Portrait sculpture is an immensely absorbing and enjoyable discovery with every new sitter. This 2-day course aims to build upon your previous experience (Intermediate/Advanced) to further how to observe and translate your observation through drawing and modelling into a clay portrait sculpture from a life model. Refresh, renew or find alternative ways of looking through group and individual discussion with your tutor, Arabella Brooke. Whether setting out a head from a structural point of view with a clear path of constructive method and/or searching for a more expressive manner of approach you will benefit from exploring with a professional sculptor to help build upon your own sculptural expression.
Focus is on understanding measurement, anatomy, architecture, form, high-points and contours, texture and clay application as well as character and expression of the model in the sculpture.
This course is suitable for students at our Advanced level.
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.
Other course levels include:
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.
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.
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.
All attendees must be aged 18 or over.
What should I bring?
Note: you will need to bring your own bust-peg/armature if you wish to take away your work and are not leaving it to be hollowed out and fired.
You should bring as much from the below list as possible. In some cases we can provide selected equipment:
■ Wooden and/or metal modelling tools
■ Plumb line
■ Callipers for measuring (medium-sized)
■ Metal ruler and/or tape measure
■ Water spray bottle
■ Cocktail sticks
■ Barbecue sticks
■ Masking tape
■ Black bin liner
■ Drawing implement (pencil, pen, or charcoal)
■ Sketchpad / loose leaf paper
■ Apron or old clothing
■ Camera for documenting your progress
You will be offered the opportunity to have your clay pieces fired. Hollowing is necessary before a piece can be fired. This is optional and additional hollowing and firing costs will apply:
Hollowing fees: £15 for a small figure; £20 for a portrait head; £20 for a large figure
Firing Fees: £15 for a small figure; £20 for a portrait head; £20 for a large figure
About Your Tutor
Arabella Brooke lives and works in London. Her work is shown at galleries and art fairs throughout the year, and held in private collections around the world. ‘My work is figurative and based on observation, mostly recorded in sketchbooks, which I carry around with me at all times, but also on scraps of paper, receipts, the backs of envelopes. This recording, often only a scribbled line, or suggestion of a form, is the starting point for a long process of development in the studio, where their components get rearranged and refigured, until they take on a new and distinct identity of their own’.
Access to a common room and kitchen is limited while distancing measures are in place. It can be used by up to 12 people (from the same class) at scheduled break times only. The kitchen can be used by 1 person at a time for hand washing and waste disposal facilities only.
Students are currently not able to use the kitchen to prepare hot drinks and/or food. Students are able to use the coffee machine, where free hot water, and paid-for hot drinks are available. The payment is contactless.
Mugs are not available for use, and students are strongly encouraged to bring their own reusable mugs if they wish to use the coffee machine.
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.
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 purchased on our Materials Page or on the individual course page when you make your booking.
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 MUST be taken home at the end of the course or it will be disposed of. Paintings that need to dry should be collected within a week. For clay sculptures that need hollowing and firing, you will receive a separate email when they can be collected.
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 images of our classes in progress. We will typically inform you beforehand if photography is taking place during your class; if you do not want to 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.