Glazing Workshop

3 Day Workshop – Price £160

1st-8th-15th August 2015
Saturdays, 9.30-17.00

Glazing steps portrait

This is the second of two workshops to be run in conjunction with the “Complete Portrait” article featured in the Summer edition of Artists & Illustrators magazine. 

Summer 2014 Artist and Illustrators Large

This is the second of a two portrait workshops. The first workshop covers Underpainting and the second Glazing Techniques. After the underpainting is completed coloured glazes are used to finish the painting. Glazing is a technique used over the centuries by artists to illuminate paintings, it has a richness, depth and luminosity that cannot be achieved by direct painting because the light being bounces off the canvas through the layers of paint has a similar effect to looking through a stained glass window. It has a transparent feel which compliments the complexity of human skin tones, replicating the thin membrane human skin covering the flesh. The colours of which can be seen through the transparency of skin. Various approaches have been developed over the years to duplicate this effect.

One method is to create a light tonal painting and then darken the value with the glazes after. It’s a similar approach to the Alla Pima technique except with this the placement and value scheme has already been worked out. Once the underpainting is finished I can concentrate on applying the colour, reassured by the fact that all the proportions and tones are correct so you can move forward without needing to fix any mistakes.

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.

 Workshop Outline

Due to the limited amount of time students will be provided with a printed Grisaille underpainting on canvas to glaze over. Over the weekend we will be learning how to glaze, below is a short introduction to each step.

Step 1: Background. Always start with the biggest area of colour. While brushing on the paint try to avoid the light catching the paint strokes as it spoils the illusion of the background receding.


Step 2: Darkest darks and shadows. Always begin with the Darkest Dark to establish the value range. In this instance its the hair and jumper. To make the black appear deeper, add whiting powder – this helps to thicken the paint to make it more opaque. NOTE, black has a bluish hue by adding Alizarin Crimson gives the colour more depth.  Bring the Shadows to a finish. Shadows tend to be on the cool side so for this painting we will be using predominantly Phthalo Green with a compliment of Alizarin Crimson to make the shadow deeper. NOTE for reflected highlights use a lighter colour like orange or yellow for the reflected lights, use white as a last resort, it will kill the illusion of depth.

portrait-workshops manchester

Step 4: lights, Chest and Neck Area.  We use cooler colours for the chest area, observing the principle that as the further from the light source the cooler the temperature becomes.


Step 5: Face – Temperature, Transitions and Variation.  A realistic portrait is about creating the illusion of an object in space on a flat surface.  Temperature we need to observe the principle that the further from the light the cooler so the middle of the face in light will be warmer than the sides we will replicate this by using a warm Camium red down the centre of the face and the cooler Alizarin Crimson around the sides of the face. Transitions, one of the biggest challenges is to get the transition from the shadows into the lights right, the artist has to observe the tonal range, temperature and hue which takes some practice to get right. Variations, nature is full of variety, most beginners fail to pick  up on the range of soft and sharp edges, notice the different edges around the hairline they tend to be sharper in direct light and softer as the head turns away. Its these observations that create a convincing portrait.


Learning Outcomes

• Use of dry brush as a sketching implement
• Proportions of the face
• How to prime a canvas
• Wash brushes and maintenance
• Using the brush as a measuring device
• Comparative measurements, transferring the measurements of the face to canvas.
•How to analyze shapes, negative and positive, use of tools to help the eye see more objectively.
•Use a value strip.
•Comparing tonal value
•Mixing paints and use of mediums.
•Appropriate use of glaze and impasto to describe the light and shadow of the face.
•Brush sizes and different types to be used at the various stages of the painting.



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.

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

Materials Deal = £20

Organisation is a challenge faced by most beginners.  The studio is equipped with work stations to ensure everything is at hand.  The students will be using the same paints and canvas that the teacher uses for demonstration purposes, eliminating a number of problems that students have when they bring their own paint and canvas.

Each workstation includes:

  • Easel
  • Palette
  • Palette knife
  • Medium holder
  • Medium
  • Thinners
  • 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 = £160


3 day Glazing Workshop = £160. 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 attendance the week before the start date.


Saturdays, 9.30-1700.


Budget. If  you’re willing to share a room.  The YHA Hostel offers beds start at £9.50 and its 5 mins walk from the studio.

 Reasonable.  If you have a car the Rhinewood Hotel is  30 mins  from the studio and is around £50 per night on the weekend.

Upward. 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