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Classical Portrait Painting

Workshop: Classical18

Date: Mar 10, 2018 - Mar 16, 2018

Duration: 7 days

Location: ARA Toronto

Instructor: Esteban Rodriguez

Price: 750.00

Save your seat now for this workshop

$200.00 deposit is requested.

Please note: SPACE IS LIMITED. Registrations are not guaranteed until a deposit has been paid. If you require more information call 416-766-1280.

This seven-day workshop focuses on a head-and-shoulders portrait study painted from a live model using a “classical” academic approach. There will be a single, long-term sitting for the duration of the workshop. The academic method allows participants to explore all aspects of portraiture including anatomical structure, planes of the face, expressive brushwork, achieving a likeness, etc. The approach employed is a layering method used by most Old Masters which includes an under-painting, a middle layer (or two), and a finish coat. Despite its ancient roots, this is a modern synthesis that allows for efficiency of execution.


About ARA Workshops

Each participant gets lots of one-on-one attention from our superb instructors. ARA instructors teach year round so, unlike many artists who offer summer/holiday workshops our instructors are professional teachers as well as successful award-winning artists Whether you are an award winning experienced artist or have never painted before, our instructors will tailor to your skill level.

If you have any questions or are having trouble with online registration, please contact us.

Workshop hours

Most workshops are scheduled five days per week, Monday to Friday, with weekends free (unless otherwise noted). The hours are usually 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., but will occasionally go to 5:00 p.m.


If you are coming from out of town and need local accommodations, click here to see our list of inexpensive places to stay near the Academy.

Can’t make it this time?

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Where to buy art supplies?

Click here for a list of local art supply stores

Materials List

Classic Portrait Workshop, Materials List – Esteban Rodriguez


  • 1 (one) 16 x 12 in. canvas or panel. The most economical and simple surface to paint on is a stretched canvas primed with acrylic gesso. Panels are better options as they are more portable and smoother, which is preferable for both detail and brushwork. Good quality prepared panels such as Ampersand (gesso ground), RayMar (Oil ground), and Winsor & Newton (gesso or oil) and Fredrix, are available at nearby art stores; Aboveground Art Supplies and Articulations. Also, panels from New Traditions™, RealGesso™, or Art-Boards™ all are excellent choices but would have to be ordered online. If you wish to tone your canvas beforehand please do so early enough so that it is completely dry prior to the workshop. A mid-tone warm or neutral grey is ideal (Value #5 Munsell) mixed with black, white, and raw umber.

Note: You can use a premixed #5 acrylic paint instead to tone an acrylic gesso but ensure that it is not applied too thickly; i.e, it should be transparent, like watercolour. Golden and Liquitex acrylics both tube #5 Neutral Grey paints. If working with an oil primed panel, then use only oil paint, but mix in a small amount of Liquin so that it dries well.)

COLOURS for flesh palette (oil paint only):

  • Titanium White
  • Lead White, if available (Lead whites are sometimes Cremnitz white. Look for PW 1 on the label)
  • Cadmium Yellow Light
  • Yellow Ochre Light
  • Cadmium Red Light (true Cadmium only, no hues, please) — Pigment: PR 108
  • Alizarin Crimson
  • Transparent Red Oxide or Burnt Sienna
  • Raw Umber
  • Viridian Green
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • Black (Ivory or Lamp or Mars)


  • Have around 6 to 10 synthetic mongoose brushes ranging in sizes from 1-10 (filberts only)
  • More detailed finished work will require soft (synthetic or natural) round brushes; 3 or 4 small rounds (sizes #1 to #0) should do it
  • Also have 3 or 4 hog’s bristle brushes on hand, in sizes from 3⁄4″ to 1⁄4″ (filbert or square)

Note: This is the minimum!


  • A faster drying medium such as LiquinTM, available nearly everywhere, is ideal for this workshop
  • Odourless mineral spirits (OMS); No turpentine or citreous please

Note: These will be provided for you if you cannot find the product or if you are travelling by air.


  • 2 small cups with lids for holding medium or mineral spirits, available at art stores everywhere
  • Palette knife — a narrow, long and flexible blade is best
  • Palette — paper palettes (preferably a gray-toned palette) are quick and convenient, but a prepared (i.e., sealed) wooden palette is ideal
  • For clean-up — a roll of paper towels, or shop towels, or a box of tissue, or clean rag(s)
  • Masking tape
  • 2 bulldog clips
  • Mahlstick (a 1/2″ diameter dowel, approx. 30″ long is fine)
  • Foam-core, cut to the height of your canvas and double its width (if your canvas is 16″ x 12″, the foam-core should be 16″ x 24″)

Note: Foam-core and other materials can be purchased locally. If you have any questions, please contact Juan directly at juan@juanmartinez.com.