Course Code E2302P52
Tutor Susanne du Toit
Course Dates Mondays: 8th January to 18th March 2024
Times 10:30AM - 4:30PM
Experience Level All Levels
Fee £630

This course is part of our Elective Skills Workshop series. You will be studying alongside students from our pre-degree and degree programmes.

This is an opportunity to think more carefully about the context within which you paint a portrait and your intentions for your painting. You’ll consider how you might work with a model in creating paintings, using wider cultural references to bring a different layer of meaning to the works you produce. Throughout the course, you’ll work with access to a model and an expert portrait and figure painter. Drawing inspiration from art movements, other artists, theatre, film and literature, or your own ideas, you’ll establish a series of scenes or poses and use these as the basis for your paintings. 

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

  • Analyse the work of others and apply findings to their own work 
  • Create paintings from diverse source material
  • Create a series of paintings through research and experimentation with ideas and techniques 
  • Consider the main factors in determining and creating the setting and composition for a portrait 
  • Design the setting and composition for a portrait that communicates a theme/ idea

This course is suitable for those with some experience of figure and portrait painting who want to develop their skills and ideas further.

This course is suitable for all levels. Students can move at their own pace depending on their experience, with as much support from the Tutor as they wish.

  • Beginner

    Choose a Beginners course if you are looking for a broad introduction to the medium you are studying. Students spend time learning the very basics of the taught medium, for example, how to mix colours, use different tools, set up an easel. Our Beginner courses are suitable for students with no prior experience, they tend to follow a more structured path than our other courses, ensuring each student receives the guidance they need from the tutor.

  • Beginner +

    Choose a Beginner + course if you are looking to hone your skills, focus on a specific subject area and build your confidence. These courses are suitable for those with some basic skills in and knowledge of the taught medium, but still follow a structured path with guidance from the tutor.

  • Intermediate

    Our Intermediate courses are suitable for students who have considerable prior knowledge of the taught medium or have completed a Beginners/Beginners + course with the Art Academy.

    These courses tend to be less structured and instead are tailored to the classes’ needs and the direction they want to advance in. Choose an Intermediate course if you are looking to improve your skills and have more critical discussions around the work you produce.

  • Advanced

    Choose our Advanced courses if you have considerable knowledge in the taught medium. You are expected to be able to work independently and have critical discussions around your work.

     Our Advanced courses include our Masterclasses.

All attendees must be aged 18 or over.

Susanne du Toit trained at the University of Pretoria, South Africa and obtained a MFA from Massachusetts College of Art, Boston. Her work has been included in numerous exhibitions including the BP Portrait Award where she won First Prize in 2013.


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. You must provide your 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:

  • Bristle brushes (a mix of flat and round)
  • Charcoal
  • Putty rubber
  • Canvas or board, plus small boards or oil painting paper
  • Only odourless spirits, Sansodor or Zest-it (the Academy is a white spirit free environment)
  • Canvas/ canvas boards/primed boards of 24 x 36” (Note: this size is not available from the Art Academy and will need to be sourced elsewhere, e.g. Cass Art, Atlantis, Jacksons)
  • Oil paints to include: Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium Red, Lemon Yellow, Burnt Umber, Ultramarine Blue and Titanium White. 
  • Susanne would like students to be using a wider palette and whilst it is not necessary you have all of the additional below colours, it would be helpful to have these:
    • Indian yellow
    • Yellow Ochre
    • Cobalt Violet
    • Paynes Grey
    • Sap Green
    • Burnt Sienna
    • Van Dycke Brown
    • Ivory Black

Please note that the colours in bold are not available from the Art Academy shop. 

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, 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
    6 Daler Rowney Georgian Oil paint tubes in: Titanium White, Lemon Yellow, Cadmium Yellow, Burnt Umber, Cadmium Red, Alizarin Crimson, French Ultramarine Blue, Coeruleum Blue.

Certain materials can also 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.

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”.

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

You are also welcome to make tea or coffee.

  • 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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