Thomas Nash Portrait Painting Seminar

I took the Thomas Nash Portrait Painting Seminar this August.  It lasted one week from 9:30am until 5:30 pm for five days.  I had a great time.  Mornings Thomas lectured and afternoons we painted from the model.  I highly recommend  it.  It took place at the Arts Place in East Cobb County.

Here is a link to Thomas’ web-site:

and here is a link to the Art Place in Marietta, GA:

We painted from a live model, never a photograph.

Monday and Tuesday we painted from the model.  Thomas  lectured and demonstrated in the mornings, and we painted all afternoon.


 Tuesday evening Thomas and his wife Donna had us to their home.  Wow, what a studio he has built.  Big three story window facing north.  He has paintings and giclees all over the wall for people to sample and get an idea of what they might like for themselves to order in a portrait.  Here are some  pics from the studio.


Thomas has made a plexiglass box to encase a human skull, so students can get the idea of the geometry of a head.


He explained his  process when painting the commissioned portrait of Mayor Maynard Jackson, showing us his preliminary sketch.


Thomas explained that if he had painted Mayor Jackson’s arms slightly different his subject’sattitude would also have appeared very different.


And that big mirror in the corner reflects the whole room, even me taking the picture.

On Wednesday we focused on color, and Thomas changed the color of the light on the model, and the background color.  We made quick, gestural color studies.

He projected photos he had taken of our model through a Photoshop program called Threshold, in a darkened room of course during the lecture part of the course.  Threshold can take the light out of a form and make it very,very dark — or Threshold can be dialed up so the same photo seems to be bathed in light.  Through this Threshold Thomas pointed out where the light changed direction across facial forms, where it blended together gently, and he could clearly point out the face’s lights and shadows and forms.                             

On Thursday Thomas had a mom bring in her squirmy baby, and as he sketched her he talked of the ways to keep kids less active while posing, how long kids can generally be expected to sit, and many other tricks only learned through long experience.


Here is my finished portrait of the model.  It is 24″ x 18″ and I figure about 12 hours of painting time, not counting breaks and demos.




By siteadmin