Michael Britton Workshops


PAINTING CLARA SERENA: Portrait Painting Workshop with International Master artist Michael Britton in Hong Kong at Studio 83

I have benefited from the portrait workshop I attended. I learnt a lot from you, especially what you said about art is the process of taking away and adding over and over. I also learnt that some of the shortcuts I saw online were bad methods. It was immensely helpful and an eye-opening experience. Thank you for being so patient and cheerful. Jary T., Singapore, 2018

Arguably one of the top three artists of Western Art is the Flemish master Peter Rubens (1577 - 1640). The portrait of his young daughter Clara Serena ranks as one of the finest and most touching painting of all time.

Well into his 50's Rubens, the most successful and wealthiest artist of his time, felt compelled to continue copying the master works of his predecessors, particularly the Italian painter Titian. As artists we should never stop growing and refining our skills. Copying is the most effective tool for your artistic development.

If you tend to age the subjects of your portrait painting (which is the result of weak forms in your paint handling) then this workshop is definitely for you. It is through painting children that we acquire a freshness and clarity of expression that can only be achieved by painting with an 'economy of means.'

An 'economy of means' does not mean taking shortcuts; it is learning how to succinctly develop form with color and brushwork.

If you are serious about learning how to paint portraits it is highly recommended that you study this magnificent painting.

In my upcoming 3-day workshop at Studio 83, Central Hong Kong you will learn the entire process of Ruben's portrait painting technique.

You will be working on a 23 x 36cm prepared panel (gessoed and toned with the Imprimatura) that will have the portrait drawing already inscribed on it so that you can focus wholly on the painting process. All of your materials for the workshop are supplied. You will be painting with professional grade oils ... a very real rarity for students anywhere. There is a huge difference between professional and student grade (which are colored dyes that mimic the hues) paint.

Michael Britton Workshops in Hong Kong

Peter Paul Rubens, Clara Serena, 1616

Why I use professional oil paints in my workshops

There is a huge difference between professional and student grade paint such as Winton or Georgian Oils.

Student grade oil paints are dyes and fillers that mimic professional grade that are finely ground minerals suspended in either linseed or poppy oil. Professional grade paints have significantly stronger color and effects can be achieved that simply cannot be done with student grade.

Of course student grade paints are much cheaper. But they are a false economy. It takes much more cheap paint to achieve your color mixes and to cover an area. And it is nearly impossible to mix accurate flesh tones with student grade.

In my Painting Clara Serena Workshop you will be using Old Holland oil paint which is the premium brand.

In this three-day intensive workshop you will learn:

    Underpainting Study of Rubens' Clara Serena by Michael Britton

DAY 1: Underpainting: Learn how to prepare the oil paint for underpainting, how to hold and draw with the brush and, how to apply and layer the paint so that it corresponds harmoniously with the panel's streaked tone;

Beginning with the dark tones you will learn how to both scrumble-in, cross-hatch and glaze.

Once the dark tones are set you will be introduced to Underpainting White, a thick, opaque paint, and how to model the facial features to establish an Optical Grisaille.

    Coloring in
    Abbozzo Study of Rubens' Clara Serena by Michael Britton

DAY 2: Mixing Flesh Colors and the Secret of Simultaneous Contrast:

The initial coloring-in establishes the general color scheme using dulled color. The term for this is the Ebauche.

In this second day of the workshop you will acquire one of the most powerful techniques of master painters: Simultaneous Contrast.

Simultaneous Contrast is what makes a painting glow. To a much lesser extent your choice of medium contributes to the glow. In the workshop you will be working with Venice Turpentine (which is not a turpentine but a resin that renders oil paint luminous and jewel-like).

You will learn the process of how to mix realistic flesh tones ranging from dark to light and cool to warm so that you can accurately paint all flesh tones whether they be Asian, Caucasian, and African.

You will also learn how to glaze color using both brush and your fingers to rub in the paint (this is the traditional method of glazing).

    Rubens copy of Clara Serena
    Copy of Rubens' Clara Serena by Michael Britton

DAY 3: Overpainting:

Employing good painting practice fully engages oil paint's refractive beauty.

You will learn how to model and articulate form by 'knitting' (constructive) rather than blending (destructive) to achieve a unified portrait instead of a disparate array of facial features.

By 'fluting' color (delicate touches of complementary tones) large, lit areas such as the forehead will come to life rather than dully flatten out.

The inherent beauty of oil paint's body will be capitalized upon; the general rule is that the darks be painted thinly and the lights thick. Using both the brush and palette knife you will learn how to build an engaging patina (the abstract structural surface).

Get started now with this 48 minute video Introduction to Underpainting Clara Serena by Michael Britton


I enjoyed your class so much that I had a high the following day and rushed to my brushes and palette!

Ken Lim

Michael is a great teacher and a talented artist as well!!! He encouraged me to go for my ideas and helped me realise it. It's a wonderful experience. I would definitely want to learn oil painting again with Michael:))))

Hong Kong

I had such a great time; I've never taken an art class before but Michael was very patient and helpful, and catered to every skill level. We started out the morning with a demonstration and then got started. Before I knew it, it was time for lunch!

All in all, I learned a lot, met some lovely people, and had such an enjoyable day - I'd definitely recommend this class and am already thinking about when I can book it again.

London, UK

Michael Britton's workshops are highly structured to maximise your learning and skill development. You will be guided step-by-step with both clear demonstrations and individual attention in a relaxed and friendly environment.

Michael takes you step-by-step through the entire creative process encapsulating the fundamental truths of painting: drawing, design, value, color, edges, paint manipulation, contrast and, above all, unity.

Painting Clara Serena - Portrait Painting Workshop is open to both the serious beginner to advanced.

Class size is limited to twelve and all of your professional grade materials are provided.

Don't miss out! My Painting Velazquez Workshop last February in Singapore sold out quickly.

Online Portrait Drawing Lessons - Verna

Portrait painting art class in Bangkok

Register here
A HK$1,400 deposit reserves your spot.

Studio 83, Central Hong Kong
Room A, 13/F, Winning Centre, 46-48 Wyndham St.
Monday thru Wednesday, 28 to 30 October 2019
11:00 to 18:00

Workshop fee: HK$5,647. A HK$1,400 deposit reserves your spot.
PayPal also accepts Credit and Debit Cards.

Testimonial Kuala Lumpur


The pace of your step by step teaching was not too fast nor too slow. Also, the style of teaching and class was friendly.

I also like the relevant history you added from time to time along the workshop. It helps me understand the context more.

Your tips or guidance on how to paint professionally are very useful e.g not to copy but paint in our own language, comparing painting with piano playing makes me understand better about rhythm of painting, etc.

Orawan C., Bangkok

I always wanted to try painting but never got around to it until I signed up for this class. Now I'm hooked. Michael is both a very talented artist and teacher. He was patient and encouraging. Thank you, Michael.

Juthathip, Bangkok

Testimonial - Bangkok


I have really grown with Michael's workshops - he demonstrates and walks his way through all the necessary skills and competencies with great patience & dedication. I have become more confident in front of the easel. Suitable for beginners & experienced alike.

Chin Han, Kuala Lumpur

Michael Britton Workshops in Hong Kong

Michael Britton is a New York City trained artist (New York Academy of Art) who has taught several thousand artists (some of whom have gone on to full-time art careers as painters and teachers) in his several decades long career. He was the Artistic Director of the Vancouver Academy of Art, Canada for six years and has also taught drawing for Walt Disney Studios, amongst numerous other appointments throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. He is also the author of several art-training videos including Painting Clara Serena.

If you have any questions regarding the workshops please feel free to contact me at michael-britton-workshops@artacademy.com