Classical Art Atelier

Essential Drawing & Painting Skills

2, 3 or 5-Day Summer Workshop with Adrian Cooke (Drawing) and Brian Smyth (Painting)

Our summer workshop focuses on the essential skills and techniques of classical drawing and painting combined into one full week. You can choose to do just two days of drawing or three days of painting or the full week of drawing and painting!

This format follows the traditional atelier method (albeit compressed into one week) by beginning with drawing skills where you will learn the basics of design, line, value and form using pencil and charcoal, and then progressing into oil painting where you will become acquainted with the unique characteristics of this medium and ultimately begin to work in full colour. This workshop is suitable not only for beginners, but also for advanced artists, as quite often some very basic skills and techniques need to be practised and reinforced.

This special Summer Workshop will take place at Nano Nagle Place in the heart of CORK CITY between 15-19 July 2019.

BOOK EARLY & SAVE! Book before 15 June and SAVE 10%!
BOOK THE FULL WEEK Drawing (15-16 July) and Painting (17-19 July) and SAVE ANOTHER 10%!!

Classical Drawing
with Adrian Cooke

The week begins with two days of drawing, introducing you to the time-tested classical methods and techniques, from beginning marks and lines that create the initial design and contour of your drawing, to a full range of values that describe form and give your drawing the illusion of depth.

Essential techniques like shading, hatching and blending, sight-size and comparative measuring, choosing and handling materials, and much more will be covered through a range of standard as well as innovative exercises.

The skills and knowledge acquired through drawing are a fundamental prerequisite, which are too often overlooked, before progressing into painting.

Drawing is the honesty of the art. There is no possibility of cheating. It is either good or bad. Salvador Dalí
Classical Painting
with Brian Smyth

The first steps in painting make no use of colour - instead, they focus on a technique known as grisaille, which uses only monochrome tones (usually of grey, hence the French, "gris" in "grisaille"). This technique allows you to become accustomed to the unique characteristics of the oil paint medium, how to work with it (and your brushes) and how to mix, understand and apply values and render form.

You will work on several exercises over the three days including matching a value strip, rendering an object, painting a plaster cast and a 5-value master copy image. By the end of the week, you will have learned a step-by-step method for creating a realistic full colour painting. Organising your palette, colour theory and mixing, dry brush method, and edge quality will also be covered, discussed and demonstrated.

Painting is easy when you don't know how, but very difficult when you do. Edgar Degas


Monday and Tuesday will focus entirely on drawing with Adrian Cooke,
and Wednesday, Thursday and Friday will be spent painting with Brian Smyth.

Monday 15 July

The first day of drawing will introduce you to the four key pictorial elements: design, line, value and form. You will look at each of these building blocks in detail and work on exercises that develop your understanding of each of them. You will also practise some key drawing techniques such as shading, blending, and hatching, and learn about drawing media and materials.

Tuesday 16 July

You will practise copying one of Charles Bargue's lithographs from his Cours de dessin - part 1: based on a sculpture cast, part 2: a master drawing, and/or part 3: a block-in of a standard model pose. In the afternoon, you will have an opportunity to draw from life, putting into practice all of the tools that you've learned including measuring accurately, reading values, and rendering form.

10% Art Supplies Discount!

We've teamed up with Cork Art Supplies to give you a 10% discount on all your art supplies for 12 months when you enrol for any one of our courses or workshops!

Wednesday 17 July

You will transition seamlessly from drawing to painting, beginning with an introduction to grisaille painting in oils, and working on exercises that rely on this technique: matching a value strip exercise, then moving on to rendering an object, and finally working on a 5-value master copy painting exercise.

Thursday 18 July

The second day of painting will focus on working from a plaster cast, starting with a short demonstration on the drawing stage. Each cast will be wall-mounted and lit to emphasise a chiaroscuro effect, which helps to illuminate values and forms.

Friday 19 July

The final morning will concentrate on setting up a limited colour palette and doing a flesh-toned value exercise, which will specifically prepare you for that afternoon's alla prima portrait painting from life. One this final day, you will be encouraged to pay even greater attention to paint handling, edge quality, and bringing each area of your painting to a beautiful finish.

Summer Workshop Booking Details

The Essential Drawing & Painting Skills Workshop will be held at Nano Nagle Place, Cork City, from 15-19 July 2019. See details and special offers below, or contact us to find out more and to enrol.

# Workshop Dates Times Full
1 Drawing Workshop ONLY Mon.15 - Tue.16 July 2019 10am-5pm each day € 200 € 180
2 Painting Workshop ONLY Wed.17 - Fri.19 July 2019 10am-5pm each day € 300 € 270
3 Drawing AND Painting Workshops
(10% off when you book both)
15-16 AND 17-19 July 2019 10am-5pm each day € 450 € 400

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.

Meet The Instructors

Adrian Cooke

Adrian comes from a family of visual artists who strongly influenced and mentored him through his formative years. Initially pursuing a formal education in classical music (1995-2002), his visual art studies began later and have been largely self-directed, taking various part-time courses and tutorials including at the Vitruvian Fine Art Studio and with his colleague, Brian Smyth of the Angel Academy of Art.

His first exhibition was a series of portraits and master copy drawings in Waterford in 2014. He founded Classical Art Atelier in 2015 and has been working there as a drawing instructor since.

Brian Smyth

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.

Materials Lists


Basic materials including cartridge and newsprint paper will be provided by the academy. However, you will need to bring a certain amount of drawing materials yourself and some high-quality paper for your longer studies. 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

  • A range of pencils including
    2H, H, HB, B, 2B, 4B, 6B, 8B
    (preferably Staedtler Mars Lumograph)
  • Staedtler Mars Lumograph Black 2B, 4B, 6B, 8B (optional)
  • Graphite Powder (optional)
  • Standard Carbon Pencils
Charcoals (optional)
  • Vine Charcoal (Nitram)
  • Willow Charcoal
  • Compressed Charcoal
  • Stonehenge Paper: White, 18x24in
  • Canson Mi-Tientes Pastel Paper: Moonstone, Single Sheets 55x75cm
    or Daler Canford Paper: Dreadnought Grey, A3 or A2 size
  • Kneadable Eraser
  • Ruler
  • Skewer or Knitting Needle
  • Tombow Mono Zero Eraser (optional)
  • Maulstick (optional)


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.

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
Essential Drawing & Painting Skills Workshop

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