Course Code E2301P006
Tutor Robin-Lee Hall
Course Dates Tuesdays: 19th September to 28th November 2023
Times 10:30AM - 4:30PM
Experience Level All Levels
Fee £630

This course is an intended revision course for students with experience of portrait painting. It examines fundamental aspects of portrait painting to ensure you have a comprehensive understanding of the techniques and skills required. You will analyse form and colour, consider again the handling and mixing of colour, and how it applies to portrait painting

Your tutor will support you fully throughout the course in both group sessions and one-to-one support, providing very regular feedback, critique and constructive advice.

By the end of the course you will be able to: 

  • Develop knowledge of different stylistic approaches to portraiture, past and present, analyse the work of others and apply findings in own work. 
  • Analyse, mix and apply colour in a practical and precise way, including for skin tones.
  • Find solutions to the problems of arranging a subject with reference to the paintings of the past.
  • Understand the structure of the head and convey depth through the use of tone and colour.
  • Understand the head in relation to the space around it and create balanced compositions.

This course is suitable for all levels.

Robin-Lee Hall is Past President of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters. She trained at Saint Martins and Kingston. She has exhibited at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, the BP Portrait Award and the RP Annual Show. In 2010 she won the Ondaatje Prize for Portraiture. She works with many different painting materials including the ancient medium of egg tempera. She lectures and teaches workshops at the Royal Academy and National Portrait Gallery.


The Academy is a white spirit and turpentine free environment and only odourless spirits, such as Zest-it or Sansodor, are permitted on the premises. Students must provide their own spirits, which can be recycled for longevity. 

We request that you bring 2 small jars (one with a lid, one without) to hold your spirit, and a few cloths rags for brush cleaning (such as an old cotton t-shirt).

Below is a list of what is currently required for the course. Please also check the ‘what to bring’ sections above. Your tutor will advise if further materials or equipment are required as the course progresses.

You will need to bring the following:

  • Sketchbook, 4B pencil. Eraser. Pencil sharpener/blade. Charcoal.  Putty rubber
  • Two dippers/or double dipper
  • Jam jar with lid.
  • Only odourless spirits, Sansodor or Zest-it (the Academy is a white spirit free environment)
  • Medium: Liquin Original by Winsor and Newton
  • Large palette (A3)
  • Rags
  • Canvas/board between roughly 16” x 12” and 20” x 14”
  • Primed Paper (with PVA) or canvas/oil painting pad (A3)
  • Paints: *
  • Titanium White or Michael Harding ‘Warm White’
  • Mixing White or Zinc White
  • Cadmium Lemon or Cadmium Yellow 
  • Yellow Ochre

                    o     Cadmium Red

  • Magenta or Rose Madder
  • Oxide of Chromium Green
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Raw Umber
  • Burnt Umber
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • Cobalt Blue
  • Ivory Black

* Artists’ quality paints are much better for mixing flesh tones. If you can afford an Artists’ Cadmium Red (or any of the other reds or blues) that would help. The earth colours are not such an issue.

  • Brushes: assorted sizes of filberts and flats – suggestions: Pro-arte Sterling white synthetic brushes and the Monarch brushes 
  • An off-set palette knife (metal)
  • Riggers: size 1 and 3
  • Hog filberts; sizes 2, 4, 6, 8

Certain materials can be purchased from the Academy shop during shop hours. Please check in advance of your class if the item you require is available, as the Academy may not have this in stock.

The Academy has created an ‘Oil Painting pack’  which contains part of the basic materials necessary for this component. Please either purchase an academy painting pack following the link below or source your the individual items from elsewhere;

An Oil Painting Pack (£75.00) contains:

A set of bristle brushes, both flat and round, suitable for either oils or acrylics

One tear off palette (9”x12”)

One palette knife

One bottle Zest-it (250ml) 

One 10″x 12″ canvas board

One 10″x 14″ canvas board

Two 12″x 16″ canvas boards
8 Daler Rowney Georgian Oil paint tubes in: Titanium White, Lemon Yellow, Cadmium Yellow, Burnt Umber, Cadmium Red, Alizarin Crimson, French Ultramarine Blue, Coeruleum Blue..

Mermaid Court

165A Borough High Street
London SE1 1HR
tel: +44 (0) 207407 6969

Nearest Tube/ Rail: London Bridge or Borough (both a 5 minute walk).

Please note that London Bridge has two exits, the most direct route is to follow signs to “Borough High Street”.

You are welcome to use our Common Room/ The Barn during break times, where you can prepare hot drinks and/or food.

Students will also be able to use the coffee machine, where free hot water, and paid-for hot drinks are available.

Students are encouraged to bring their own reusable mugs and water bottles where possible.

  • You will need to have paid in full before the first session of your class. Your place is not guaranteed until we have received full payment. Please book early in order to guarantee your place on the course.
  • If you purchased a pack online this will be given to you on the first session of your course upon your arrival. Packs can be purchased on our Materials Page or on the individual course page when you make your booking.
  • Please don’t wear your best clothes as there is always a chance you will get messy. If possible bring an apron or overalls.
  • All artwork MUST be taken home at the end of the course or it will be disposed of. Paintings that need to dry should be collected within a week. For clay sculptures that need hollowing and firing, you will receive a separate email when they can be collected.
  • Please ensure that your mobile phone is switched off or is on silent during the class.
  • Health and Safety Guidelines will be provided to you at the beginning of your class.
  • Sometimes our photographer will pop in to get some images of our classes in progress. We will typically inform you beforehand if photography is taking place during your class; if you do not want to be photographed please let the photographer know!
  • To find out more about what’s going on at the Academy follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. If you’d like to share images of your course, your progress or your finished work we’d love to see them! Please bear in mind you must have the permission of tutors, other students and models to photograph them.
  • If you would like more information or advice please contact
  • For further details please see our Short Courses: Regulations & Policies page.

From: £630.00

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