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Course Description

Explore the art of portraiture using a limited palette of pigments in the alla prima method with artist Heather McLeod. Sharing the process she uses to create her signature quirky portraits, Heather leads students on a journey that starts with foundational portrait drawing, and then moves into developing an image in the “wet on wet” oil painting method, to render an image that is both visually interesting and technically well executed. Through slide presentation, demonstration, and one-on-one instruction, Heather will discuss key portraiture elements, including facial structure, compositional analysis, color theory, symbolism, and narrative development. Day 1 you will investigate the anatomy of the human head, and how to articulate the nuances of facial features and skin in light and shadow. Day 2 and 3 you will reference your own photograph(s) as Heather guides you throug the steps of painting a portrait with an interesting narrative for the viewer to contemplate. All levels welcome, a basic knowledge of drawing is helpful.

Cancellation Policy

Thank you for signing up for a class. Once your class is paid for, we cannot offer a refund or credit, unless we cancel class due to low registration. Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact us BEFORE completing your payment.


Oil paint:
Variety including Titanium white, yellow ochre,Transparent red iron oxide (Old Holland) or Flesh ochre (Old Holland) as alternative, and Blue/black (Holbein)
Support (one small panel or canvas and one larger size of your preference)
Linseed oil
Variety of brushes
Drawing supplies provided

Alla Prima Portraiture

Heather V McLeod

Heather V McLeod is an artist exploring identity and the psychology by which we perceive others. Interested primarily in portraiture and representative work, Heather creates pieces with the intent of capturing the character of the figure portrayed. She plays with the use of symbolism and concealment to enhance the narrative and evoke a quiet yet humorous side to portraiture. Born and raised in the greater New York area, Heather received her MFA from The New York Academy of Art in 2021 and her BFA from Rhode Island School of Design in 2016. In 2017 she was awarded a Fulbright Study/Research Award in Perugia, Italy where she lived and worked for a year. She is a recent recipient of two Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grants and The Leslie T. and Francis Posey Scholarship. She has been featured in a number of exhibitions in the U.S. and abroad and has been the recipient of a number of art related awards, including most recently AXA Art Prize Finalist.
Full Artist Profile