Classical Art Atelier

Classical Portrait Painting

3-Day Weekend Workshop in Classical Painting with Brian Smyth

This intensive workshop by Brian Smyth, artist and tutor at the Angel Academy of Art, Florence, Italy, introduces you to portrait painting practices in oils, and demonstrates some of the principles and techniques currently being taught at the realist painting academies in Florence and elsewhere. This workshop will focus painting from life, using two models throughout the workshop.

This workshop will be held at Classical Art Atelier, Waterford, from 11th to 13th May, and at No.46 Grand Parade, Cork, from 18th to 20th May. Please see venues, dates and full details below.


In this three day workshop on portraiture, students will learn a step-by-step method for creating a realistic and believable portrait. Working from the live model, Brian will outline and demonstrate how to plan for and complete a portrait over three painting sessions.

Time will be spent explaining and demonstrating colour theory and how best to set up a colour palette for skin tones. Students will receive various handouts that explain the correct methods of using oil paint. These hand-outs will lay out the various grounds, materials and mediums used in oil painting and also describe the various layers used in classic underpainting-overpainting techniques, that will be covered in this workshop.

  • Live models each day
  • Basic materials included*
  • Detailed handouts
  • Practical exercises
  • Demonstrations
  • Refreshments provided
  • Lunch available

*Students will be provided with a list of materials to bring.


Brian will demonstrate each of the key steps in the painting process
and will individually assist each student as they progress.

All Prima Portrait Step-by-Step by Brian Smyth © 2018

Day One

Starting with the drawing stage, Brian will explain and demonstrate the principles of getting a good sense of proportion and accuracy of shapes and how, at this early stage, these are the key elements of getting a good likeness of the model.

Day Two

The underpainting stage will comprise of colour mixing and getting a good block-in of the skin tones, hair, clothes and background colours. At this stage, an introduction to the anatomy of portraiture will be discussed and the methods for modelling form will be demonstrated.

Day Three

The overpainting and glazing stage will concentrate on bringing each area to a finish, with an emphasis on turning form. At this stage, we pay greater attention to paint handling and edge quality.

Workshop Details

See the dates and details for each venue below, or contact us to find out more and to enrol.

# Venue Duration Day Time Dates Cost
1 Classical Art Atelier
Dunhill, Waterford
3 Days Friday, Saturday & Sunday 10.00am - 5.00pm 11-13 May € 300
2 No.46 Grand Parade, Cork
(C.I.T. Arts in Health & Education Centre
3 Days Friday, Saturday & Sunday 10.00am - 5.00pm 18-20 May € 300

NOTE: Please contact us if you need help or advice booking accommodation.

About Brian Smyth

Artist / Tutor

Brian Smyth is an award-winning graduate of the Crawford College of Art and Design. He has had several succesful solo exhibitions in Dublin and London and has participated in and curated many group exhibitions. He has completed many private commissions, including a 14-painting Stations of the Cross commission for a church restoration project in his native Co. Cork.

Brian has his works in many private and public collections and continues to develop his technique, to exhibit his paintings and to work on portrait commissions.

Brian began his studies in The Angel Academy, in Florence, in 2012 and has worked there as an instructor since 2013. Visit to see his work.

Classical Portrait Painting Workshop

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