Portrait oil painting – beginners with George Popesco

Ref: SWE31371

Location: West Dean
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2 places available

About this course

Paint a portrait of the model's head using oil paint. Techniques include palette preparation, underpainting, mark-making, colour, tone, and composition.

Course Description

This is a step-by-step introduction to using oils while learning how to paint a portrait of the model's head. Techniques include palette preparation, underpainting, mark-making, colour, tone and composition.

This practical course introduces you to oil painting techniques. It offers both the fundamental starting points to how you respond to working from a model, how to technically organise your materials and create a portrait painting.

This is a lively and engaging course; the tutor teaches you through practical demonstration, one-to-one support and exercises. The model will sit throughout the course. You will begin with a short preparatory drawing to establish proportion, scale and composition, followed by palette preparation, colour coordination, mixing and brushwork techniques.

At the end of the course, you will understand how to work with a model, how to use drawing to familiarise yourself with the subject, how to use fundamental oil painting techniques, and you will have completed a portrait study.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • The model, charcoal, preparatory drawing paper, oil paint, paint mediums and cleaning solvents are included.

What students need to bring

  • You are encouraged to bring along any oil paints, brushes and general painting equipment you may have and wish to use under the teaching guidance of your tutor.
  • Painting apron
  • Sketchbook, notebook
  • A2 stretched canvas
  • Metal palette knife
  • Painting palette (traditional painting) square or oval, or a student tear-off pad, or old ceramic dinner plate/s for use as a palette, clip on palette dippers x 2
  • Brushes - natural bristle or/and synthetic brushes, both flat filbert and/or round pointed, and different sizes: large, medium, small
  • Please note, all painting materials and equipment are avaialble form the College Craft Shop.
  • Your tutor will give support and relevant guidance.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A good selection of general art materials, including A2 canvases and boards, sketchbooks
  • A good range of brushes - natural bristle and/or synthetic brushes, both flat filbert and/or round pointed, in sizes large, medium, small.
  • Painting palette (traditional painting) square or oval, or a student tear-off pad, clip on palette dippers x 2
  • and palette knives

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio. This includes stout covered footwear, i.e. no open-toes or sandals.


George Popesco: Self Portrait

George Popesco

Since completing his academic training at the Royal Academy Schools London, George has taught extensively in varied Art & Design education structures alongside developing his own work and exhibiting both in group and solo exhibitions. George lives and works in Dorset, specialising in Oil Colour medium exploiting its tactile wet in wet qualities to form the mediums expressive and sculptural qualities.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

Courses of interest

Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or advance your learning with our BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft: Materials, Making, and Place (six years part-time). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.