Course Code E1902P31
Tutor Adebanji Alade, Giles Lester
Dates Saturdays, 18th January - 28th March 2020
Days 10
Times 10.00am – 4.00pm
Experience Level All Levels
Fee £500

An introduction to different approaches to portraiture and figure painting, taught by experienced, pre-eminent portrait and figure painters. This runs every term with different tutors, and a slightly different emphasis (to include portraiture, figure painting and life painting). Working with a model on a series of poses, you’ll deal with tone and colour, proportion, lighting, composition, negative space, and will consider how to create a narrative depth.

What level is this course?

This course is suitable for all levels. Students can move at their own pace depending on their experience, with as much support from the Tutor as they wish.

  • Beginner

    Choose a Beginners course if you are looking for a broad introduction to the medium you are studying. Students spend time learning the very basics of the taught medium, for example, how to mix colours, use different tools, set up an easel. Our Beginner courses are suitable for students with no prior experience, they tend to follow a more structured path than our other courses, ensuring each student receives the guidance they need from the tutor.

  • Beginner +

    Choose a Beginner + course if you are looking to hone your skills, focus on a specific subject area and build your confidence. These courses are suitable for those with some basic skills in and knowledge of the taught medium, but still follow a structured path with guidance from the tutor.

  • Intermediate

    Our Intermediate courses are suitable for students who have considerable prior knowledge of the taught medium or have completed a Beginners/Beginners + course with the Art Academy.

    These courses tend to be less structured and instead are tailored to the classes’ needs and the direction they want to advance in. Choose an Intermediate course if you are looking to improve your skills and have more critical discussions around the work you produce.

  • Advanced

    Choose our Advanced courses if you have considerable knowledge in the taught medium. You are expected to be able to work independently and have critical discussions around your work.

     Our Advanced courses include our Masterclasses.

All attendees must be aged 18 or over.

What should I bring?

The Academy is a white spirit and turpentine free environment and only odourless spirits, such as Zest-it or Sansodor, are permitted on the premises. Students must provide their own spirits, which can be recycled for longevity.
We request that you bring 2 small jars (one with a lid, one without) to hold your spirit, and a few cloths rags for brush cleaning (such as an old cotton t-shirt).
Below is a list of what is currently required for the course. Please also check the ‘what to bring’ sections above. Your tutor will advise if further materials or equipment are required as the course progresses.
Here is the complete palette list for this class. Your tutor will provide you with several palette options throughout the course.
Grisaille (monochromatic) Palette:
Titanium White Ivory Black Raw Umber
Limited Palette:
Titanium White Yellow Ochre English Red Ivory Black Raw Umber
Extended Palette:
Add Alizarin Crimson & Cobalt Blue (Substitutes to Cobalt blue could include Ultramarine Blue or Winsor Blue Red Shade) Cadmium Red.
Long handled brushes preferable to short-handled brushes. Try and purchase natural hog bristle brushes rather than synthetics.
Please bring the following shapes:
● Flat
● Filbert
Avoid ‘rounds’ and ‘brights’ (short-haired flats).
The more brushes you have at your disposal, the better. A greater variety of sizes and shapes gives you greater versatility as a painter.
Please aim for a minimum of 10 brushes.
Please bring a linseed oil such as cold pressed or refined, or stand oil. You will need solvent to dilute oil and wash brushes.
Painting Surfaces:
Please bring a variety of painting surfaces, large and small, each week. These should be scaled to suit your preference. Oil primed linen, acrylic primed cotton, gesso panels etc. We will go into more detail after the first class.
Suggested​ Painting Equipment:
The following items are recommended but not mandatory.
2 painting knives: one for mixing, one for scraping paintings. The preferred types are as follows:
For mixing on the palette, something like a ‘10’ is useful: ​**
For scraping wet and dry paintings, use one of the following:
**​A T22 palette knife can be purchased from the Art Academy shop separately. This is also included in the below oil painting packs for purchase.
For cleaning brushes, you can purchase an airtight stainless steel brush cleaner, like the following:
Or, you can simply use an old jam jar.
If you bring a wooden palette, a clip-on dipper to contain your medium is a good idea. These are inexpensive and can be picked up from L. Cornelissen & Son and other places. They are shaped like flying saucers to prevent your medium from flying everywhere as you hold your palette, and come with lids. See below:
Or, you can simply use on old jam jar.
If you do not have your own materials, there is an option to order an ​Oil Painting Pack ​at the time of booking, which will be available when you arrive for your first class and can be stored at the Academy for the duration of your course.
Other Suggested Equipment:
Pocket mirror Plumb-line
N.B.​ Oil Painting Packs can be purchased from the Academy. These are an economical alternative to the above list, but please be aware you might need to supplement them with a few items here and there – however, these give you a good base to work from:

You will need to bring your own painting materials to the class, which you can store at The Art Academy for the duration of the course. If you do not have your own materials, we recommend you order the one of the Painting Packs, below, at the time of booking, which will be available when you arrive for your first class. There is also a mini shop in the Academy that supplies the basics such as canvas boards, paints, Zest-it etc. (card purchases only).

The Academy is a white spirit and turpentine free environment and only odourless spirits, such as Zest-it or Sansodor, are permitted on the premises. These can also be recycled on site. If you are using oil paints you must bring 1 small jar with a lid to hold your solvent as this should be reused each week. If you want to dispose of your solvent please speak to your tutor as these cannot be poured down the sink and must be disposed of correctly. 

Please also bring an apron or old clothing to wear.

The Oil Pack contains:

A set of bristle brushes, both flat and round
One tear off palette (9”x12”)
One palette knife
One bottle of Zest-it (250ml)
One 10″x12″ canvas board
One 10″x14″ canvas board
Two 12″x16″ canvas boards
Eight Daler Rowney 38ml Georgian oil tubes of Titanium White, Cadmium Yellow, Lemon Yellow, Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium Red, Ultramarine Blue, Coeruleum Blue and Burnt Umber

Please note that pack contents are subject to change at the discretion of the Academy at any time.

About Your Tutor

Adebanji has sketched and painted almost all his life and he currently works full time as a painter from his studio on Lots Road in Chelsea, London. Whether he works indoors or outdoors, he strives to bring the life, vitality and movement of ‘the sketch’ into his paintings. He regards himself as the ADDICTIVE SKETCHER. He focuses mainly on people and places in his artworks. He is a member of The Royal Institute of Oil Painters, The Chelsea Art Society, Urban Sketchers Correspondent and The Guild of Fine Art Nigeria. His most recent awards and achievements include the Harold Riley Sketchbook Prize, 2014. His Self Portrait Acquired in the Ruth Borchard Next Generation Collection 2015. The Artist in Residence for the One Show, BBC One 2016 till date. Nominated as part of the Judging panel for Pintar Rapido 2017. He has been Commissioned by the BBC to produce portraits of Chris Eubanks, Gail Portrer, Leslie Ash, Sam Fox and Adele Bellis. His works have been exhibited at the Mall Galleries in London with the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, Royal Society of British Artists, The Pastel Society and The Royal Institute of Oil Painters. Adebanji also teaches drawing and painting at Heatherley’s School of Fine Art. He is also does one to one coaching on artistic development.

Giles Lester​ is a practicing artist based in London. He studied painting and drawing in Florence, Italy, and gained a
first class honours degree in Art History at Birkbeck, University of London. Giles’s teaching practice is centred around deconstructing and rationalising the process of observation in painting and drawing from life.​ ​​


Mermaid Court

165A Borough High Street
London SE1 1HR
tel: +44 (0) 207407 6969

Nearest Tube/ Rail: London Bridge or Borough (both a 5 minute walk).

Please note that London Bridge has two exits, the most direct route is to follow signs to “Borough High Street”.

Art Academy Map

Refreshments and Facilities

All students have access to a common room and kitchen. Here you will find tea and coffee, a fridge, kettle, microwave and eating area.

There is a wealth of supermarkets, shops and cafes in the area as well as the world famous Borough Food Market just moments from our Mermaid Court location.

We are always striving to improve our facilities but due Mermaid Court being an old building we have limited disability access. Should you have any access requirements please speak to a member of the Academy team before booking the course.

Further Details

  • You will need to have paid in full before the first session of your class. Your place is not guaranteed until we have received full payment. Please book early in order to guarantee your place on the course.
  • If you purchased a pack online this will be given to you on the first session of your course upon your arrival. Packs can be booked on our Materials Page or on this page when you book the course.
  • Please don’t wear your best clothes as there is always a chance you will get messy. If possible bring an apron or overalls.
  • All artwork at the Academy MUST be taken home at the end of the course or it will be disposed of.
  • Please ensure that your mobile phone is switched off or is on silent during the class.
  • Health and Safety Guidelines will be provided to you at the beginning of your class.
  • Sometimes our photographer will pop in to get some of our classes in progress. If you would like to not be photographed please let the photographer know!
  • To find out more about what’s going on at the Academy follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. If you’d like to share images of your course, your progress or your finished work we’d love to see them! Please bear in mind you must have the permission of tutors, other students and models to photograph them.
  • If you would like more information or advice on courses at the Academy please contact
  • For further details please see our Short Courses: Regulations & Policies page.

From: £500.00