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Course Description

The portrait tells us about a particular individual while revealing something universal. This workshop is designed to accommodate all levels of experience with options to explore based on individual sensibilities. The only requisites are to be “willing” and to possess personal curiosity (“The constant happiness is curiosity.” –Alice Munro).

Our focus on the face and individual characteristics (the general proportions, structure, and design of the face) will be combined with possibilities of the body presence (the totality of the person; how they sit, hold their hands, etc.). We will consider numerous design choices to make the portrait a more compelling work of art. An important element within the studio is always the process of trial and error, experimentation, and critical observation beyond the “symbol”.

This course is tailored to the individual’s sensibilities—students can choose to work with drawing materials (pencil, charcoal, pastel), water-based paints (gouache, acrylic), and/or oils.

Some of John Singer Sargent‘s prominent portraits will be discussed in class. We will also view a variety of other artists’ portraits during the workshop to provide a range of images, styles, mediums, and approaches.

Students will need to bring all the materials that they will work with at the start of the day.

Any questions or concerns, feel free to contact: before our class begins. We can correspond through emails a few days before the workshop begins.

Classroom: Barnum Hall, Room 01

Basic Enrollment Requirements: None.

Refund Policy: The refund policy for Courses at Tufts offerings is dependent on the offering type: whether the offering is a course, workshop or short course, or in-demand offering. Please refer to the section details to confirm the type of offering as well as any exceptions to the standard refund policy. The refund policies for each offering type are viewable here:

Remission Eligible: Not eligible.

This is a workshop and follows all workshop related policies. For more information about course policies and expectations, please visit

This section is also open to high school students who are 11th or 12th grade students. High School students who enroll will be prompted to submit an additional application after enrollment including: a high school transcript, letter of recommendation, parental permission, and other required consent forms.

Please review the materials list for this workshop at:

Affiliated With:

School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University