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This five-day workshop will feature two live models, and Cuong will demonstrate his own techniques on how to draw from life using soft pastels and pastel pencils.

What you need to know 

Students will learn to use an approach that helps them see the big shapes first and then go into details towards the end of the session.

The first day of the workshop will be an orientation to all materials involved and a complete demonstration of the process of painting the head from a live model. Students will do some exercises on how to apply pastels on sanded paper to create realistic skin-tones.

The remainder of the five-day workshop will continue with instruction on the proportions of the head from basic line to more advanced anatomical study.

From there, we will focus on developing a likeness from the model by learning to interpret what we see--simplifying the features and focusing on basic shapes and forms as described by masses of colour, plus light and shadow. Demonstrations and individual attention will be emphasized, enabling each student to produce a finished drawing by workshop completion.

This workshop is designed to create a relaxed, informative, yet focused working environment for all skill levels. The core of the lesson will be based on drawing, values, edges, composition and creating life-like skin tone colour. Students will focus on the fundamentals of drawing the human head while developing new skills in pastel.


Friday 9 Sep 2022 - Tuesday 13 Sep 2022


The Heritage Centre, Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire


£850 (£100 Deposit)

Materials you will need

Material list will be issued on booking.

Additional Information

1. The deposit fee of £100 will be deducted from the balance of the booking.

2. Maximum 14 students per class. We will be assessing and implementing any covid-19 safety measures that remain in place at that time, to ensure the safest environment we can. We will be issuing separate details on covid protective measures implemented.


For all T&Cs, please click here.


About Cuong


Cuong Nguyen's ability to highlight the beauty in the world around him is something that informs his art as well as his perspective. One might say that he represents the opposite of the tortured artist cliché: despite the fact that his formative years in Vietnam were characterized by significant hardship, his sometimes romantic and sometimes mysterious portraits and still life paintings reflect his positive outlook and determination to persevere.

Growing up in poverty after the fall of Saigon, Cuong's greatest pleasure was finding time to draw. At a young age, he earned extra money for his family by doing street portraits, and he was accepted to Saigon's Academy of Art while in high school. Even as a child, Cuong was fascinated by the human face, and his single-minded practice of drawing eyes and other features rewards us today with portraits that have a spark of life to them.

Today, Cuong works in both oil paints and pastels, though casual viewers may at first have trouble distinguishing the two media in Cuong's hands. Though he almost never blends his strokes, Cuong achieves a level of detail and smoothness of gradations that is unusual in pastel paintings. In oils, he aims for a realism that never crosses the line to photographic, so that the viewer always has a sense for how the image was formed from its raw materials. Regardless of media, however, Cuong Nguyen's paintings always reveal a fundamentally optimistic view of the world and a sense of wonder towards the beauty that surrounds us.

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