Visual Arts Centre

“Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter.”

– Oscar Wilde

What is Portrait Art?

Defined as an artistic representation of a person, in which the face is the main theme, portrait art is one of the most prominent art genres throughout history and the second most significant art genre in academic art. Rather than simply sketching or painting a realistic depiction of the models’ features, the artist aims to portray qualities such as power, importance, wealth, and taste of the model. More often than not, the model will be looking directly at the artist  Creating portrait art provides knowledge on and tests the artist understanding of light and form, proportions and basic anatomy of the skull and facial features, and composition.

Although portrait art has been around for a very long time, it was not until the post-impressionist era that artists began to deconstruct ideas about the nature of portrait art. Post-impressionists broke through traditional portrait perception, which focused on the lifelike depiction of the model and instead explored new possibilities of representation and expression in portrait art. Focusing on capturing the personality and expressing the individual identity of the model/ subject.

Famous portrait painters and artworks

Although Edgar Degas was a master of everyday life art genre, during his early career, he also composed various portrait artworks. His portrait pieces are renown for their depiction of human isolation and psychological complexity. This can be seen in ‘The Bellelli Family’, where he made use of sober colours, imposing dimensions, the structured games of open perspectives (doors and mirrors), to convey an oppressed atmosphere. The physical distance between Laura and her husband Baron Genarro Bellelli, as well as the difference in their posture, Degas managed to capture the subtle details and express the dysfunction within the Bellelli family.

Famous for painting the ‘Mona Lisa’, Leonardo da Vinci was one of the leading artists of the High Renaissance. His study of the human body and its movement allowed him to capture precise expressions that are layered with subtle undertones, thus creating forms that capture the attention of viewers and invites them into the intimate world of his subject. In one of the most famous portrait painting in the world ‘Mona Lisa’, da Vinci made use of his knowledge in colors to create a depth to the composition which provided a surreal atmosphere to the artwork. Leonardo also depicted his subject all the way where we as the audience are able to see the subject as a whole, which was an innovative approach in portrait art as most portrait artworks at that time only showed the audience a portion of the subject – usually the head and upper torso.

Learn portrait drawing and painting at Visual Arts Centre

At Visual Arts Centre, our art courses adopt an academy approach to art teaching and learning. Be it drawing and sketching or oil painting, after you have built your foundations, you are able to challenge yourself with portrait artworks. Portrait artwork provides you with knowledge on light and form, proportions and basic anatomy of the skull and facial features, and composition. In our drawing and sketching class, you can either bring or will be provided with portrait images and plaster casts where you will learn to the basic techniques on drawing and sketching of facial anatomy and the proportional relationships between facial features. In our oil painting session, you will explore color theory, learn brushwork and techniques to depict a realistic and natural image of the subject. and to express your perception towards the subject. In our watercolor painting and acrylic painting class, composing portrait art challenges and improves your foundational techniques on brushwork, use of color, tone, and highlight.

We also have a monthly Portrait Drawing Workshop with Artist Guidance. In this workshop, you will be working with a model. This challenges your observational skill and attentiveness. Through life observation of the model, you will have to capture the various motions, tones, shades, shadows, skin textures and gestures of the model with your own interpretation in this life drawing jam session. You will be introduced to proportion and basic anatomy of the skull and facial features, refined methods of observation and sketching, as well as receive guidance from a professional artist. This workshop will be a great experience to test your ability to capture the subject and to practice observational and quick sketching skills.

Here are some portrait artwork done by our students:

Explore landscape painting and sketching with us! Check out our art courses here.

Join our monthly Portrait Drawing Workshop with Artist Guidance here.

Foundation In Digital Art

Embark on a captivating journey into the vibrant world of digital art! Our Foundation in Digital Art workshop invites budding creatives aged nine and above to unleash their imagination and hone their artistic skills in a dynamic, supportive environment. From mastering basic digital tools to crafting mesmerizing digital masterpieces, children will explore a spectrum of techniques guided by seasoned mentors. Through hands-on activities and interactive sessions, participants will discover the endless possibilities of digital expression while fostering creativity and critical thinking. Join us for an exhilarating adventure where young artists transform ideas into stunning visual realities, igniting a passion for digital art

Colour & Texture Exploration With Acrylic Painting & Collage

Prepare to unleash your inner artist in a kaleidoscope of color and creativity with ‘Colour Blast: Acrylic Painting & Collage Techniques’! Dive into a whirlwind adventure where vibrant hues and mesmerizing textures collide in a symphony of imagination. From mastering the art of seamless color blending to discovering the magic of mixed media collage, this journey is a playground for your artistic soul. With each brushstroke, explore new techniques that breathe life into your canvas, transforming it into a vibrant tapestry of expression. Join us and let your creativity run wild as you embark on this colorful escapade!”

World of Manga [Foundation & Styling]

A manga art workshop for children and teenagers sounds like a fantastic idea! Here’s how you might structure it:
Introduction to Manga: Begin by introducing what manga is, its history, and its influence on popular culture worldwide. Show examples of different manga styles and genres to give participants an overview.
Basic Drawing Techniques: Start with the fundamentals of drawing, such as line work, shapes, and proportions. Provide step-by-step instructions on how to draw basic manga characters, focusing on simple shapes that can be built upon.
Character Design: Move on to character design concepts, including creating unique characters, designing their personalities, and developing backstories. Encourage participants to get creative and think outside the box.
Expression and Emotion: Teach how to convey emotions and expressions through facial expressions, body language, and positioning of characters. This can be a fun and interactive exercise where participants practice drawing various emotions.
Storytelling and Paneling: Explore the basics of storytelling in manga, including paneling techniques, pacing, and layout. Show examples of different panel structures and discuss how they affect the flow of the story.
Inking and Coloring: Introduce participants to inking techniques using pens or markers. You can also cover digital inking for those interested. Then, demonstrate basic coloring techniques using markers, colored pencils, or digital software.
Feedback and Collaboration: Provide opportunities for participants to share their work and receive feedback from their peers and instructors. Encourage collaboration by having them work together on short manga projects or collaborative drawings.
Final Showcase: End the workshop with a showcase of participants’ work. This could be in the form of an exhibition, digital gallery, or printed booklet. Celebrate everyone’s creativity and progress throughout the workshop.
Remember to create a supportive and encouraging environment where participants feel free to express themselves and explore their creativity. And don’t forget to have fun! Manga is all about imagination and passion, so let that spirit shine through in your workshop.

Academy Drawing Traditions

The academy drawing and sketching tradition, rooted in centuries of artistic practice, emphasizes disciplined study of form, proportion, and technique. Originating from Renaissance workshops and formalized by institutions like the Royal Academy, it prioritizes meticulous observation and mastery of fundamental skills. Students progress from basic exercises to complex compositions, learning to depict still life and common objects with precision and expression. This tradition values both classical principles and innovation, encouraging artists to push boundaries while maintaining a deep respect for tradition. Through rigorous training and critique, artists within this tradition cultivate a strong foundation for creative exploration and artistic excellence.

Chinese Ink Painting and Calligraphy

This course on Chinese ink painting and calligraphy introduces young learners to the rich traditions of Chinese art. Through hands-on activities, students explore the basics of brush techniques, ink control, and the delicate art of Chinese script. They learn to appreciate the cultural significance of calligraphy and painting, developing skills in creating elegant strokes and expressive brushwork. The course fosters creativity, patience, and fine motor skills, while also providing insights into Chinese history and aesthetics. By the end, children gain confidence in their artistic abilities and a deeper understanding of Chinese cultural heritage.

Funk with Graffiti

Funk With Graffiti Workshop for children is an engaging and creative program aimed at introducing young artists to the vibrant world of graffiti and funk-inspired street style art. Participants learn the basics of graffiti history, techniques, and safety. Guided by professional graffiti artists, children explore the art of designing their unique tags, emphasizing creativity, expression, and individuality. The workshop includes hands-on activities, from sketching concepts to creating final designs with spray paint on provided surfaces. By the end of the session, children gain confidence in their artistic abilities and an appreciation for graffiti and funk as legitimate forms of street art. Each child completes two original artworks, which they proudly take home, showcasing their newfound skills and personal style.

Batik Tales

In the Batik Introduction Handkerchief Painting workshop, participants will learn the traditional art of batik, a wax-resist dyeing technique originating from Indonesia. The workshop begins with a brief history and overview of batik, highlighting its cultural significance and various techniques. Participants will then observe a demonstration of applying wax with tjanting tools and dyeing the fabric. Following the demonstration, each participant will design and create their own batik handkerchief, applying wax to create patterns and then dyeing their fabric. The workshop concludes with a group discussion, allowing participants to share their creations and reflect on their learning experience.