September | Portrait Painting, Secrets of Russian School | Elena Leontieva & Natalia Eremin


September | Portrait Painting, Secrets of Russian School | Elena Leontieva & Natalia Eremin


Saturday 16th & Sunday 17th September

10:30am - 4:30pm


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Course goals:

This two-day workshop will be focused on the elements of form and how to achieve the illusion of three-dimensions.  By better understanding the importance of form the students will gain new insight into value, color and likeness.


During workshop students will:

-See step by step method of working on portrait from life based on Russian realism tradition; 

-See and learn main face and head proportions as well as basic facial anatomy;

-Find out how to capture likeness, individual character and what to focus on when you are working on a portrait; 

-Learn methods and techniques which will make work on the portrait easier.

-Do small compositional study; 

- Create oil portrait (head and shoulders)


DAY 1 (10:30 am - 4:30 pm)

Work with a small compositional study:

  • Search for the best composition on a small scale canvas (10x15cm); common mistakes and how to avoid them  
  • Coloristic and tone solution of the sketch
    (demonstration ->checking for students progress)

Theoretical part

  • Theory of basic facial anatomy and facial proportions
    (demonstrational drawings and explanations)

Working on portrait

  • Scaling composition from small sketch into bigger canvas
  • Charcoal/pencil drawing on canvas focusing on form and structure
    (demonstration ->checking for students progress)
  • a thin neutralized underpainting
  • intro to color space by putting on a slightly thicker layer where the form will be built up
    (demonstration ->checking for students progress)

DAY 2 (10:30am-4:30pm)

Continuation of work on a portrait

  • Building up form. Definition of lighter lights, darker darks. 
  • Gradual increase of paint layer
    (demonstration ->checking for students progress)

Final part

  • Adding and drawing detailseyes/nose/lips
    (demonstration ->checking for students progress)

Discussion of the works done

About the artists....


Natalia Eremina was born in 1989 in Moscow , Russia.
Graduated from Russian Academy of Painting Sculpture and
Architecture in Moscow where she was trained in the Russian
tradition of realist art, and the technique of the Old Masters.
Her Diploma project was a full-length portrait of the Premier of
the Bolshoi Theatre, Nikolay Tsiskaridze. This received a very
good review and now is in the collection of RAofPSA museum.

She is a figurative painter doing portraits, landscape and still
life. She works from life, and goes to Plein Aire both in Russia
and Europe each summer. In 2016 Natalia won Tuscany Plein
Air scholarship.
She is a regular participant in Russian and international
exhibitions. Her work won first and second prizes at ArtWeek in
Moscow 2014 and 2016 . She was a semi finalist at the BP
portrait competition 2016.


Elena Leonteva was born in 1986 in Vladimir region, Russia.
She also graduated from the Russian Academy of Painting
Sculpture and Architecture in Moscow with a specialty in
portraits. Her Diploma work is a full-length portrait of Vladimir
Fedoseyev the conductor of the Tchaikovsky Symphony
Orchestra. The portrait is in the collection of RAofPSA museum.
She has a portrait on permanent display in the Museum of the
Great Patriotic War in Moscow.

Elena is a talented, sensitive, and dynamic painter. In her
paintings you can see the depth of color, and great sense of
“My goal is to show beauty in everyday life, because sometimes
simple things can give you inspiration”.

She was also a semi finalist in the BP 2016 portrait competiton.

Both Natalia and Elena are constant participants at Russian
and international exhibitions. Their works hang in private
collections around Russia, England and Europe.


(Easels provided )

  • Painting surface for oil (canvas/board) :

- 40x50 cm or similar (preferably with light tone ofgrey or raw umber)

-10x15 cm for compositional search (preferably with light grey or raw umber tone)

  • Oil paints (bring the paints you’ve got but we recommend you to have these basic colors):

- Titanium WhiteCadmium Yellow/ Lemon
- Cadmium red or equivalent
- Magenta/ Madder lake rose
- Yellow ochre/Light ochre
- Burnt Sienna
- Raw Umber
- Ultramarine/Cobalt Blue
- Emerald Green
- Ivory Black

  • Pallet (preferably big)
  • Brushes 
  • Pallet knife 
  • Medium 
  • Pencil / charcoal 
  • Rag