Classical Art Atelier

Figure Painting from Life

5-Day 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 the essential techniques of figure painting from life with oils, and demonstrates some of the principles and practices currently being taught at the realist painting academies in Florence and elsewhere. Working from the live model, students will have the full five days to complete one painting.

This workshop takes place at C.I.T. Arts in Health & Education Campus, No. 46 Grand Parade, Cork City, from Monday 16 to Friday 20 July 2018.


Painting the human figure offers the greatest scope for dealing with gesture, proportion and subtle colour. This intensive workshop starts with learning the principles of academic oil painting. Beginning with the use of the dry-brush method, Brian will teach and demonstrate how to measure and capture accurate proportions, and how to emphasise a good sense of gesture in the figure. This process is all explained through a cohesive step-by-step procedure designed to enhance the student's ability to render the human form.

  • Basic materials included*
  • Detailed handouts
  • Practical exercises
  • Live Demonstrations
  • Refreshments provided

*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 on their own painting.

Images courtesy of Brian Smyth © 2017-18

Day One

The first day will be devoted to shorter exercises, mainly in monochrome, which will serve to strengthen the student's understanding of the gesture, proportion and construction of the figure.

Days Two to Five

The subsequent days will be spent working with the live model, and students will learn about drawing with the brush, the creation of volumes, the use of a set palette, and the mixing of flesh tones for full-colour painting.

Notes & Handouts

Students will receive various handouts that explain the correct methods of using oil paint. These handouts 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.

Workshop Details

The Figure Painting from Life Workshop will be held at C.I.T. Arts in Health & Education Campus, No.46 Grand Parade, Cork. See the details of each below, or contact us to find out more and to enrol.

# Venue Duration Day Time Dates Cost
1 C.I.T. Arts in Health & Education,
No. 46 Grand Parade, Cork
5 Days Monday to Friday 10.00am - 5.00pm 16 - 20 July 2018 € 600

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

Terms & Conditions

  • Fees are non-refundable and non-transferrable.
  • Classical Art Atelier reserves the right to cancel any course or workshop if the minimum number of students needed is not reached. In such cases, your fee will be fully refunded.
  • It is recommended that you take out insurance to cover travel costs in the event that a course or workshop is cancelled.

About Brian Smyth

Classical Painting Instructor

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.

Figure Painting from Life

Start learning the oil painting methods and techniques of the Masters

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