Mackenzie Swenson

The Painter’s Process: Three-Week Figure and Portrait Intensive 


February 4 > 21, 2019

15 days tuition

90 hours

Tax included


February 4 > 21, 2019 - 15 days tuition - 90 hours

The Painter’s Process: Three-Week Figure and Portrait Intensive 





Location:Paris Academy of Art – 78, rue Raspail – 92270 Bois-Colombes - France

Level:Beginner to Advanced

Medium:Oil on canvas or panel

Class size: 7 to 10 students


Schedule:10 am > 1 pm / 2 pm > 5 pm




You can choose to do the 3 weeks (which is recommended to follow the process) but it is possible to do only one or two weeks.


Over the course of three weeks, students will create both a portrait painting and a figure painting from life. This will include group instruction, individual critiques, demos, and informational handouts. Students will be guided through the process of making paintings using the traditional process of a preparatory drawing transferred to canvas, followed by a grisaille under-painting and a final color pass.  There will be one pose for portrait in the mornings and one pose for figure in the afternoons for the entire three weeks. 

Week one will focus on learning the “block-in” and making drawings for transfer. This stage will emphasize gesture, accurate proportion and key structural and anatomical concepts. Instruction will include the process of transferring drawings onto canvas.

Week two will begin with a discussion of value and rendering form based on a sculptural understanding of the model. Students will work in raw umber, and white to establish a grisaille under-painting for both their portrait and figure paintings. The week will end with a discussion of color theory and the completion of small color studies to guide final color choices. 

In week three, students will work in color for the final pass of their paintings. This will include further discussion of anatomy, color theory, and specific painting techniques such as scumbling and glazing. 

By using a consistent process for both the portrait and figure, students will become familiar with this time-honored method of creating a highly convincing painting from life.






Mackenzie Lynne Swenson (b. 1992) is a Wisconsinite by nature and a New Yorker by necessity. She has been in pursuit of methods and patterns since childhood. Upon graduating from high school in 2010 this mindset led her to seek out Atelier training. Mackenzie graduated in 2014 from The Atelier in Minneapolis, MN. This was followed by 4 years of intensive study at the Grand Central Atelier in New York City where Mackenzie graduated in the spring of 2018.

Mackenzie has exhibited across the US, is a 2015 Hudson River Fellow and a 2017 La Napoule Art Foundation Fellow. She is a three-time winner of the Art Renewal Center Scholarship Contest and the recipient of many other awards and scholarships including those from the Alice M. Stolpe Foundation, the Grand Central Atelier, and the Morris and Alma Shapiro Fund.





An important note:Due to their toxicity no solvent or turpentine is allowed during the workshop, neither for medium use nor for cleaning brushes. During these workshops brush cleaning will be done by soaking dirty brushes in safflower oil or walnut oil or linseed oil (note: buy one of these oils in a supermarket and not at an art store; the cheaper the better!) then cleaned with soap and water. If you've never cleaned your brushes in this manner not only is it nontoxic but it's also quite good for the bristles of the brushes.



- Graphite Pencils: H,HB,B,2B 

- Paper: Fabriano Artistico/ Hot Press/ 140 lb or Strathmore 400 18x24in 

- Kneaded Eraser

- Tombow MONO Zero Round pencil eraser

- Razor for Sharpening 

- Sandpaper for sanding

- Small pocket Mirror

- Measuring tool (knitting needle preferred)



- Tape

- Graphite Powder (or container for keeping graphite dust during drawing)

- Micron Technical Pen (.05 Brown suggested)

- Ball point pen



Stretched oil primed linen (Suggest: Classens #13 double oil primed): 

- 16” x 20” (40 x 50 cm) for portrait 

- 20” x 30” (50 x 75 cm) for figure

 - Small canvas scraps/small panels for studies (4 or 5)


Professional Grade Oil Paint (Preferred Brand unless specified):

- Cremnitz or Titanium White

- Sennelier Naples Yellow or Charvin Naples Yellow Light

 - Yellow Ochre

 - Raw Sienna

- Cadmium Orange 

- Cadmium Red

- Alizarin Crimson 

- Red Umber

- Raw Umber

- Green Umber/Sap Green 

- Ivory Black




- Bristle brushes: a few round or filbert from small to medium/large

- Synthetic: filberts and flats in a few small to medium sizes

- Sable/Kolinsky: for details, rounds in very small/small sizes


- Wooden Palette

- Palette Knife

- Palette Cup

- Paper Towels or rags

- Odorless Mineral Spirits 

- Cold Pressed Linseed Oil

- Mahl Stick





What's included 

15 days of tuition, end of workshop aperitif.


What's no included

Materials and accomodation.




The Paris Academy of Art is an approved atelier by the Art Renewal Center


Data sheet

February 4 > 21, 2019
78 rue Raspail - 92270 Bois-Colombes
15 days
10 am to 1 pm / 2 pm to 5 pm
The Painter’s Process: Three-Week Figure and Portrait Intensive