Portrait painting in oils with Felicity Gill

Painting - Oils

Ref: SWE12405

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About this course

Develop and improve your oil painting techniques to achieve a likeness. Learn composition to enhance the sense of the sitter and how to represent light on skin.

Course Description

Explore ways of using the unique and wonderful qualities of oil paint to represent light on skin. Start and progress 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 to progress with your oil painting style and improve your techniques. This course is suitable for students with some experience of drawing. A little experience with oil painting would be useful but is not necessary.

The tutor will demonstrate how to construct an oil painting correctly using ‘fat over lean’, explain cover glazing, and how to use composition to enhance the sense of the sitter. She will also provide personal tuition throughout, as well as learning within the group. You will work from a model and build up one portrait over the weekend.

By the end of the course, you will know how to use oil paints correctly, have a better understanding of composition, and have further developed your own style. You will take home sketches and studies, notes and one painting.


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


  • Providing a model. The college will provide some materials including some Zest-it and Jackson's quick drying medium and siccative to try, but you will also need to buy or bring your own.

What students need to bring

  • Oil paints – suggested oil colours: Titanium White and Zinc White*, Paynes Grey, Ultramarine Blue, Cerulean Blue, Ultramarine Violet, Cobalt Violet, Cadmium Red, Rose Madder, Cadmium Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Umber (*highly recommended you get both whites)
  • Napthol red oil paint (otional) Your tutor recommends Michael Harding brand, available from Jackson's Art Supplies online which is expensive but lovely
  • Acrylic paints – bring what you have – but please bring or buy at the shop Burnt Umber or Raw Umber as a bare minimum
  • Canvas (board or stretched) x2 or more (no smaller than 12x16 inches and perhaps larger) – as a guide your tutor would like you to paint the head not much smaller than life size
  • Jackson’s quick drying painting medium or Gamblin Galkyd Lite are recommended by tutor. (The shop sells Winsor & Newton Liquin which is an alternative quick drying medium)
  • Brushes, rags, dippers x2 (for paint medium)
  • A4 sheet paper and scissors
  • Old newspaper, yellow pages or phone directory for cleaning brushes while painting
  • 2x jam jars with lids
  • Pencil/charcoal
  • Zest it or Sansodour or other odourless solvents
  • Please note: White Spirit, turpentine and cheap brush cleaning fluids are not permitted in the studio; it is an enclosed space and safer alternatives are required. The shop sells Zest-it and Sansodour if you forget to bring these and they also sell Winsor & Newton Liquin which is an alternative quick drying medium to Jackson’s.
  • Any items you may have from the available to buy list.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A good variety of oil paints including suggested oil colours: Titanium White and Zinc White, Paynes Grey, Ultramarine Blue, Cerulean Blue, Ultramarine Violet, Cobalt Violet, Cadmium Red, Rose Madder, Cadmium Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Umber
  • A good selection of acrylic paints including Burnt Umber and Raw Umber
  • A good selection of brushes
  • Sketchbooks
  • Zest-it or Sansodour brush cleaner
  • Liquin
  • Dippers, tear-off palettes
  • A good variety of general drawing and painting materials and equipment.
  • Canvases or boards – 12x16 inches and larger
Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio. This includes stout covered footwear, i.e. no open-toes or sandals.


Felicity Gill

Felicity Gill is a figurative and portrait painter. She has appeared on BBC's Star Portraits and painted many prestigious portraits including Boris Johnson and Sir Henry Cecil for The Jockey Club.


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

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