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?

For enrollment information on this course use these links: 
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxxxxSaturdays 12pm - 6pm



Making it Real

Both beginners and experienced painters are welcome. This is a course which takes on the nuts and bolts of rendering. We begin with the creation of light through color and look at number of ways to organize the color in order to strengthen the sensation of light. We spend quite a bit of time looking at "turning the form" - making a form feel 3D - and then take up the play of light on surfaces. From there we look at the challenge of organizing the entire "light envelope" throughout a painting. If all this sounds a bit technical - don't worry. We go through it very straightforwardly using models and still life in a very direct way. Once we have mastered the basic principles of creating light and form we work through a number of special cases - reflections, translucency, colored light, depiction of water, textures and special issues that arise in landscape painting. By the end of the course you can expect to have a much better command of rendering the world. You will be able to make a painting in which the world feels fully illuminated and three dimensional. Along the way you'll learn an awful lot about painters and painting. And I guarantee that you will also have a lot of fun.

For enrollment information on this course please use this link: Wednesday Evenings 6:00 - 9:30 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
Odorless Turpentine.
Paper towels.
Two jars for turpentine 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