Grisaille Portrait Painting Online Course

Tuesday Evenings 9th November – 7th December 2021

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Grisaille Portrait study by Christopher Clements, 2020
Grisaille Portrait study by Christopher Clements, 2020

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Learn to paint grisaille portrait studies, a great technique to help you progress from drawing to painting or improve your underpainting for colour work.

A Grisaille is a painting executed entirely in monochrome and originated as an underpainting technique for Old Master Paintings.

This workshop with Christopher Clements will show you how to paint a grisaille portrait study. The tonal principles and paint handling skills you’ll learn will give your portrait painting a solid foundation and produce a grisaille study, an attractive technique in its own right.

The workshop will introduce you to an approach designed to develop your painting in an organised way by working with only one colour and making one decision at a time. Learning to handle paint while applying tonal principles will help you to represent form convincingly.

You’ll also look at the technicalities of oil paint, including, layering, mediums and brushwork.

What you’ll learn will help you to make stand alone portrait sketches, studies for studio portraits or underpainting for full colour work.

Course Overview

Each week, Christopher will begin the session with an explanation and demonstration of what he will 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 start by painting a tonal scale in which is divided up into value families of shadow, light and mid-tone. A clear understanding of these distinctions will help you keep your paintings clear and convincing. All the while you’ll learn how to handle oil paint to best effect, keeping you in control of your work.

During the workshop you’ll look at how to handle paint, mediums and brushes to best effect at each stage of the painting.

You’ll develop your portrait study in stages enabling you to concentrate on one concept at a time.

  • Bridge the gap between drawing & painting
  • Paint a well structured head with accurately placed features
  • Develop your understanding of tone and form
  • Learn how to create underpainting for glazing techniques

By the end of the workshop you’ll be familiar with the process of creating a grisaille portrait study of your own. You’ll have a better understanding of tonal principles and will learn a technique which you can use as a great foundation for colour painting. If you’re new to painting the approach will help you transition from drawing and painting.

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Is this course for me?

If you’re new to painting, this workshop will get you started in a controlled way.

If you have more experience with paint, you’ll find this method of working will reinforce your understanding of tone and form while giving you a perfect foundation for glazing techniques.

Numbers are limited, giving you plenty of personal feedback and helping you work towards your own personal goals. Whether you’re looking to learn fundamental principles or push your skills from a more advanced position the workshop will have plenty to offer.

How The Course Works and What You’ll Need

The workshop will be done using Zoom, you will be emailed a reference image after booking and an invitation to each session half an hour before the class begins.

Bookings are made by paying a £40 deposit via Eventbrite. You will then be invoiced for the remaining balance which is due before the course begins.

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

  • Two 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
  • Titanium White Oil Paint
  • An Earth Colour such as Raw Umber or Burnt Umber Oil Paint
  • Ivory Black Oil Paint
  • Rags and Kitchen Roll


Essential Info & Booking

  • Price :£150
  • Date: Tuesdays 9th November – 7th December 2021
  • Time: 18:30-21:00
  • Location: Online via Zoom
  • Booking: Reserve your place with a £40 deposit paid via Eventbrite. The remainder will be invoiced directly and is due before the course begins.

Questions: Use Contact Form above right or visit the Contact Page or email

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