Skip to main content


Friday, 3 May '24   9 weeks
Browne School of Art, 194 Great North Road, Grey Lynn, Auckland, 1021
8 spaces available


Course Code: MPO224
Tutor: Zarahn Southon
When: Fri 10.00am - 1.00pm
Dates: 3 May - 5 Jul 2024
Duration: 9 weeks
Maximum Enrolment: 10

  • no class 28 June - Matariki

Cost: $625

This is a unique opportunity to study portraiture under one of New Zealand's most notable and respected figurative artists. The course approaches painting the portrait in oils through the introduction of a traditional wet-into-wet [Alla Prima] painting technique.

Beginning with painting exercises and quick portrait painting studies, students will be taught palette organisation, colour perception, tone, light, proportion and anatomical structure.
As the course progresses students will paint a long pose portrait using a limited palette. Individual feedback will focus on sensitivity to light and colour. Demonstrations will be provided. Suitable for all levels, though some prior basic painting experience is preferable. 

NB: Please remember to bring materials from the course "materials list" online.


Materials list
Portrait in Oils with Zarahn Southon

A basic kit of materials to get you up and going is listed here. Specialist art shops are the best option and will provide student discounts if you mention that you are attending the school.
Recommended stores are:
• Studio Art Supplies – Crummer Road, Grey Lynn.
• The French Art Shop – Taylors Road, Morningside
• Gordon Harris – Gillies Avenue, Newmarket and Symonds Street, Auckland Central
• Takapuna Art Supplies – Helensville or online
• Warehouse Stationery – has Winton oil paint

Materials required

Poster Study
• 1 x small white canvas - or off cut taped to board - for colour poster study. The poster study scale ranges from small thumbnails (50 x 100mm) to no larger than 200 x 200mm (*optional)
Portrait Study
• 2 x small to medium sized toned linen or board 350 x 300mm
• NB: you will be drawing & painting straight onto a toned ground. Please bring a canvas that has been primed with white gesso and toned with a neutral colour wash of either, raw umber, burnt umber or grey
• Pencils HB, B, 2B
• 3 x sticks of medium to hard willow charcoal
• 1 x piece of sandpaper used for sharpening the charcoal
• 1 x kneadable eraser
• 1 x large flat palette (no plates please)
• 1 x odourless turpentine –

• 2 x screw cap jars
• 1 x Mahl stick (*optional)
• 1 x masking tape
• 1 x roll handee towels
• 1 x plastic bag for tissues and rubbish
• 1 x palette knife
• 1 x plumb line or knitting needle for measuring (*optional)
• 1 x oil medium: I use a medium of Schminke stand oil, dammar varnish, and turpentine. If you prefer, mix up your own before class or purchase pre-mixed medium

Brushes I usually use a minimum of 2 or 3 particular sized brushes at one sitting. I designate one for darks, one for lights, or varying hues, and occasionally one clean brush used to merge brush strokes
• Round Junior Synthetic Series 303 Da Vinci range (cheap good brushes) sizes no. 3-10 is fine for small portraits
• 2 x large Filberts either bristle or synthetic for the background (optional)
• Da Vinci 1875 NOVA Brushes - Filbert
• 2 x size 10
• 2 x size 4

Oil paint

You will be using a limited palette based upon the colour theory of Anders Zorn and will have the option of adding more colors if required. I use a mixture of Old Holland, Schminke, Rembrandt, and Williamsburg oil paint.

Zorn palette (essential)
• Titanium white
• Yellow ochre
• Cadmium red
• Ivory black

Medium - large colour palette (*optional)
• Titanium white or zinc white
• Brilliant yellow-red
• Vermillion
• Cadmium red light
• Cadmium orange
• Brilliant pink
• Alizarin violet light
• Dioxazine violet
• Cerulean blue
• Kings blue light
• Kings blue violet grey
• Ultramarine blue
• Sap green
• Cadmium green light
• Burnt sienna
• Burnt umber
• Raw umber
• Ivory black

At Browne School of Art, we also have a selection of basic materials available for purchase:
Paper in A1 - A2 sheets, newsprint, cartridge, sugar grey, wet strength, bulldog clips, pencils
charcoal, erasers, white chalk, black ink

This list is a general guide only. The majority (though not necessarily all) of these materials
may be used as students progress. Canvases, panels and boards can be prepared fairly easily and
these need to be to your own preferred formats and sizes. If you are using oil paints please come
prepared for this with odourless turpentine and plenty of rags for cleaning up.



Standard Booking

Available until Fri 3 May 10am
Online payment includes payment fee of 2.9% + NZ$0.30. Offline payment details on confirmation page.

Standard Booking + $10.00 BSA Student Fund - Donation

Available until Fri 3 May 10am
A $10 donation will go to our BSA Student Fund - helping those who are unwaged or under financial hardship (with a Community Services Card) to attend our courses.


Browne School of Art
194 Great North Road
Grey Lynn