Using Colour in Portraits 2: Limited Palette – Online Course

Monday Evenings: 21st February – 11th April 2022

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Portrait Study of Kenny by Christopher Clements


Paint an oil portrait using a limited palette, plus colour mixing exercises to learn the fundamentals of mixing skin tones over 8 sessions with Christopher Clements:


  • explore skin tone colour mixing using a limited palette
  • paint a colour head study in oil paint
  • learn about underdrawing, perspective and anatomy of the head


A recording of each session will be available for 7 days in case you miss a session or want to go over the lesson again.


Limited palette colour mixing

When learning how to mix colour it is best to keep it simple, so on this course with Christopher Clements you’ll work with a limited palette of just red, yellow and black mixed with white.

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

A limited choice of colour helps you understand the basic ingredients of a palette. It’s very helpful if you’re just getting started with colour or want to go back to basics to develop your existing knowledge.

The palette you will use is sometimes known as the ‘Zorn’ Palette after the 19th Century Swedish painter known for the incredible range and unity he achieved using very few colours.

You’ll learn colour mixing principles which underpin all colour mixing and the practical experience you’ll gain will give you a foundation for more advanced colour use.

The approach Christopher teaches is designed to develop your painting in logical way by making one decision at a time, helping you to overcome problems while developing your technique.

As you progress 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.


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Limited palette colour mixing exercise


Is this course for me?

This is an intermediate level course so some experience of drawing is recommended but feel free to get in touch if you’re not sure. The course will really suit you if you:

Have experience of drawing and want to learn to use paint

Have painting experience but want to improve your colour mixing

Are just looking for an enjoyable and informing portrait painting course

If you’ve already done a Northern Realist Portrait Drawing course, the Grisaille or the Warm & Cool Colour portrait courses, this is the ideal next step.


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.

In the first three weeks will deal with colour mixing exercises designed to help you identify the essential elements of any given colour. The exercises will teach to how modify colours to your needs in the portrait study and provide a useful reference for future use.

Following the colour exercises you’ll work on a portrait study from a reference photo sent to you. Initially you’ll look at the structure of the head; in particular, proportion, orientation and placement of the features as well as compositional principles.

Finally you’ll use the use what you’ve learned in the colour exercises to develop your colour portrait study in stages enabling you to concentrate on one concept at a time.

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

You will have the option of joining A Whatsapp group to send you essential images and provide group feedback throughout the course.

A recording of each session will be available to participants for the week following each lesson allowing you to continue to work on your painting and recap on the week’s principles or catch up if you miss a session.


Essential Info & Booking

  • Price :£240
  • Date: Mondays 21st February – 11th April 2022
  • Time: 18:30-21:00
  • Location: Online via Zoom
  • Questions: Use Contact Form above right or visit the Contact Page or email


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How The Course Works and What You’ll Need

The workshop will be done using Zoom, you will be emailed a reference image and an invitation to the sessions after booking.

Bookings are made by paying a deposit via Eventbrite, you will then be invoiced for the remaining balance. Follow the ‘Book Now’ links on this page to Eventbrite pay your deposit.

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

  • 4 pieces of primed canvas or canvas paper
  • Willow Charcoal
  • A putty eraser
  • Charcoal fixative
  • 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
  • Ivory or Blue Black Oil Paint
  • Yellow Ochre Oil Paint
  • Cadmium Red or Cadmium Red Hue Oil Paint
  • Rags and Kitchen Roll


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