Portrait oil painting – beginners with George Popesco

Painting - Oils

Ref: SWE12262

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About this course

Paint a portrait of the model's head using oil paint. Techniques include palette preparation, underpainting, mark-making, colour, tone, and composition.

Course Description

A step-by-step introduction to using oils while learning how to paint a portrait of the model's head. Techniques include palette preparation, underpainting, mark-making, colour, tone, and composition.

This practical course introduces you to oil painting techniques. It offers both the fundamental starting points to how you respond to working from a model, how to technically organise your materials and create a portrait painting.

This is a lively and engaging course; the tutor teaches you through practical demonstration, one-to-one support and exercises. The model will sit throughout the course. You will begin with a short preparatory drawing to establish proportion, scale and composition, followed by palette preparation, colour coordination, mixing, and brushwork techniques.

At the end of the course, you will understand how to work with a model, how to use drawing to familiarise yourself with the subject, how to use fundamental oil painting techniques, and have completed a portrait study.


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, oil paint and paint mediums. Students to provide other materials.

What students need to bring

  • Old ceramic dinner plate/s for painting palette
  • Any items you may have from the available to buy list

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A3 canvas or primed hard board
  • Sketchbook
  • Brushes: generally a good range of student quality – natural bristle or/and synthetic brushes, both flat filbert and/or round pointed. Sizes: large, medium, small.
  • Painting palette (traditional painting) square or oval; or a student tear-off pad
  • Clip on palette dippers x2
  • Palette knife: general purpose
Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio. This includes stout covered footwear, i.e. no open-toes 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.

Courses of interest

Further study options

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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