Portrait Painting in Monochrome | Workshop

Learn how to paint a portrait in monochrome in this intensive one-day workshop.

Date & Time

Sunday 12th January 2020 | 10.00-17.00


LARA London
371 Clapham Road
London SW9 9BT
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In this one-day workshop, students will complete a monochrome portrait study from life in the colour of their choice. Students will mix up a palette of values using one dominant colour (and possibly one background colour). This approach to colour is not naturalistic, but rather the emphasis is on values, as well as the drawing. Painting in monochrome is both a useful method to paint portraits in less time than would be required for a full-colour portrait, and it also opens up a world of different aesthetics to play with.

This course requires a minimum number of enrolments to run.

Aims of this Course

This course will focus on:

  • Painting in a monochrome palette
  • Understanding of values

The Facilities

Each class is limited to 8 students working from two models in sight-size. The Workshop Room is located within the main LARA studio.

Each model is lit with individual professional photographic lighting which provides a steady, unchanging environment from which to observe all elements of portrait painting.

The Materials

Please bring the following materials with you. Items marked with an asterisk are stocked in the LARA shop. Please call ahead if you would like to reserve items to ensure availability.

Oil Paint

Lucas recommends finding examples of monochrome paintings you like to get an idea of what colour you’d like to use.

A note on colours: With some colours, a full range of values will be available with just the addition of white while others will require small amounts of other colours to balance each step.

  • Titanium White* – PW6
  • Yellow Ochre* – PY 43
  • Alizarin Crimson* – PR 83
  • Ultramarine Blue* PB 29
  • Prussian Blue*
  • Raw Umber* – PBr 7
  • Ivory Black* – PBk 9

These are recommended, but please feel free to bring any other colours you might need.

For Painting

  • Balanced wooden arm palette* (if you are right handed, please buy a left handed palette, and vice versa)
  • A variety of brushes.* Overall, a good selection of brushes should be used. The more brushes, the easier it is to keep colour mixes clean. A variety of sizes is essential for handling both large areas of the painting as well as small details. However, a set of at least 10 ‘filberts’ and ‘flats’ should be enough to get started. Remember also that we will not have time to work on very large paintings, so the brushes should reflect this.
  • A primed support for painting on: This can be a board or a canvas. Lucas usually uses boards for the quicker studies, but there’s no reason it can’t be a stretched canvas. The board must be primed but a coloured ground is optional. When choosing the colour of the ground it is a good idea to consider the colour you wish to use for the portrait. A plain white background is perfectly fine and can work well but other colours are welcome. It could be a good idea to bring a few possibilities to decide which one to use on the day. Primed (white) boards and canvases are available in our shop.*
  • Flexible steel palette knife*
  • Refined Linseed Oil*
  • Winsor and Newton Sansodor*, Sennelier Odour Free Mineral Spirits* or Jackson’s low odour solvent (odourless turpentine substitute for painting). You cannot use turpentine within the LARA studio
  • Metal dipper* for medium
  • A good supply of kitchen roll* for cleaning brushes
  • Something to carry your wet paintings home with, for example, a canvas carrier*. If you are unable to find one, another canvas of the same size can be strapped to the front to keep the painting safe while being transported.


‘Lucas knew his stuff and put it across very well. He had a good ‘bedside manner’ to steal a doctors term’ – Stuart Fairlamb, Workshop Student

Learn from the best tutors

Lucas Garcia

"Having seen a lot of art, good and bad, I have realised the importance of fluency of technique in visual expression. It is because of this that I value this kind of training."

Portrait Painting in Monochrome | Workshop


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