LIFE PAINTING - An Expressive Approach

Five day Workshop with Alan McGowan
May 2020.
St Margaret's House, Edinburgh, UK.
Five days of painting the figure in oils with Alan McGowan.

Through the history of figurative art there is a strong tradition of artists who have combined accomplishment in draughtsmanship and painting with an expressive approach to the subject and the materials which they use. Artists like Egon Schiele, Rembrandt, Kathe Kollwitz, Rodin, Eugene Carriere, Lucien Freud, and others. I believe it should be possible (and IS) to be sensitive to our subject and the technical challenges of representation whilst still expressing our individual voice and temperament as an artist.

We will look at the work of artists who have been influential in/ influenced by this approach to picture making, thinking about how they have used materials and to what end. Working from life poses of varying lengths we will look at approaches to using oil paint with a view to it's possibilities and what this might mean technically to achieve the results we are after (looking at drawing, mark making, colour palettes, pigments, surfaces, priming etc) and the kind of decisions one makes within a painting.

Amongst other influences we will consider the aesthetic of the "sketch" which has informed and influenced many artists from the time of Rubens through to the Impressionists and contemporary figurative artists. It has a particular relationship to the authorial voice in a picture, and raises questions of "finish", artistic language, mark-making and figure/ground relationships.

Over 5 days we will have life poses of varying lengths - but at least one 1 day pose, and two 1.5 day poses.

If you are interested or have any questions do e-mail me at