowledge of oil painting materials and techniques in relation to portrait painting and gained confidence in your painting techniques to use in your future practice.

Who should attend
This course is suitable for students with previous experience in painting who wish to develop painting skills further as well as beginners looking for guidance on painting a head.

All Levels Welcome

Tutor Description

Atul Vohora is a painter who lives and works in London. He is deeply committed to Drawing and his paintings, both joyful and questioning, demonstrate a deep and passionate understating of image making. He teaches alongside his practice and his work is held in collections nationally and internationally. He has written for the Guardian and the observer and his book on painting was published in 2012:


Please bring the following items with you on the first day:

  • Drawing materials (pencils, charcoal, erasers, masking tape, clips etc...)
  • A sketch book (A3 or A4)
  • Painting equipment –as a guide we recommend the following if working in oils:-37ml oil paint tubes including: -Titanium White,Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Yellow and Cadmium Lemon Yellow, Cadmium Red , Alizarin Crimson, ,Dioxine Violet, Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Blue, Cerulean Blue Viridian Green
  • A selection of hog hair brushes
  • 2 jam jars with lids
  • Small canvases or canvas boards.
  • A palette
  • A palette knife-Rags to clean your brushes with

Please note that studio safe solvent and medium is provided by the college. Students are advised not to bring their own products for health and safety purposes.

Please note that most materials needed for the short courses are available at the Chelsea College of Arts' Art Shop. Please contact the Art Shop directly for opening hours and availability.

Available dates