Palette Knife Portraits in Oil with Mark Fennell

Course Details


Wednesday 19th October 2022


10:00 am – 4:30 pm

Course Description

Learn how to paint bold expressive portraits from photographic reference with painting knives. Explore knife painting techniques, laying the paint on thick to create a rich painting full of texture and energy.

The one day course will kick off with a short demonstration followed by lots of one to one tuition to help you paint a powerful and convincing portrait with painting knives.

You will be working from good quality reference photographs that will be supplied, or alternatively you can bring your own references to paint from but they will need to be very good quality A4 images.

Course Information

Ability level

All Levels Welcome



Useful Links

Course FAQs
Couse Terms & Conditions

  • Oil colours as follows:

(Winsor and newton Winton oil colours will suffice.)

  • Titanium white
  • Naples yellow
  • Cadmium yellow
  • Yellow ochre
  • Cadmium red
  • Alizarine crimson
  • Burnt sienna
  • Ivory black
  • French ultramarine


  • One pre-primed and grounded canvas or board – Approx size 40x50cm.
    • No deep canvases please, as photo refs can’t be clipped to the side of them.
    • Please pre ground your canvas with a thin wash of acrylic or oil paint made up of burnt sienna lightened down to a light to mid tan with titanium white, must be dry on the day.


  • Long handled short flat hog or hog filbert brushes sizes 2 or 4 for the initial sketch out and and a size 10 for blocking in prior to working with palette knives. (no water colour/sable brushes)


  • Palette knifes – minimum requirement RGM palette knives sizes – 1, 5, 42, 81 or similar. Good quality/springy not stiff knives please, RGM palette knives are nice and springy (no plastic knives).


  • Zest-It oil paint dilutant or similar low odour thinners and a dipper pot. Also a good size jar or similar and enough low odour thinners to clean brushes.


  • A couple of kitchen rolls to clean paint from knives and brushes.


  • Good size flat mixing palette (no plates or paper palettes please)


  • Good quality A4 photo references will be supplied but please feel free to bring your own as long as they are of good enough quality to paint from.


  • Carrier bag for used cloths/kitchen roll (useful to hang from your easel).


  • An apron or messy clothes.


  • Please ensure you bring a carrier for taking home your wet painting, or bin bags/sheets to lay the piece in the back of a car.


Provided by Cornwall School of Art if required

  • Easels
  • Drawing boards
  • Pencils
  • Erasers
  • Rulers
  • Scissors
  • Clips



We can supply Daler-Rowney Georgian Oils for use throughout the course, making it nice and easy to try something new without a big investment. Just add a ticket that includes our £10 ‘Paint Share’ option to your basket when booking. If you have not chosen to add a paint share to your booking please ensure you bring all colours listed.


All art materials are available to purchase in the Truro Arts shop, 26 River Street Truro TR1 2SJ, and you will receive a 10% discount on all supplies for the course.

Cancellation policy: Cancellations must be made in writing more than 4 weeks prior to the course start date to guarantee a refund. Cornwall School of Art reserves the right to retain the full fee amount in case of cancellation after the 4 week deadline. Please read the full T&Cs on our website www.cornwallartschool.co.uk

Mark Fennell

Mark Fennell is a professional portrait painter who works to commission from his home studio in the village of Brill in Buckinghamshire. He works predominantly in oils, notable sitters include Antony Worrall Thompson, Isla St Clair and singer – songwriter John Otway. His work has been selected for exhibition with The Royal Society of Portrait Painters and The Royal Society of British Artists at the Mall galleries London. Marks is a regular contributor and featured in the following publications – The Artist, Artist and Illustrators and SAA Paint magazine. Awarded The Winsor and Newton painting prize at The Royal Society of British Artists annual exhibition 2020. Featured on ITV’s ‘A Brush With Fame’ in 2005, portrait of Antony Worrall Thompson was chosen as his favourite.

Find Out More

Our courses usually begin at 10am and end at 4:30pm, with a half an hour lunch break at around 1pm. There will also be brief morning and afternoon breaks, with free tea and coffee available in the kitchen area. At Lunch time you can make things nice and easy by pre-ordering a freshly prepared Coach House Lunch. Alternatively, you’re very welcome to bring along a packed lunch and any other refreshments you like.

On sunny days students and tutors are invited to enjoy breaktimes outside in the leafy courtyard or gardens surrounded by birdsong.




Wednesday 19th October 2022


10:00 am – 4:30 pm



Book Course

Please choose ticket type below.

Waiting list


Cancellations must be made in writing/email more than 4 weeks prior to the course start date to guarantee a refund. Read our full policy on the Course Terms & Conditions page.