The Lester Prize is one of Australia’s three leading art awards for portraiture and the only one based in Western Australia. The 40 finalists for 2021 are being displayed at the Art Gallery of WA from October 16 to November 29.

The finalists were selected from 750 applicants across Australia. As part of the celebrations, a series of workshops are being hosted by five of the 12 finalists currently living in Western Australia, giving locals an amazing opportunity to learn from some of the country’s leading portrait painters.

Five of the workshops are at the Gallery and two are online. Details of each workshop are outlined below. Book early, as these workshops are bound to sell out quickly. Bookings can be made HERE.

Creative realism in oils with Cameron Richards, October 28

Richards shares tips and tricks learnt from his self taught portraiture journey and the creation of his top 40 finalist portrait. He will help you through the first and most important layer of your own portrait painting which you can then take home and complete.

Working in Chiaroscuro with Anne McCaughey, November 4

Examine photographs with McCaughey and discover a fundamental painting technique in Renaissance art, Chiaroscuro. This technique uses the contrast of light and dark to create the impression of a three-dimensional object. McCaughey will run you through these skills using charcoal and chalk to create a piece of realistic work.

Mixing Dynamic, Realistic Skin Tones with Desiree Crossing, November 11

Crossing teaches you how to identify and mix colours that are commonly used in painting palettes for dimensional skin tones.  She will share her knowledge to give you an opportunity to learn and implement these skills yourself.

Verdaccio: Introduction to Renaissance Style Underpainting Techniques with Melissa Clements, November 18

Learn to create a green monochrome underpainting. Clements will walk you through the technique’s history and the process of creating your own lifelike portrait.

Bold and Beautiful with Jana Vodesil-Baruffi, November 25

Participants will use a palette knife and learn from Vodesil-Baruffi to effectively use the instrument to create bold strokes and capture a likeness and character to their subject.

Portraits with the Zorn Palette (October 20) and Using Shadows to Create Form in Portraiture (November 3) with Seabastion Toast

The first workshop will teach you the steps and practices in simplifying a face and building its form from simple shadow shapes. The second will demonstrate the famously used Zorn palette of four colours to mix skin tones as Toast takes you through the steps to achieve flesh colours in your painting.

Please note that as the Art Gallery of Western Australia is currently under refurbishment. The main entrance is closed so you will have to enter the exhibition through the Beaufort Street.


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