Portrait in oils – likeness and character with George Popesco

Painting - Oils

Ref: SWE11850

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About this course

Discover tonal colour mixing and the sculptural qualities of oil paint, to achieve lively approaches to the portrait in oils.

Course Description

Explore ways of using the unique, wonderful qualities of oil paint to capture the portrait with likeness and character. The portrait subject will have a defining personality enhanced by costume and surrounding backdrop to intensify and add a theatrical drama to your painting. Start a portrait with confidence and develop a range of techniques that you can use to achieve a likeness. On this course the tutor will help you progress your personal style in oil painting and help you improve your techniques.

The tutor will demonstrate how to construct an oil painting methodically, using underpainting, fat over lean, explain over glazing, and how to use composition across all the portrait formats of bust, three quarter and full length portrayal. The tutor will also provide personal tuition throughout as well as learning within the group. You will work directly from a model and build up one portrait over the weekend along with associated preliminary studies.

By the end of the course, you will have confidently used oil colour and associated mediums, have been introduced to, and practised extended techniques to achieve an expressive portrait painting. You will have considered different aspects of composition and have further developed your own style. You will take home sketches, studies, notes and one piece of completed work.

This course is suitable for students with some experience in drawing. A little experience with oil painting would be useful but not necessary.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • The model who will sit for the course

What students need to bring

  • Three jam jars with lids
  • Old newspaper/magazines
  • Rags
  • Any items from the available to buy list

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Sketchbook or pad
  • Pencils/charcoal, card and scalpel
  • Canvas (board or stretched) x2 or more
  • Zest It low odour solvent
  • Quick drying oil painting medium
  • Dippers x2 (preferably with lids)
  • Brushes, tear off palette
  • Colours: (the essential 7) student quality is recommended/sufficient Titanium White (large tube), Pale Yellow Lemon or equivalent, Cadmium Red or Scarlet Red, Alizarin Crimson or Rose Madder, Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine (French) Blue, Viridian Green or Emerald equivalent
  • Colours: The optional additive colours (short cuts) Yellow Ochre, Burnt Umber
Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toed shoes or sandals.


George Popesco

Since completing his academic training at the Royal Academy Schools London, George has taught extensively in varied Art & Design education structures alongside developing his own work and exhibiting both in group and solo exhibitions. George lives and works in Dorset, specialising in Oil Colour medium exploiting its tactile wet in wet qualities to form the mediums expressive and sculptural qualities.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or a Diploma in Art and Contemporary Crafts (10 three-day study blocks, over two years). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.

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