Part of a historic monument alongside Portsmouth harbour has reopened as an arts centre after a £1.75m revamp.
Empty arches at the Hot Walls, used in the past as an artillery barracks, have been converted into 13 working studios for artists, designers and creative companies.
The Hotwalls Studios aims to boost tourism and the city's arts sector.

Portrait Painting Workshop in Oils

I will once again be holding workshops in my studio of up to three people. For the Round Tower a maximum of 5 people.


AUG 13/14, 27/28
SEPT 17/18, 24/25
OCT 01/02, 29/30

10am - 3.30pm with flexible breaks (refreshments supplied) and lunch (excluded) there is a very good cafe a few steps away from my studio.


£180 for two days plus £20 if you need materials. BACs or debit card. Each day is a session over 5 hours of teaching with 30 minute break for lunch. You can pay on the day or in advance with no cancellation fees.


The workshop will include the technical side of oil painting that will involve colour mixing, exploring form and colour theory. It is a figurative workshop introducing and exploring natural and expressive colours with the aim is to achieve a finished or near finished painting, exploring how oil paints works, guiding you to develop a personal style and explore new approaches.

This is not an atelier workshop but I will be referencing historical methods. We will be concentrating on painting but some drawing will be necessary using a grid system to aid proportions.

The workshop will aim at creating a likeness and capture a sense of the sitter in the painting - this is why you should have a personal interaction with your chosen subject.

Day one is an introduction and general overview to portrait painting. We will start by creating a monochrome or grisaille under painting to explore form through shade and tonal values.

In day two we will add colour. Exploring how colour theory can help you develop your painting by looking at primary and tertiary colours.

We shall be working from photographs - a subject of your own choosing. It is imperative that you take the photo, preferably someone you know or someone you find interesting. No flash! Click here for tips on photography…


Oils paints with a palette I recommend titanium white, cadmium red, cadmium yellow, ultramarine blue, cobalt blue, prussian blue, burnt umber, raw umber, alizarin crimson and viridian.

palette knife
a selection of brushes,
painting medium, ready made or turpentine and linseed oil, turpentine substitute or white spirit and container to clean brushes, rags.

Though there is adequate ventilation in my studio some people may not be used to the small of turpentine so anybody wishing to use odourless medium such as liquid or zest it, that’s fine.

HB pencil
40x40canvas (can be supplied at a cost of £20) or board.
A printout or screen copy (i.e on a tablet) of your subject

If you have an easel feel free to bring it if it’s not too big, otherwise one can be supplied.

Make sure you have the means to carry a wet canvas home with you.

Please email or message through facebook or twitter for to book or ask any questions.


No hard and fast rules here, generally it’s all about capturing the character. It might be a friend, family member or somebody you see in the street, if you’re brave enough - always ask their permission before you start snapping.

Use a camera if you have one, if not a mobile phone or tablet will still do the job. If the picture is from a mobile print it out, if from a tablet you can work from a screen.

Technically, it’s all about the light. If you are in broad daylight study the shadows on the face. If it’s cloudy the light will be diffused and uniform so move the subject into an area where the light is more dynamic. Glaring sunshine can be just as tricky, try taking the photo with reflective light of a bright background out of direct sunlight.

If indoors try and photograph your subjects head straight on or at a three quarter pose. Light them from the sides to accentuate the features. Stand or sit the subject adjacent to a window with one side of the head lit by daylight and the other lit by an internal light. If possible use a warm light close to the sitters head for a more interesting effect. See example below.

Essentially, study the light on the face until you get your desired effect.


The Hotwalls Studios is at the western end of the city’s four mile stretch of seafront in Old Portsmouth.

Public Transport
The Hotwalls Studios is easily reached by public transport: The Hard Interchange is a short walk away and offers bus, rail and coach links and a connection to the city’s Park & Ride.

There are a number of public car parks within walking distance of the Hotwalls Studios and a small number of metred spaces immediately outside on Broad Street.

Portsmouth is great for cycling – flat, compact and with great scenic rides along the coast. There is plenty of cycle parking available on site at the Hotwalls Studios.