47 Dominick Street, Galway City   +353 (0) 91 565 886

Serving the Artist Community in Galway since 1982...


Portraiture Painting with Oils with Caitlyn Rooke

Portraiture Workshop with Model

Learn the basics of painting portraiture in oils in this one day workshop. This is an opportunity for beginners or artists who want to freshen up their foundations. This workshop includes demonstrations at each stage of the portrait and with only ten places available, expect individualized feedback and paintovers throughout the day. A handout with terms and concepts will be provided.


12-5pm with a coffee/tea break from 2:30-3pm. After the workshop, we’ll head out for a pint or more tea at one of the many nearby pubs for more art chats.

Detailed Outline:

Think abstractly to achieve realism and strong design.


Find the obvious abstract shapes of the head, and begin there. When placing these shapes on your surface, consider the overall composition. You may have to wipe it off and start over a few times, that’s okay. Once this shape is accurate, continue to observe and paint the bone structure, avoiding painting the features themselves (these will emerge later). With this palette, burnt umber is a good color for the underpainting. You can also add blue, to shift temperature in the underpainting as well. The main issue at this stage is to use transparent color and medium only (no white!).

Palette Mixing

I'll demonstrate color mixing and discuss turning form with the three components of colour: saturation, value, and hue.

Establish Values

Find the the shadows first, and once those are established, the light values. Just because an area of stark contrast may exist in real life doesn’t mean it must be painted that way… Think of what you see as a map to your artistic vision. Good maps are simplified and focused on what is important.


Consider the features and expression in the same abstract mindset as the larger masses. As long as the bone structure and large plains are considered, the smaller features will come easier. Start with transparent shadows, then add mid-tones, then add highlights and deepest darks last (for example aim to paint the shadow in the pupil and highlight across the eye in the last half hour).

Review and Finish up

Final adjustments and clean up, including quick rundown on brush care. If students have time to stick around and are interested, we can also have a critique at the end of the day with everyone’s work.


Each student needs to bring with them:
l  Primed painting surface: about 12in by 16in (30cm x 40cm)

l  Palette (the bigger the better)

l  Palette knife

Paper towels

Gloves (latex or nitrile)

Brushes - Variety of shapes, sizes, and softnesses

Sketchbook and preferred drawing material (for taking notes and sketching out composition thumbnails).

Suggested oil colours (don’t worry, feel free to bring what you’ve got):

    Titanium White
    Cadmium Yellow Pale (Windsor & Newton)
    Transparent Earth Orange (Gamblin)
    Permanent Madder Brown
    Alizarin Crimson
    Cobalt Blue
    Pthalo Blue
    Prussian Green (Windsor & Newton)
    Mars Yellow
    Caput Mortuum Violet (Old Holland)
    Burnt Umber

Do NOT bring turpentine/white spirits/mineral spirits. I will provide Gamsol and Gamblin Solvent-Free Alkyd Fluid painting medium. This is to minimise fumes and prevent headaches.

Caitlyn has exhibited her portraits in the 2018 and 2019 Royal Society of Portrait Painters Annuals in London, as well as in recent RHA annuals in Dublin. Check out Caitlyn’s work on her website, caitlynrooke.com and on Instagram:@caitlynrookepainter


Course Times & Information

Start Date Sun 05th Apr 2020 - 12:00 pm
End Date Sun 05th Apr 2020 - 5:00 pm
Capacity 10
Cut off date 10-03-2020
Price per person €55.00
Location Galway Arts Centre
We are no longer accepting registration for this event

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 Phone: + 353 (0) 91 565 886
 Fax: + 353 (0)91 568 642
 47 Dominick Street, Galway City