Using Colour in Portraits 3: Full Colour Palette

Tuesday Evenings: 29th June – 10th August 2021

(No class 13th July)

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Portrait of Jen by Christopher Clements

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Learn to paint portraits using a full colour palette.

On this course with Christopher Clements you’ll paint a portrait study using a full colour palette. As you develop your portrait over six sessions, you’ll learn about colour theory and the essential ingredients of a colour palette.

In addition to the portrait you’ll complete practical exercises designed to help you explore the role of each pigment used and how it combines with the others to create clean, vibrant skin tones.

The course will take place via Zoom and a recording will be available for a week after each session in case you miss a session or for you to go over the lesson again.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Analyse the colour you see
  • Make informed decisions about your colour mixing
  • Look for and use the characteristics of each pigment effectively
  • Increase or decrease the intensity of colour
  • Adapt to the skin tones of different people
  • Set up your palette to make your workflow more effective
  • The principles you’ll learn underpin all colour mixing and the practical colour mixing experience you’ll gain will give you a foundation to develop your own personal colour palette.

You’ll learn how to layout your palette and mix key colours to help you stay organised and deal with common mixing problems.  The approach is designed to develop your painting in logical way by making one decision at a time as well as developing your technique.

You’ll look at the technicalities of oil paint, including layering, mediums and brushwork. What you’ll learn will be perfectly suited painting for your own enjoyment, making stand alone portrait sketches, studies for studio portraits or simply developing your knowledge of colour use.

Is this course for me?

This is an advanced level course so some experience of drawing and painting is recommended. The course will really suit you if you:

  • Want to improve your knowledge of colour use
  • Have experience of painting and want to push your skills
  • Are looking for an enjoyable and informing portrait painting course

If you’ve already done one of the Northern Realist portrait painting courses, this is the ideal next step.

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Course Overview

Each week, Christopher will begin the session with an explanation and demonstration of what he’s going to cover. You’ll then work on your own painting using reference images sent to you, getting plenty of personal feedback as you progress.

You’ll look at drawing the head in paint, in particular proportion, orientation and construction of the head as well as compositional principles.

  • You’ll develop your portrait study in stages enabling you to concentrate on one concept at a time.
  • Paint a well structured head with accurately placed features
  • Learn to identify colour mix accurate skin tones
  • Create focus through brushwork and selective rendering of detail

By the end of the workshop you will have learnt how a colour palette works and how to use it to keep your colour clean, unified and lively. You will also have developed your painting technique and understanding of layering, mediums and brushwork.

Essential Info & Booking

  • Price :£180
  • Dates: 6 Tuesdays,  29th June – 10th August (No class 13th July)
  • Time: 18:30-21:00
  • Location: Online via Zoom
  • How to Book: Click a Book Now link to pay a £40 deposit via Eventbrite. You’ll be invoiced for the remaining £140 directly, which is due before the course begins.

After booking you’ll be sent a reference image and instructions about the Zoom meeting. Invitations to the Zoom meeting will be sent half an hour before each session.

A Whatsapp group will be created for the course to send images for feedback and share demos and reference material. You’re welcome, but not obliged to join it.

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What will I need?

You’ll need an internet connection, webcam and the following materials:

  • 3 pieces of primed canvas or canvas paper
  • A range of hog bristle painting brushes
  • 1 House painting brush
  • Turpentine, Odourless Mineral Spirits, Sansodor, Zest it or similar
  • Cold Pressed Linseed Oil
  • Painting Palette
  • Dipping Cup
  • Rags and Kitchen Roll


Oil Paints

  • Titanium White
  • Ivory Black or Blue Black
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Hansa Yellow or Cadmium Lemon Yellow
  • Cadmium Yellow Light or Cadmium Yellow Light Hue
  • Cadmium Red or Cadmium Red Hue
  • Transparent Oxide Red or Burnt Sienna
  • Crimson Alizarin
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • Cobalt Blue or Cerulean Blue
  • Viridian

What software do I need?

None, you will be sent an invitation to a scheduled Zoom meeting half an hour before each session. Click on that at the time of the course and a window will open on your computer with on screen instructions.

Whatsapp is really useful for sending images for feedback but not essential.

How can I contact the organiser with any questions?


What’s the refund policy?

  • No deposit refunds unless the course is cancelled, remainder refunds up to 2 weeks in advance.
  • Full refund including deposit if the course is cancelled

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