Painting the Figure: The Classical Academic Method


Do you want to paint the nude from the live model in a realistic manner but don’t know where to start?

In this course, you will learn the basics of the academic painting method used in the 19th century and in contemporary ateliers. The sight size technique will be briefly introduced. Students will understand the power of using a limited palette.


This course is for people who have had some experience with drawing. Each step builds on the last so it is strongly recommended to attend all lessons of the course to understand all the steps.

Maximum Number of Students


Day and Time

Saturday afternoons from 13:30 to 15:45. (Each lesson is 2 hours and 15 minutes.)

Starts Saturday, April 23rd and goes until Saturday, June 11th.

No class on Saturday, May 7th.

Total Learning Hours

15 hours and 45 minutes over 7 lessons.

Cost – €315

Model fee included. Materials not included.


A deposit of €100 is due at the time of registration.  €100 is due on the day of the first lesson.  The remaining €115 is due on the day of the 4th lesson.


  • Linen canvas – stretched or mounted (taped) on board at last 80 x 50 cm, lightly toned with raw umber (color should be like that of raw linen)
  • Brushes – Hogs hair filbert brushes in various sizes: 3-4 around 1.5 to 2cm wide, thin brush for fine lines, 2 brushes around 0.5 cm wide, large brush for background
  • Oil Paints**– Ivory black, Raw Umber, Transparent red oxide or Burnt Sienna, Venetian red or Indian red (optional), Raw Sienna or Yellow Ochre, Michael Harding warm white (recommended) or any Titanium/Zinc white. Recommended brands are Michael Harding, Old Holland, Rembrandt, or any artist quality paint.
  • Palette, mixing cup (2 containers), palette knife, hand mirror, Scottex, refined linseed oil, Tintorsetto Eco solvent (optional)
  • The instructor will supply a black mirror and plumb line.

** In order to provide an affordable alternative to those not wanting to buy all of the paint, you can, instead, choose to pay me on the first day of the course an additional, one-time fee of €30 and I will provide you with all of the oil paints you need.


Part 1 – Drawing with paint and introduction to “sight-size”

Part 2 – Using the traditional palette

Part 3 – Refining and finishing the painting


Registration is managed through our Course Registration portal.  If you have any difficulties registering, please let us know via email or call/text via WhatsApp: +39 347 263 1033.

Meet Your Instructor:
Denise Melvin

Denise Melvin is a classically trained figurative painter having completed an intensive three year programme at the Florence Academy of Art and further training in advanced portraiture at the Charles Cecil Studios in Florence. She is committed to keeping the traditions of painting alive and passing them on to the next generation. She paints entirely from life – both in the studio and plein air using only the highest quality traditional materials and techniques.