Portrait painting from a photograph

Painting Explorations: Portraits ONLINE

In this online course we will use direct observation to build your portraiture skills, as well as be inspired by portraits in the AGO Collection. We’ll explore painting elements such as gesture, composition and colour and experiment with a range of watercolour painting techniques to develop an awareness of line, volume, form to create your own portrait paintings.

Terms and Conditions of Participation in Online Courses.

Participants must be 18 or older. Spots are limited. Some prior experience with the medium is recommended.

Students to supply their own materials. 

Week 1: Slide show of portraits in the AGO Collection. Drawing from the model; placement of the facial features; painting on paper.

Week 2: Working from a master image. Painting on paper. Painting on canvas.

Week 3: Master copy, continued.

Week 4: Self-portrait or working from a photograph. Painting on paper; painting on canvas.

Week 5: Self-portrait treatments continued.



Watercolour paints: ‘Artist or Professional’ quality paints tubes, 5 ml or 14 ml, brands recommended: Winsor Newton, Daniel Smith, Da Vinci, or Holbein. Colours: 

Cobalt Blue

French Ultramarine

Prussian Blue

Hansa Yellow or Aureolin

Quinacridone Gold

Permanent Rose

Winsor Red, (da Vinci Red or Turner Red or the equivalent of Cadmium Scarlet)

Yellow Ochre

Burnt Sienna

1 sheet Arches 140 lb Cold Press watercolour paper

round brushes in the following sizes: 12, 10, 8, 4

1” wash brush

Hinged palette, white watercolour palette of your choice

Pebeo (brand) drawing gum masking fluid 45 ml

Members Price
Public Price

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Thursdays, - | 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm (5 weeks)



Art Education Policies


Please read the following policies when you prepare your registration to AGO Education courses and camps.

  • Registration is on a first-come-first-served basis and is limited to space restrictions.
  • Advance registration is recommended for all programs.
  • Registration is confirmed only upon receipt of payment.
  • All registration is subject to availability.
  • All programs, prices and instructors are subject to change without notice.
  • The AGO has the right to remove students from classes. (remove if they are disruptive).

Withdrawals and Refunds


  • Refunds are available in full 5 days before the start of the first class, minus a $15 administration fee.
  • For all courses a withdrawal is allowed before the start of the second class, minus a $50 administration fee.
  • Withdrawals after the start of the second class are non-refundable.
  • One day workshops are non-refundable. 
  • Absence does not constitute a withdrawal.
  • Courses are not transferable.
  • Withdrawal requests must be done by email through the Contact Centre at contactus@ago.ca.

Cancellation of Classes

  • To ensure that we are able to run your preferred classes, we recommend that you enroll at least two weeks prior to the commencement of the program.
  • In the event of course cancellation, registrants will be notified 3 days prior to the scheduled commencement of the course and a full refund will be given.


The AGO is committed to providing a welcoming and accessible destination and workplace. We embrace the principles of dignity, independence, integration and equal opportunity to serve our visitors, staff and volunteers, and our community at large.

Read about our Commitment to Accessibility, our Customer Service Policies for visitors with disabilities, and our Multi-Year Accessibility Plan.

Please let us know how we may assist you.


In consideration of those in the Gallery School who may have allergies and chemical sensitivities, please refrain from wearing cologne, perfume or other scented products.

Photography, Motion Picture, and Video Consent

Your registration ticket constitutes acknowledgement of willingness to appear in promotional photographs, motion pictures and videos taken in public areas of the Gallery and releases the Art Gallery of Ontario from liability resulting from use of such photographs, motion pictures or videos

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