A Little More Information if you are Thinking of Studying with me at the School of Visual Arts

by John Parks


Firstly, I have made this short video describing the courses and showing some of the student work.






Portrait Painting

Beginners and experienced painters are equally welcome in this course - I keep the classes fairly small so that I can get to spend a great deal of individual time with those who take it. If you are a beginner you can expect that by the end of the course you will be doing paintings which are full colored, three dimensional renderings of the human head. I can't guarantee you'll be painting Rembrandts but you will certainly have made a lot of progress. If you are already an experienced portrait painter you can expect to make considerable strides in the handling of color, flesh and likeness. Whatever your level of expertise you will also learn a great deal about a number of famous portraits and portrait painters. I'm a strong believer that good studio practice involves the close study of the work of the masters.

My approach to teaching portrait painting differs radically from the classical approach. In the old academy schools the teaching proceeded along a logical, but rather dry and tedious path. Months or years were spent on drawing, first in line and then in tones. Allowed to paint at last, students generally built carefully rendered underpaintings in browns. Color was restricted and added right at the end. Although this method works, it tends to make for rather stiff and somewhat dull and claustrophobic paintings. I have discovered that the learning process is much faster if we begin with the color. I believe that it is much more important to get a sense of how to create light and three dimensional form through color than to labor endlessly over the accuracy of the drawing. My experience over twenty years of teaching this way is that students make much faster progress and have a lot more fun doing so. Miraculously I've discovered that the drawing gets better anyway. The finished results are much livelier, more open and generally more adventurous. They seem to allow for considerably more creativity. And after all if making paintings isn't creative, fun and inspiring then what's the point of doing it anyway?

There are two separate courses.  Saturdays 12:00pm - 3:30 pm and Thurdsays 6:30pm - 10:00pm

For enrollment information on these courses use these links: 
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxxThursdays 6:30-10pm
  and Thursdays 6:30 - 10:00pm Saturdays Noon to 3:30pm


Making it Real

This course will explore all you need to know to create fully three-dimensional illuminated paintings of the world around you. It is perfect for beginners and will prove of great value to more advanced painters. It examines how to make an image pop off the canvas or a landscape recede into the blue and hazy distance. It will address how to make a head really solid and dimensional, the eyes really liquid and the jewelry sparkle. Students will uncover the means by which an image can be made to appear more real than real itself. They will discover how color, tone and paint techniques can be combined to produce an image of dazzling reality. We will study various options of underpainting, color and tonal systems, as well as some of the more amazing games that can be played with shadows and reflections. Studio work will be from the figure and still life. Assignments include the use of a variety of sources from landscape to photography.

Tuesdays 6:30 - 10:pm



Materials List

Portrait Painting and Making it Real
Supply List.

Oil Paint
(a medium grade paint like Utrecht or Rembrandt is fine)

Cadmium Red Light
Cadmium Yellow Medium
Cobalt Blue
Prussian Blue
Yellow Ochre
Raw Sienna
Raw Umber
Burnt Umber
Ivory Black
Titanium White.

A selection of BRISTLE brushes.  (ie. natural hog hair)  Get a couple of flats and a couple of rounds, not too big and not too small.
We will work at a modest size – say 14” x 18”.  Prestretched is fine.

Large paper palette works well.
Please feel free to substitute for anything.  As long as you have a few basic colors and a couple of brushes you will be able to start the course.

Palette knife.
Linseed Oil
Paper towels.
Two jars for Gamsol and oil.  One large, one very small.



If you have any questions or comments about the courses please feel free to contact me at johnaparks@msn.com