Alyssa Monks

This workshop is designed to guide the students toward creating a painting from a photo reference, using both indirect and direct traditional painting techniques. It aims to instruct painters on how to use the photograph to create a painting that surpasses the look of the photograph, not simply imitates a photograph. The workshop will explain how to create a useful photo reference, covering topics such as ideal lighting, camera settings, lenses, Photoshop, and printing.

The process will begin with preparations such as choosing a composition through quick sketches from a variety of reference photos, progressive oil sketches with limited use of the photograph, and then laying in the composition with an imprimatura wash. When that is dry, the students will learn to create color relationships that portray the space and volume, creating the illusion. Emphasis is then placed on paint application and ways of activating the surface.

By focusing on deliberate brush stroke and maintaining accurate color relationships rather than rendering, the application of paint to describes the form. We will accentuate the structural volumes of the form over the contour, concentrating on relating all parts of the picture to each other with an organized palette. From there, students will be guided towards deciding what information is useful to look for and what usual pitfalls to avoid when interpreting a photograph. Deciding when and how to invent and experiment is perhaps the most crucial part of the process.

Students will be encouraged to look more at the painting itself than the photographic source, using it only for initial reference.We will explore ways of seeing the picture objectively, how to imply detail without overstating, and what level of finish works besfor the particular painting or style. The painting will develop through indirect layers of opaque and transparent painting to achieve the delicate nuances of flesh and other surfaces. Methods of Glazing and Scumbling will be discussed. The final result can be a painting that captures the essence of your subject (and your connection with that subject) and contains the intimacy of the human touch that transcends a smooth photo-realistic image. There are a variety of results varying from abstraction/improvisation to a more illusionistic representation. All will be discussed and the challenges and rewards of each will be explored.

1. Participating artists must have some, even if limited experience of using oil paint. You must know the basics of working with and cleaning up your materials. This is not an introduction to painting course.
2. Participating artists must work in oil paint exclusively- No substitutes like acrylic, alkyd, Fast-matte, water colors, colored pencils, etc. 3. You may take as many photographs as you wish, but video or audio recording of the course is strictly prohibited.
4. Upon registering and confirmation of payment, instructor requests that you must submit 5(five) jpegs of your work to [email protected] (LastName_TitleOfWork_medium_size) These images are not to exclude you from the course but allows the instructor to prepare for the level of skill and experience and consequently the level of help and critique you will need.
5. A materials list, course description, syllabus and notes will be emailed to to you upon confirmation of registration. 6. A 30 page color handout will be given to each student on the day of the workshop.



INSTRUCTION: Demos and on the easel critiques.
CLASS HOURS: 10am to 6pm with lunch at 1pm. Classes are 7 hours a day, four days a week,

APPLICATION: To apply for this course: By filling out the following application, you agree to our studio rules. Students are admitted into the program automatically upon complete payment until the maximum number is reached. Payment by Paypal, using credit card is our regular method of payment.  If you prefer to make payment via bank transfer, please email [email protected] for instructions on how to proceed.  Tuition is  non-refundable.  Should the Flemish Classical Atelier cancel the course for any reason,  all fees are refunded. You may make your own living arrangements. There are also all classes of hotels and hostels.  An official accommodation list is provided by the City of Brugge. Past students have found great accommodation by going through If you have any questions, please send us an email or use the contact form at the top of the page