Contemporary Portrait Painting Workshop 10 – 11 September 2019, Durbanville

Art Workshops
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Create your own unique Portrait in a fun, two day, 4 hour per day, intensive interactive workshop to create your own masterpiece.

Using traditional as well as non-traditional materials. Students will be encouraged to use their unique talent and interest to explore the human face and form.

Image Credit Copyright Voka

What you will learn?

This is a workshop aimed at encouraging students to make a fantastic, interesting and unique painting.

You will learn how to plan your masterpiece and create dynamic, color filled, dramatic art piece uniquely your own. We will be learning to use added textures, drawing and mixed media, using acrylic mediums and various tools. We will make use of techniques like dripping, blotting, layering and palette knife. Portraits are effective and compelling when they tell us something about the person. A good portrait is not just a visual representation of a person; it will also reveal something about the essence of the person. What the portrait reveals may not be completely obvious – sometimes it can be cleverly implied through a certain expression or pose, an included object, or the artist’s use of colour. Sometimes the person in the portrait can become iconic, representing a wider group of people from a specific period in time, who share something in common.

A strong portrait captivates viewers, draws them into the painting, and engages their attention. Such a portrait painting causes the viewer to wonder about the person depicted. In this way a portrait painting or drawing can function as a biography – telling the story of that person’s life. The artist will carefully craft visual clues to tell the story of the person in the artwork. Portrait paintings can reveal the sitter’s place in society, their hobbies or occupation, or aspects of their personality or beliefs. Through demonstrations, Leonie will illustrate her very easy and fun technique. You can expect to create at least one finished painting. This workshop is open to novices.

You will learn how to use the all over grid. This unique method enables painters to get the exact proportions of a face and the correct position the features of the face. This shortcut to drafting the face allows students much more time to enjoy learning Leonie’s very loose painting style with the easy medium of acrylic. Students are not overburdened with ‘drawing’ or copying the image of the face onto the paper.

We will make use of techniques like dripping, blotting, layering and palette knife.

Sometimes your finished piece betrays nothing of its original layer, but this process offers lots of opportunity for play and experimentation. Why put that first layer down if you are only going to cover over it? The answer is that the first layer is a starting point from which you build subsequent layers, and ultimately end up with a finished piece of art.

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Time and Dates starting:

  • Please be prompt
  • We start at 9.30am to 1.30pm
  • Tuesday and Wednesday 10-11 September 2019

Materials Needed:

  • Zelcryl Acrylic Paint:
    • White
    • Lemon Yellow
    • Cadmium or Deep Yellow
    • Alizarin Crimson
    • Cadmium or Vermillion Red
    • Ultramarine Blue
    • Phthalo Blue
    • Any other colour you fancy
  • Palette Knife Set of 5
  • Mixing A3 Paper Palette
  • Hog Hair Flat and Round Brushes no: 2+4+6
  • Large House Paint Brushes
  • Nylon Angle Brushes no: small + medium + large
  • Soft Cloth
  • +- 60 a 60cm Square size boxed canvas. (Please make sure canvass is smaller than 90 x 90cm)
  • Mixing bowls, tins or old yoghurt containers
  • Spray Bottle
  • Leonie has dozens of images available for students to use.
    Students are, of course, welcome to bring their own images as long as they’re very sharp and clear and printed out on A4 paper so that the face is at least 25 cm in height.

For the sake of time, we will NOT be working with oils.

What can you expect?

Leonie assists each participant with their individual needs and problems. During the workshop she does special short demonstrations of eyes, hair and other features as needed. She demonstrates and encourages each student to experiment using pouring of washes from containers, dripping and moving the paint around the canvas by tilting and manipulating it. The aim is a great painting rather than a great likeness!

This is a workshop aimed at encouraging students to make a fantastic, interesting and unique painting.

There are demonstrations every step of the way. With clear step-by-step, hands-on instructions, a wealth of technical tips, continuous demonstrations, and personal instruction at each student’s easel, Leonie will show students how to approach the challenges of portraiture with confidence. Questions are encouraged at all times. What are the basic proportions of the human face? What lines up with what? How does it all fit together and how do we translate the reality of another person into paint?

Workshops are all about learning from each other and having fun while doing it!


  • One Person: R1000.00 for two days from 9.30am to 1.30pm
  • Two or More: R800.00 per person for Two days from 9.30 to 1.30pm

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Lifeart School T&C’s apply

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