Alla Prima Workshop

2 Day Workshop – Price £120

30-31st May 2015
Saturday and Sunday, 9.30-17.00

Alla Prima

This  workshop is to be run in conjunction with the “Alla Prima” portrait article featured in the June edition of Artists & Illustrators magazine. 

June 2014 Artist and Illustrators Large

This is one of the looser portrait painting classes. The course is designed to push the boundaries of colour a  portrait, learning how to see the colours of the face how to describe them.

Throughout the two days louis will be breaking down the mysteries of colour and  where to apply it.

The two days of instruction will be dealing with a full colour palette.  Learning the wet-into-wet technique as well as mixing colour and tone. The principles taught in this workshop can be applied to any subject matter including figurative, still life or outdoor landscape painting.

Teaching Style

Beginners and experienced people are welcome. Understanding is key and nobody gets left behind. Each student will be helped until they grasp the principles of the lesson.
Louis believes in leading from the front, demonstrating each step in front of the group and on students’ work if needed.

Louis Smith studied Classical Art in Florence and has exhibited his work in the BP Portrait Award and Royal Society of Portrait Painters.

Click for more demonstrations>>>

 Workshop Outline

  1. Wash drawing going straight into shaping the masses with some tips on how to measure and the proportions of the face.
  2. how to mix darks without using black.
  3. Colour Mixing – Pre-mixing some general tones to be used in the portrait.
  4. Colours of the face –  how to see and emphasize the colour in the face.
  5. Colour Theory – The difference between warm and cool colour, how colours react to each other. Complementary colours how and why they work together. The influence of surrounding colour.
  6. Blocking in – Blocking in the general field colours of face, hair, clothes and background.
  7. Refining the shapes of mass colour and tone
  8. Working wet-on-wet – How to blend one colour into another and broken colour techniques.

Note, for this workshop a colour reference as its more difficult to see the colours of the face from a distance when working from life.



The studio is equipped with easels and work stations to make it more convenient for the students to organise their materials and focus on their work.  The studio is also lit with balanced lighting which can save a lot of problems when dealing with a colour palette.

Alla Prima Workshop
Image shows the workstation, the Alla Prima painting is for display purpose.

Materials Deal = £20

Each workstation includes;

  • Palette
Palette knife
Medium holder
  • Medium
  • Prepared Canvas
Kitchen roll
  • Paints (cadmium yellow, cadmium orange, cadmium red, alizarin crimson, violet, phthalo blue, phthalo green, burnt umber and white)

(Offer does not include brushes – Information on dedicated suppliers shall be provided)

Workshop = £120


2 day Alla Prima Workshop = £120. To register for the workshop, fill in your details and pay a 20% deposit below. Then pay the balance on the day. An email will be sent to confirm your attenadance the week before the start date.


Saturday and Sunday, 9.30-1700.


Prices for Hotels in Manchester centre vary depending on the football. I would recommend staying in Altrincham its about 20 mins from Cornbrook Tram Station which is around the corner from the studio. If your on foot the Premier Inn is a short walk from Altrincham Station if your driving there are other hotels that are cheaper. Altrincham is a nice part of Manchester and if you fancy somewhere nice posh for a couple of drinks then Hale is just around the corner.

Below is a link for hotels in Altrinham just enter the dates at the top of the page for prices.

Click here for hotels on TripAdvisor website>>>

Venue Address

Louis Smith Art
Phoenix House
Ellesmere Street
M15 4JY


Set navigation for Cawdor Street.  Ellesmere Street is blocked in the middle for the next year. If you are traveling by car enter Ellesmere Street by turning left after the Church on the roundabout over the Mancunian Way.

Free Car Park at the rear of the building on Cawdor Street.

Public Transport, trams, buses timetables and parking, click here>>


Louis Smith

Tel: 07980989666


19 thoughts on “Alla Prima Workshop”

  1. Alla prima weekend
    Loved this course, unlike the others on the course I am a complete beginner and knew very little of colour mixing or technique but still managed to learn an incredible amount in the two days I attended. Louis is a very inspiring and talented teacher and I would highly recommend his courses to anyone of any level

  2. Last weekend I did the Alla Prima Workshop. This was my first workshop with Louis and there were 9 people in the group, all with varying levels of experience. The workshop was excellent – inspiring, confidence-building and challenging. It was well organised, with a friendly atmosphere, and Louis took the time to give personal guidance and demonstrated clearly. I learnt so much and feel ready to apply this in my own work. I’d highly recommend the workshop!

  3. I am so glad I did the Alla Prima workshop! It was amazing. It was intensive as there is so much to learn yet with a relaxed atmosphere. Louis is a fantastic tutor, patient and really helpful. I am new to oil painting and I took away with me so much useful information about technique and colour mixing etc. I came away inspired and excited to try out the techniques I learned. I highly recommend this workshop. Thanks Louis!

  4. If you’re looking to learn the foundation techniques of Alla Prima, and also a few handy tips for painting in general; then I highly recommend attending Louis’ weekend workshop. The class is well structured, the instructor teaches from the front, and then spends time with each student to ensure everything is understood and kept up to pace. Each stage is explicitly described and there’s no confusion about the technique.

    Though the learning is intense, there’s a relaxed and friendly environment, with plenty of tea and coffee to keep you going.

    I left feeling both inspired and much more capable, and I’m sure anyone wanting to attend will do the same!


  5. I attended the alla prima class last weekend, and oh my!! Absolutely excellent. Louis is a great teacher, whom is very patient yet also quite demanding with the pace of learning, so a positive challenge with a good amount of support, I suppose is what I’m trying to say. Yes, I agree it was intense, but I can not express how much I have learnt in the one weekend. Anyone thinking of doing this course, I garentee, you will not be disappointed. Thank you Lewis, really enjoyed it.

  6. The class was highly structured which was exactly what I was looking for to help me make a good start as a beginner with portraits. I learned so much. The atmosphere was friendly and focused. I’m very glad I attended and will now practice what I’ve learned and come back and do another course.

  7. Just done the Alla Prima weekend course. Really inspiring, and broke me out of my usual over-controlled habits, and conservative use of colour. Learned a lot about using crazy colours that magically just worked and made the portrait come alive. Easy, relaxed atmosphere. Highly recommended

  8. I had a totally fabulous weekend on Louis’ Alla Prima workshop, its really unbelievable how much ground you cover and the results you produce. The man is really gifted (lucky chap) and not only can he produce genius level paintings, he can communicate ‘how to’ as well which is another skill entirely. Good Luck with the BP National Portrait entry this year Louis, Cheers Nick.
    (without spelling mistakes this time!)

  9. I had a totally fabulous weekend on Louis’ Alla Prima workshop, its really unbelievable how much ground you cover and the results you produce. The man is really gifted (lucky chap) and not only can he produce genuis level painting he can communicate ‘ho to’ as well whcih is another skill entirely. Good Luck with the BP National Portrait entry this year Louis, Cheers Nick.

  10. I am very glad that I attended this course! Very informative and intensive, whilst being relaxed and enjoyable. I learnt so much!

  11. Yes,found both courses excellent, well quite overwhelmingly amazing really . Thank you for the experience.

  12. I found the alla prima course to be excellent, intense and very challenging. Louis is a first rate teacher and a fine artist whose skills are unfortunately becoming very scarce. The 8 hours each day were packed with information and the pace was fast and quite full on but there was still time for tea, chats and (on my part) too many biscuits!

  13. This is a great course. I always stretch myself on Louis courses, and am amazed with the results. The weekend crammed in so much information, and techniques I can’t wait to put it into practice. Highly recommended for those serious about learning to paint.

  14. I took the alla prima course as a follow up to the six week portrait course. The course is excellent. It packs a lot of content into the two days but Louis is both a very talented artist and an excellent teacher who shares his knowledge freely. The course is a lot of fun and I learnt a lot. Highly recommended.

  15. I attended the 6 week painting course in the summer, and also the alla prima. I thoroughly enjoyed both courses. Louis is a great tutor and very patient and will definitely be attending further classes.
    …oh and you get tea and biscuits….. BRILLIANT!!!

  16. The two day Alla Prima course was excellent , we covered everything from colour palette , mixing colours and how to build a portrait . The course has inspired me and given me the tools to use in my own paintings. I really highly recommend this course and I look forward to doing more courses with Louis.

  17. I did this class after doing the six week portrait course and this was just as amazing. It’s incredible just how much you can learn in two days time about colour and tone. The course comes with handouts about which colours to use and Louis is great with his explanations if you don’t get it the first time round. It’s amazing how quickly you can paint and pick things up when you have such a good teacher.

    A great course in a relaxed environment with friendly people, brews and biscuits, the only disappointment was when it ended!

    Really recommend this.

  18. I took part in the portrait painting weekend course hoping to learn a little about oil paint and further my knowledge in painting. I was really happy to learn lots about colour theory, tone, painting in skin tones I never thought possible! I recommend highly as the class was fun and informal, and touched upon lots of aspects of how to create a portrait from the ground up.
    I hope to get involved in further classes.

  19. I found the weekend alla prima course brilliant. Over the two day course I’ve been given a wealth of knowledge on the variety of methods around alla prima. Alike the 6 week course, this too hasn’t failed to satisfy. Highly recommended to all.

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