You are an artist...

If you can see, you can draw and paint. Pablo Picasso said, “I am always doing things that I don't know how to do, that's how I get to do them.

This course is all about helping you master the art of portraiture in ten weeks, starting with the basics of drawing human forms with pencil and charcoal, right up to painting on canvas. You will discover new materials, new techniques and, most importantly, new skills. The course is designed to unfold step-by-step; you will benefit from an expert guide to show you the way, and from a clothed live portrait model every week.

The aim of Human Figure is to create a space where no one is judging you; to give you the freedom to “see what happens if...” 

Portrait art takes as many forms as there are artists; it is a personal language which allows you to express how you see the people around you. Perhaps it also says a lot about yourself...

Over the course of ten sessions you can:

  • Learn techniques of portrait art, from pencil on paper to acrylic and oil painting on canvas.
     
  • Discover new materials including inexpensive ones you might never have thought of.
     
  • Try things out in a supportive, friendly environment – play and experiment with an expert guide to hold your hand.
 

The course is designed to unfold step-by-step

The course will begin with understanding the human figure, drawing with pencils or charcoals

The course will begin with understanding the human figure, drawing with pencils or charcoals

You can learn how to add washes with watercolours to drawings in pen or pencil to add more depth, atmosphere and expression to your portraits

You can learn how to add washes with watercolours to drawings in pen or pencil to add more depth, atmosphere and expression to your portraits

The whole colour palette is quite confusing, so Brenda will teach you how to paint using just a couple of colours

The whole colour palette is quite confusing, so Brenda will teach you how to paint using just a couple of colours

 
A half-finished painting on a piece of cardboard – you don’t need expensive materials to make beautiful portrait art

A half-finished painting on a piece of cardboard – you don’t need expensive materials to make beautiful portrait art

A finished painting on canvas board – also using a very limited palette

A finished painting on canvas board – also using a very limited palette


Frequently Asked Questions

Why sign up for this course? 

  • You want a place to start exploring your creative ideas, or to help you get started again after a break, when ideas have dried up...
     
  • You are nervous about painting or not sure whether you can do it and want individual support from an expert tutor...
  • You want to connect with others, to be inspired through shared time; to be stimulated and recharged...

  • You want to build up your confidence as an artist in an encouraging environment, to develop your painting skills and to explore new methods...

  • You want to experience the buzz of making images...
  • You have limited time and space but are looking for a way to discover the fun of being creative..

Who is this course for?

This course is designed for absolute beginners in painting. The course will unfold from simple drawing techniques towards painting your first full portrait using a few colours. Equally, those with some experience may enjoy returning to first principles and starting afresh with this course. The atmosphere will be relaxed and supportive. All are welcome.

Do I need special equipment?

The first session of the term is a taster session, for which you won't need any special equipment; the aim is overcoming the tyranny of the blank page.

If you enjoy the class, you will need some basic materials that you can obtain inexpensively from local art shops. The course will also include how to prepare your own media using regular household items.

Brenda not only shares her brilliant techniques with us, she also gives us the confidence to find our own style. The lessons fly by. Brenda shares her own talents generously.
— Rosalind Clayton

Meet your tutor

Brenda Holtam

Brenda Holtam is a portrait artist based in Richmond. She has been drawing and painting as long as she can remember, constantly practising techniques, experimenting with colour combinations and capturing ideas. She has been teaching since 1989 and especially loves helping complete beginners to get into fine art. Brenda studied painting at Falmouth School of Art and the Royal Academy Schools. She is an elected member of the Royal Watercolour Society.

www.brendaholtam.com

Brenda Holtam

Brenda Holtam


How to book

Reserve your place for this unique course

  • This course will run for 10 sessions on Thursday evenings from 7.00pm to 8.30pm, starting on 12 January 2017, with a week's break at half term.
  • Fee: £150 – covers the whole term's classes and some basic materials in the first session.
  • Suitable for adults aged 16+. We also offer courses for children and teenagers.
  • Numbers are capped in order to ensure personal attention from the tutor, so we recommend reserving a place soon.
  • The first class is a taster session; if you decide that the course is not for you, we offer a full no-quibble refund.