Portrait painting in oils with Wendy Barratt

Ref: SWE32625

About this course

Develop both your oil painting skills, as well as how to express the character of the sitter and a connection to them. You will be encouraged to develop your own style of painting, as well as improving your skills of observation in your drawing and experimentation in mark-making with paint.

Course Description

This portrait painting course will focus on encouraging you to think about more than just the technicalities of painting a portrait and looking at ways to express a connection between artist and sitter.

Beginning with a short introduction by your tutor, with insights into her own approaches and techniques of painting a portrait. This will be followed by painting exercises to encourage playfulness with the paint, ways to connect with the model, and the rigor of keen observation in order to gain a likeness. You will be encouraged to develop your own unique way of looking, seeing and working.

Once you have made initial studies in paint, you will then use these to help inform your final portraits, which you will spend the remaining time creating.

You will be working from the same model throughout the course, and you will be provided with group tuition, demonstrations, as well as one-to-one support throughout.


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


  • On this course the College will provide the model who will sit for the course.

What students need to bring

  • A set of oil paints in the following recommended colours: Titanium white, Lemon Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Red, Alizarin Crimson, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Cerulean Blue and Burnt Umber.
  • Studio safe odourless solvent (such as Zest It, Gamsol or Sansodor)
  • Paintbrushes: a range of brushes from size 1 to 12 - a mix of hogs hair and synthetic brushes in a mix of flats, filberts and rounds
  • A palette (at least A4 size - preferably bigger)
  • A palette knife for mixing paint (size 11)
  • Two lidded jam jars or a brush cleaning pot
  • Old rags and paper kitchen towels
  • Sheets of oil painting paper
  • Stretched canvases or canvas boards

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A good variety of art materials including:
  • Oil paints in a variety of colours including Titanium white, Lemon Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Red, Alizarin Crimson, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Cerulean Blue and Burnt Umber.
  • Oil painting paper, stretched canvases and canvas boards in a range of sizes.
  • Palettes, palette knives and studio safe solvent.
  • A good range of paintbrushes sizes 1 – 12 in both hogs hair, and synthetic in flats, filberts and rounds.

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no sandals or open toes).


Wendy Barratt

Wendy is an artist and art tutor with over 35 years of experience and a focus on portraiture.


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.