Learn to Paint Like an Old Master

Elephant Academy’s oil-painting course will teach you the secrets to creating a classical portrait

Classical portraiture is perhaps one of the mainstays of artistic practice. Understanding how to create portraits in the style of the Old Masters might seem daunting, but Lennaert Koorman’s new six-part online course will teach the essential techniques in an inclusive way. “We break it down into baby steps,” he says, “so that it is easy for everyone to follow.”

Koorman will explain and demonstrate specialist methods in each lesson. “We explore and apply a number of classical oil painting techniques from the Old Masters,” he says. “Like composition, making a Grisaille underpainting, and optical colour mixing by glazing.”

Grisaille underpainting is when the artist paints their picture in monochrome shades in order to determine the balance of light and dark areas. This way, when the colours are applied, the painter can choose tones that are not too bright. Also, the lightest elements of the composition will appear as white, rather than as a flatter-looking unpainted canvas.

Girl at Train Station

Koorman is excited to teach students about “tools, techniques, and the love of painting, going through the entire process together from A to Z”, which will build confidence in working with oil. His course will include a focus on layering, glazing and using different mediums.

He creates a supportive atmosphere where students can talk through their ideas, encouraging creativity and offering advice. By the end of the course, the students will be able to create their own oil painting in the Old Master style.

“By the end of the course, the students will be able to create their own oil painting in the Old Master style”

There will also be a few surprises along the way. “People are often quite amazed during some of the small exercises we do,” Koorman says. “These are moments in which we will look and perceive with a whole ‘new perspective’. Of course, this is not a goal in itself, but the element of surprise can be a really amusing by-product.”

Koorman is a visual artist based just outside Rotterdam and one of the founders of The Fine Art Collective in the Netherlands, an art movement that sets up international collaborations on individual projects. What does being an artist mean to him? “Being total. Being yourself. Being playful.”

Find out more about this online course here as well as the many others on offer at Elephant Academy.


Elephant Academy

Explore our range of art classes now