Classical Art Atelier

Classical Portrait Painting Techniques

3-Day Oil Painting Workshop with Brian Smyth

This three-day intensive workshop with Brian Smyth, artist and tutor from the Angel Academy of Art, Florence, Italy, provides an excellent introduction to the classical portrait painting. This workshop will use preliminary exercises such as a master copy portrait painting before graduating to painting the life model. It will also demonstrate some of the principles and techniques currently being taught at the realist painting academies in Florence and elsewhere. Our Classical Portrait Painting Techniques Workshop with Brian Smyth will be held at Galway Arts Centre in GALWAY CITY on 12-14 July 2019.

BOOK EARLY & SAVE! Book before 15 June and SAVE 10%!
BOOK OUR TWO GALWAY WORKSHOPS Portrait Drawing (06-07 July) and Portrait Painting (12-14 July) and SAVE ANOTHER 10%!!
Find out more about our Classical Portrait Drawing Workshop.
Book one or both of these workshops at Galway Arts Centre.


Working with a limited colour palette, based on the Zorn palette system, Brian will teach you a step-by-step process to expressive and realistic portrait painting. Organizing the palette, colour mixing, drawing, value and edges will be covered, discussed and demonstrated. Students will work on a master copy painting during this workshop as well as working with a life model. Demonstration paintings, slide presentations and in depth personal critiques will be provided throughout.

Materials List
  • Live model
  • Basic materials included*
  • Detailed handouts
  • Practical exercises
  • Live Demonstrations
  • Slide Presentations
  • Refreshments provided

*Students will be required to bring certain materials.


Brian will demonstrate each of the key steps involved in the painting process
and will individually assist each student as they progress.

Portrait Painting Step-by-Step by Brian Smyth © 2019

Step One

Starting with the drawing stage, Brian will explain and demonstrate the principles of getting a good sense of proportion and accuracy of shapes and how, at this early stage, these are the key elements of getting a good likeness of the model.

Step Two

The next stage will comprise of colour mixing and getting a good block-in of the skin tones, hair, clothes and background colours. At this stage, an introduction to the anatomy of portraiture will be discussed and the methods for modelling form will be demonstrated.

Step Three

The final stage will concentrate on bringing each area to a finish, with an emphasis on turning form. At this stage, we pay greater attention to paint handling and edge quality.

Workshop Details

The Classical Portrait Painting Techniques Workshop will be held at Galway Arts Centre, Galway City, on 12-14 July 2019. See details and special offers below, or contact us to find out more and to enrol.

# Workshop Dates Times Full
1 Classical Portrait Painting Workshop ONLY 12-14 July 2019 10am-5pm each day € 300 € 270
2 Classical Portrait Drawing Workshop ONLY 06-07 July 2019 10am-5pm each day € 200 € 180
3 Classical Portrait Drawing AND Painting 06-07 AND 12-14 July 2019 10am-5pm each day € 450 € 400

Book one or both of these workshops at Galway Arts Centre.

Important Notes

  • You must book before 15 June 2019 to avail of the 10% early bird discount.
  • Fees are non-refundable and non-transferrable.
  • Classical Art Atelier reserves the right to cancel any course or workshop at any time if the minimum number of students required is not reached. In such cases, your fee will be fully refunded.

About Brian Smyth

Oil Painting Instructor

Brian Smyth is an award-winning graduate of the Crawford College of Art and Design. He has had several succesful solo exhibitions in Dublin and London and has participated in and curated many group exhibitions. He has completed many private commissions, including a 14-painting Stations of the Cross commission for a church restoration project in his native Co. Cork.

Brian has his works in many private and public collections and continues to develop his technique, to exhibit his paintings and to work on portrait commissions.

Brian began his studies in The Angel Academy, in Florence, in 2012, and has worked there as an instructor since 2013. Visit to see his work.

Materials List

Oil Painting Workshop

Stretched and unstretched canvas will be provided by the academy. However, it is imperative that you bring a portfolio case large enough to fit a canvas 50x40cm or some other means of taking your wet canvases home with you. Your work will not be stored by the academy.

All materials and equipment are available at Cork Art Supplies, where you will be entitled to a 10% discount upon enrolling for this workshop, or at Jackson's Art Supplies UK

Oil Colours
  • Titanium White
  • Ivory Black
  • Burnt Umber
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Cadmium Red
  • Alizarin Crimson Permanent
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • 4 x Bristle Filbert (size 6)
  • 2 x Soft Synthetic Filbert (size 8)
  • 1 x Soft Filbert (size 12)
  • 1 x Soft Round (size 1)
  • 1 x Soft Fan Brush (size 6 or 8)
  • Liquin
  • Fast Drying Linseed Oil
  • Mineral Spirits
  • Turpentine
  • Wooden Palette
  • Palette Knife
  • Palette Cups
  • Glass Jar
  • Paper Towels
  • Portfolio Case
Classical Portrait Painting Techniques Workshop

Start learning the oil painting methods and techniques of the Masters

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