Have you ever wanted to draw or paint a portrait of a family member or favourite celebrity and not know where to start? Or perhaps your attempt at drawing a child made them look much older, or your attempt at painting a friend looked like someone else entirely! Then this beginners’ course is for you!

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Carole will guide you through many of the skills needed to achieve a likeness and produce a good portrait.

Working from photographs, we will do several exercises studying the features, proportions, bone structure, pose and composition as well as colour mixing for flesh tones, hair, and backgrounds. Carole will demonstrate in watercolour and pastels to show you tricks and techniques to achieve your goal.

You can work in monochrome with pencil, charcoal or pastel pencils, or use soft pastels or watercolours. On Saturday evening after supper there will be a portrait demonstration.

About the tutor

Carole Massey

Carole Massey is a popular and supportive tutor who has been teaching at Flatford Mill for over 20 years. She managed her own successful design partnership before returning to her first love of painting, which currently involves tutoring, demonstrations, private commissions, and exhibitions.
A recent portrait commission for the Bank of England of Sir Charles Bean, deputy governor now hangs in the bank in perpetuity.

She is a regular contributor to The Leisure Painter magazine, has written many teaching Art books, published by Search Press, with international sales exceeding 250,000. Her latest books are “Drawing for the Absolute Beginner” and “The Beginners’ Guide to Drawing Portraits” which will be on sale on the course.

She has exhibited and demonstrated at the Mall Galleries, London, and her work is in a number of private collections in the UK and abroad. She lives in Suffolk.
Email address:   [email protected] 

About Flatford Mill

We have four buildings that are used for visitor accommodation. Whilst most rooms are either en-suite or have a dedicated bathroom, there are some rooms in The Mill that share showers and toilets at the end of the hall. If this is un-suitable for you please make the office staff aware upon booking or as soon as possible.

Please be aware that you are visiting a Field Centre that caters in the main for school parties; the accommodation is basic and dormitory style, but warm and comfortable.


Explore our range of portrait painting courses hosted by our engaging tutors and learn from their expertise and skills. Our art courses are a chance to meet like-minded people and a chance to unwind from everyday life. They are a great opportunity to experience the UK’s glorious countryside surrounding our field centres.

Example Timetable

Arrival Day


Check-in is between 1600-1800, if you are arriving after 1800 please advise us, so we can ensure you are advised of access codes, room key location, and room location.

You will meet the tutor at dinner, and you will have your first session after dinner.


What's Included

  • Expert Tuition
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Full Board Accommodation
  • Hot and Cold Drinks
  • Picnic Lunch

Full board accommodation and picnic lunch is available for resident bookings only.
Refreshments are included for all, but non-resident bookings are advised to bring lunch with you.

Before You Attend

What to Bring.

You can work in monochrome, soft pastels or pastel pencils. Should you wish restock, here are some suggestions:-

Drawing exercises

  • A 3B pencil
  • A4 or A3 medium surface cartridge paper (i.e. not too smooth)
  • Charcoal sticks or a black charcoal pencil, plus a white pastel if you wish to work on tinted paper
  • A kneadable eraser
  • Masking tape, if you are using loose sheets of paper on a drawing board



  • Lemon yellow or Aureolin, Cadmium Yellow or Indian Yellow
  • Raw Sienna or Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Light Red
  • Vermilion or Cadmium Red, Permanent Rose or a Crimson Red
  • French Ultramarine, Phthalo Blue or Winsor Blue or Cerulean
  • Optional- Cobalt, Cobalt Magenta,


  • Watercolour paper e.g. Bockingford, Arches, Saunders Waterford or Fabriano etc        Semi rough or ‘Not’ 140lb (300gsm) in loose sheets or a pad approx. size 38 x 28 cm (15” x 11”)
  • Brushes, Nos 5, 8 and 12 round
  • Masking fluid and suitable applicator (optional)


  • A good range of soft pastels, (NOT oil pastels) colours to include creams, flesh colours, greys, pale purples, cool greens and blues, ochres and browns, as well as some darks. Artists’ colours e.g Unison, Sennelier, Schminke, WN etc. are preferable to “student” ranges which lack strong pigments and are less easy to blend.
  • Pastel Paper:  One or two colours e.g. cream, buff, warm or cool grey, or pale green, but this very much depends on personal preference; I like Canson Mi-Teintes “Moonstone” which is a pinkish grey. Sand textured papers are also suitable for pastels, and available in a range of tints.
  • A stump (or torchon), colour shaper or cotton buds for blending
  • Paper or newspaper to cover finished work
  • Fixative (optional) Latex gloves to keep your hands clean (optional)
  • An apron

Opportunities to attend this course

This course is not currently available to book. Dates will follow soon.

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