Course Code E2301P007
Tutor Charles Pickard, Carl Randall, Geraldine Swayne, Robin-Lee Hall, Tim Benson
Course Dates Wednesdays: 20th September to 29th November
Times 10:30AM - 4:30PM
Experience Level Advanced, Intermediate, Intermediate/Advanced
Fee £630 + £8 Egg tempera kit

This course is all about paint!  Working with several different tutors, each of whom are practising portrait artists who work using very different painting techniques, you will be given the opportunity to explore a variety of ways of applying paint when painting a portrait. The results are likely to be significantly different from week to week. The course is suitable for people with some experience of portrait painting.

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

  • Create portraits utilising a variety of paint application techniques in oil and acrylic. 
  • Create portraits using egg tempera. 
  • Apply glazing techniques in the creation of portraiture. 
  • Develop knowledge of different stylistic approaches to portraiture, past and present, analyse the work of others and apply findings in your own work.

This course is intended for those with some familiarity with oil painting.

Tim Benson was educated at Glasgow School of Art and Byam Shaw School of Art from 1998-2001 and is currently President of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters. As a practised figurative artist Tim not only creates a distinguishable likeness of a subject but moreover evokes the sitter’s character and mood. He is never satisfied with simple representation, rather concentrating on bringing to his work an emotive and often visceral quality.

Tim regularly exhibits in solo and group exhibitions around the UK. He displays fine art paintings that stand on their own as collectible works of art and accordingly has established a large following and collector base. In addition to his fine art pieces, he accepts more formal portrait and figurative commissions in oil or charcoal.   

Carl Randall is a graduate of The Slade of Fine Art, BA, Painting, The Princes Drawing School, the Drawing Year, and Tokyo University of Fine Arts, MA & Doctorate Fine Art. He is a previous 1st prize winner of The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition, and the 2012 BP Travel Award, where he had a display of 16 Japan-themed paintings at The National Portrait Gallery London (then touring to Scotland and Japan). His book ‘Japan Catalogues’ and prints of his portraits are on sale at The National Portrait Gallery. He has had several solo exhibitions in London and Japan, and exhibited with various galleries, including several times in The Royal Academy of Art Summer Exhibition, the BP Portrait Awards, The Jerwood Drawing Prize, The Lynn Painter Stainers Prize, The Royal Society of Portrait Painters at The Mall Galleries, and  Flowers Gallery London. He has exhibited internationally at art fairs in Switzerland, Istanbul, Taiwan and Tokyo, and has work in the permanent collections of University College London Museum, Fondation Carmignac Paris, Singer & Friedlander Bank, Tokyo University of Arts Museum Japan, and The Royal Collection (commissioned by HRH Prince of Wales). He has been interviewed by the BBC and CNN about his work.  

Robin-Lee Hall PPRP 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 and drawing materials including drawing on an iPad and working in the ancient medium of egg tempera. She lectures and teaches workshops at the Royal Academy of Arts and the National Gallery.  Instagram: @robinleehallartist 

Geraldine Swayne is an English painter, who works mainly in miniatures, in enamel on metal.

She studied Fine Art at Newcastle University from 1985–89 and in 1990 she won a Northern Arts Travel award to paint and make super-8 films about voodoo in New Orleans, then moved to rural France for a year, living as a portraitist and making a series of large outdoor paintings. In 1992 she moved to the UK and became a pioneer special effects designer at Computer Film Company, in London and later, in Los Angeles. 

Since 1999, she has made numerous experimental films including the world’s first super-8 to Imax film East End, produced by Cathy Shaw, and narrated by Miriam Margolyes with music by Nick Cave. After leaving the film industry in 2004, Swayne worked as an assistant for Jake and Dinos Chapman rebuilding Hell. Although better known as a painter, in 2005 she joined experimental rock group Bender and, in the following year, became a member of ‘Krautrock’ group Faust, with whom she has recorded two albums and toured widely, making musical improvisations and live paintings at venues such as the Wrexner Centre for the Arts in Ohio, Detroit Museum of Contemporary Art and CalArts.

More recent solo shows include ‘Silvering’ 2017, at the Fine Art Society, London, ‘Geraldine Swayne’ at W186 Project Rooms, Aeroplatics Gallery, Belgium and ‘Geraldine Swayne’ 2013 at Future Art Projects, Sheep Lane, London in 2013. She won the Royal Academy Summer Show Dupree Prize for best female artist 2018 and was commissioned to produce portraits for the Provost of Worcester College Oxford and the Ruth Borchard Family Collection.   

Charlie Pickard is a classically trained fine artist, illustrator and author. Trained at the London Atelier of Representational Art, completing his training in 2017. His work has been seen at the Royal Society of Oil painters in 2017 and the Royal Society of British Artists in 2020, where he was awarded the Philip Delazlo Award for excellence. Charlie also regularly contributes articles to various publications including Artists and Illustrators, Imaginfx and 3Dtotal. He Illustrated the book ‘Anatomy for Artists’ in 2020 and Authored the book ‘Colour and Light’ in 2021, both in partnership with the publisher of 3Dtotal. Charlie continues to work, write, exhibit and teach out of his studio in London.


Please note there will be a small charge for the egg tempera materials of £8, which the Academy will supply. 

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 cloth 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.

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.

If you do not have your own materials, there is an option to order an Oil Painting Pack at the time of booking, which will be available when you arrive for your first class and can be stored at the Academy for the duration of your course. 

An Oil Painting Pack (£75.00) contains:

A set of bristle brushes, both flat and round

One tear off palette (9”x12”)

One palette knife

One bottle of Zest-it (250ml)

One 10″x12″ canvas board

One 10″x14″ canvas board

Two 12″x16″ canvas boards

Eight Daler Rowney oil tubes of Titanium White, Cadmium Yellow, Lemon Yellow, Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium Red, French Ultramarine, Coeruleum Blue and Burnt Umber

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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