Portrait Painting II: How to use Photo References with Allison Hill-Edgar
$225 Members, $250 Non-Members. The class is open to students of all levels.
To register or request information, contact Kevin Gray at (607) 547-1510
Purpose of the course:
What does it mean to capture someone’s likeness in a painting versus a photograph? How does
portrait painting differ when it is done from life or from a photograph? This two-day intensive
painting workshop will investigate these different approaches and demonstrate how
photographs both restrict the painting process and can be helpful. In addition, the class will
explore what types of photographs are useful references and what kinds of information can and
cannot be gathered from them.
10-12:00 Introduction to the course. There will be a slide presentation showing various
approaches to portraiture, from traditional to contemporary, and an analysis of
how to successfully use photographs as part of the painting process.
12:00-1:00 Lunch break
1:00-4:00 Students will develop a monochromatic underpainting, focusing on composition,
value, and form.
10-12:30 There will be a discussion of how to work with photographs to give you the color
information you need. Students will begin to apply color to their underpainting.
12:00-1:00 Lunch break
Provided in Class:
• Paint: Paint and oil will be provided in class. We will be using water mixable oil paints
(Winsor & Newton Artisan Water Mixable Oil Series) and mediums (linseed oil). They
behave in a similar fashion to oil paints, but can be cleaned with soap and water, thus
eliminating the need for solvents. If you are interested in buying supplemental paint to use
outside of class, good places to find them on-line are Blick or Jerry’s Artarama.
• Linseed oil
Students should bring:
• A few photographs of portraits they would like to paint. If possible, before class crop your
photo(s) to the same proportions of your canvas (for example, for a 11” x 14” canvas, crop
a photo to 5” x 6.4”; for a 9”x12” canvas, crop your photo to 3” x 4”)
• A sketchbook or notebook and pencil
• Palette (paper pad or glass; recommended size 12” x 16”)
• 1 Canvas (recommended size 11” x 14”)
• Palette knife
• Brushes (I recommend getting oil painting brushes in different shapes and sizes — filbert,
flat, and round. For canvases of this size, you may want to get brushes ranging from size 2
• 2 small jars or palette cups (recommend one with a sealing cap/lid)
• Ziploc bags (large)
• Paper towels
• Brush bucket (jar, or sturdy tall cup)
• A good brush cleaning soap (for example, Master’s brush cleaner, or Jack’s studio soap)
About the Instructor
Allison Hill-Edgar is an artist and MD whose enduring interest is the human figure. She has studied drawing, painting, photography, sculpture and Art History in the US, Japan, Italy, France and Russia. In 1994, she earned a BA in Fine Arts from Harvard College. In 2003, she earned an MD from Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons; she completed her internship at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital and obtained her medical license in 2004. Since that time, she has dedicated herself to a full-time career as an artist. In 2017, she earned an MFA in painting from the New York Academy of Art. Hill-Edgar currently resides and works in New York City and Cooperstown, NY.