For those who already have a little experience at painting and drawing and wish to start or improve their portrait work, this is always a most stimulating, challenging and beneficial course.

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On the first day, working from photographs, we explore ways to draw more accurately, capture a likeness, study the form of the head, the features and consider composition and pose.

For the remainder of the course we will work from models every day. For each model we start with 2 short “warm-up” sketches followed by a longer pose for the rest of the morning or afternoon. As well as constant individual tuition throughout, Carole gives a demonstration on most evenings and group appraisals at the end of each day. Group limited to 12 pupils.

You can choose to work in drawing media, watercolours, pastel pencils, soft pastels or acrylics.

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

Here are some suggestions for materials you may wish to use on the course, depending on your preferred medium


  • 2B and 4B pencil
  • Cartridge paper either loose or in a pad  e.g.W&N Medium Surface Cartridge Paper, A3 size
  • Tinted pastel paper – pinkish  grey, blue/grey, grey or buff
  • Charcoal sticks plus a white pastel OR black white and brown pastel pencils


  • Bring whatever colours you prefer to work with, to include a range of colours:
  • Lemon yellow or Aureolin, Cadmium yellow, Raw Sienna
  • Cadmium red or Vermillion, Permanent Rose or Alizarin Crimson
  • Burnt Sienna, Light Red or Red Oxide
  • French Ultramarine, Phthalo Blue or  Winsor Blue or Cerulean,
  • Optional Colours: Cobalt, Phthalo Green, or Viridian and Cobalt magenta


  • 140lb or 300gsm Watercolour paper e.g. Bockingford, Arches, Waterford or Fabriano etc. Size approx. 15 x 11” in loose sheets or a pad


  • Nos 5, 8 and 12 round, sable/synthetic blend watercolour brushes.

Other Materials

  • A Palette
  • Masking tape
  • Masking fluid and suitable applicator eg. a dip pen or cocktail stick etc
  • Please  bring your own easel if you have one

Soft pastels  (NB NOT oil pastels)  

  • A good range of colours to include creams, yellows, flesh colours, purples, cool greens and blues, ochres and browns, as well as some darks.
  • A range of pastel papers such as Canson Mi-Teints, Ingres, Sennelier etc
  • OR sand textured pastel paper e.g. Pastelmat, Canson Mi-Teintes “Touch”, Fisher 400 etc
  • COLOURS -, buff, warm grey, cool grey, or pinkish grey, depending on preference
  • A stump or torchon for blending
  • Paper or Glassine to cover finished work
  • Fixative (optional)
  • Latex gloves to keep your hands clean(optional)
  • An apron


  • Lemon Yellow, Cadmium Yellow, Raw Sienna
  • Cadmium Red, Permanent Rose, Red Oxide
  • Dioxazine Purple, Cobalt Blue, French Ultramarine, Phthalo Blue
  • Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Viridian or Phthalo Green
  • Titanium White
  • Mixing or Transparent white, (optional)


  • A range of good quality hog and/or synthetic brushes in a variety of sizes and shapes (e.g.round, filbert, flat)
  • A ‘Stay Wet’ palette (or to make your own  bring a large baking tray, blotting paper, greaseproof paper and clingfilm )
  • Acrylic paper, board or canvases  (optional)
  • If you would prefer to work in oils rather than acrylics, please bring what you are used to working with, using Liquin as a more environmentally friendly painting medium.
    NB Carole does not demonstrate in oils.

Other equipment

  • Craft knife or pencil sharpener
  • Kneadable rubber
  • Kitchen roll
  • Handwipes
  • 1” masking tape

*If you are buying new brushes, I recommend Rosemary and Co, a very good mail order company producing a wide range of high quality, reasonably priced brushes.
For Watercolour – Red Sable Blend, a synthetic/sable mix
For Acrylics- Chungking bristle and Shiraz ranges


Opportunities to attend this course

  • Fri 29, November 2024 19:00 - Tue 03, December 2024 16:00

    Flatford Mill
    East of England
    £364 - £562
    Carole Massey
    Pay a deposit of £100.00 per item