Beginners Pastel Portrait Workshop by Mike Lamble

Beginners Pastel Portrait Workshop by Mike Lamble

Pastel Portrait Workshop with Mike Lamble1

mike lamble henryWritten by Mike Lamble

Last weekend ….. Timing is everything I knew my students were ready to experiment with a new medium a few images from my Saturday beginners Pastel Portrait workshop.

Pastel Portrait Workshop with Mike Lamble 2

Pastel Portrait Workshop with Mike Lamble 3

Pastel Portrait Workshop with Mike Lamble 4

Pastel Portrait Workshop with Mike Lamble 5

Pastel Portrait Workshop with Mike Lamble 6

Pastel Portrait Workshop with Mike Lamble 7

Pastel Portrait Workshop with Mike Lamble 8

Pastel Portrait Workshop with Mike Lamble 9

The materials we used:

  • 1x pot of black pan pastel.
  • 1x set of pan pastel knives.
  • 1x soft white pastel pencil.
  • 1x black compressed charcoal pencil 6B or 2B what ever the preference.
  • 1x rubber for drawing with as well as rubbing out.
  • Pastel Paper: mid grey, Mi-Teintes Blue & Sky Blue
“My week painting portraits Charles Sturt University” written by Mike Lamble

“My week painting portraits Charles Sturt University” written by Mike Lamble

by Mike Lamble

mike lamble henryWritten by Mike Lamble

I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to be an art student again for a whole week it was expensive but worth it Lesley O’ Shea was the tutor conducting the class she was great! You can always learn something from someone, even though I have painted many portraits over the years. The first day as I sat there with other students watching Lesley demonstrating her approach to painting a portrait, my immediate reaction was ‘ what a great idea I never thought of this’ I can adapt the idea and use it with my students as well as myself.

Day 1

 All of us were given a photo of the aboriginal girl this was my painting of her in oils.


Day 2 & 3

We were given the photo of the old man all the other students took the same approach as in day one after watching Lesley’s demonstration ,this is where I deviated from what everybody else was doing Using acrylic ink on watercolour paper over a pencil drawing.




Day 3 & 4

After watching Lesley’s demonstration this time I worked from my own picture of Olivia using my ipad adapting some ideas I had gained from Monday’s demonstration. I took the the painting as far as the acrylic under painting so I wouldn’t have a rather large oil painting odours asphyxiating me  in the car for the duration of the three hour drive back to Sydney after painting a few studies of  Olivia’s face I will complete the painting in the weeks to come.







Day 5

I couldn’t resist drawing my adopted in a style straight out of the Renaissance with a view to painting her the following week in my own studio pencil on watercolour paper. In conclusion, to indulge one of my passions for a whole week was wonderful I remember my days as an art student and lamented the days I had wasted not appreciating the chance my parents had given me, even though I have made up for it since this week brought it all back to me, I was going to make the most of every minute and I did.



in Sydney

Review: “Teenagers Portrait Workshop Term 2” -written by Mike Lamble

Portrait workshop for Teenagers 11

mike lamble henryWritten by Mike Lamble

This was conducted in my two hour class the last three Friday’s of term two.

Week 1

Portrait workshop for Teenagers 02
This shows how I am able to get a likeness using the plaster cast head.
We draw from the inside out not drawing an egg then trying to assemble the features to fit !

Portrait workshop for Teenagers 01
Measuring from the inside out using verticals and horizontals.

Portrait workshop for Teenagers 03

Portrait workshop for Teenagers 04
starting out with a 2D image using verticals and Horizontals.

Week 2

These are a small selection showing what my teenagers were able to achieve after three hours. The last hour working from the plaster cast in preparation for week three.

Portrait workshop for Teenagers 05

Portrait workshop for Teenagers 06

Portrait workshop for Teenagers 07

Portrait workshop for Teenagers 08

Portrait workshop for Teenagers 09

Portrait workshop for Teenagers 10

Week 3

Portrait workshop for Teenagers 11

Portrait workshop for Teenagers 12
Two hours working from a live model what some of my students were able to achieve after only  6 hours.
I used the same techniques from my adults portrait workshops except I condensed the time from 15 hours into 6 in the full confidence they could do it I was not disappointed.
Portrait workshop for Teenagers 13

Portrait workshop for Teenagers 14

“The reason some portraits don’t look true to life is that some people make no effort resemble their pictures” -Salvador Dali

“My watercolour portrait of Olivia” written by Mike Lamble


The watercolour portrait of Olivia.

mike lamble henryWritten by Mike Lamble

It’s as if she had just stepped out of an oil painting by Botticelli as Olivia disrobed for my life drawing class last term.
Models like Olivia are a rare find indeed, or should I say she found me. We have known each other for over ten years, out of the blue she asked if she could model for the art school.
I have always appreciated her good looks but never thought she would have the classic Renaissance figure ,there were nods and smiles of appreciation from my students as she went through her routine.
At the end of the class as she slipped into her dressing gown chatting away , “Olivia don’t move”
I exclaimed I have to paint you just as you are.
This is the result of my first attempt at a portrait in watercolour it’s ok but ….
So Olivia is coming on Sunday to model for me I hope over the coming weeks you will see as I practice using watercolour what I really had in mind.






The process of watercolour painting of “Mike and Henry” – written by Ako Lamble

Watercolour painting by Ako Lamble. "Mike and Henry" process

How the watercolour painting was started and finished.

Ako LambleWritten by Ako Lamble

Hi Everyone, Some of you have already known that I had been obsessed with watercolour painting for a while. I would like to share with you the process of how I did the watercolour painting of Mike and Henry in my sketchbook.

I was very surprised to know that I received so many good responses when I posted the painting on my Facebook. More than 230 people altogether clicked Like button (I posted it on a couple of art groups on Facebook as well). Never happened that many before. I presume that so many dog lovers were out there and the painting touched a soft spot. Also comments such as how they liked the tones and the sensitivity of my style of painting.

I will tell you that there were mistakes and happy accidents during the process which lead to discovering new techniques, I loved the experience. That’s why watercolour is so addictive for me.

Photo "Mike and Henry" in 2006

Mike and Henry(rhodesian ridgeback) in 2006.

This is the photo I chose and put up on my computer screen for a reference to paint from. I wanted to test the new colour arrangement of my travel palette so I picked the photo without thinking too much.

Watercolour painting by Ako Lamble "Mike and Henry" Process1

At this point, I just wanted to test the colours.

I usually do a pencil drawing or pen drawing before applying the colour to the paper, but this time I just wanted to test the colours, so I went straight to paint. I make a lot of colour swatches in my sketchbook, so I thought this was one of them, then I went to bed.

Watercolour painting by Ako Lamble "Mike and Henry" Process2
Watercolour painting by Ako Lamble "Mike and Henry" Process3

Next morning, my mind and eyes are as fresh as the morning dew. When I saw the paint marks in the sketchbook which I made the previous night, I thought I could do much more, so picked up a 2B pencil and started drawing over it, then put more colours on it. Oh, by the way, around 30% of the intensity of the colour would be faded when the paint has dried.

Watercolour painting by Ako Lamble "Mike and Henry" Process4

I was struggling to shape Mike’s hand and arm.

I started using some watercolour pencils to draw details. This was the area you can see where I was struggling to shape Mike’s hand and arm. I also realised that there was not enough space between Mike and Henry and Mike was slightly smaller than the actual size.

Watercolour painting by Ako Lamble "Mike and Henry" Process5
Watercolour painting by Ako Lamble "Mike and Henry" Process6

I tried to ignore Mike’s arm and carried on the areas I could deal with.
I have a good habit of taking photos of my painting/drawing with my iPhone during the process. Not just for sake of keeping records, I do it for checking my painting. It’s much easier to find the faults when you see it in thumbnail size. Checking the values, shapes and even colours.

Watercolour painting by Ako Lamble "Mike and Henry" Process7

This is the painting I posted on my Facebook and received more than 230 clicks on Like button.

Now, this was the point the happy accident had happened. When I saw the painting through the iPhone thumbnail size, I instinctively dropped a generous amount of the background colour over Mike’s arm, I actually did it holding iphone in my left hand and holding a brush in my right hand.

You don’t know how excited I was, I knew I did the right thing. Not just hiding my crappy drawing but it gave a clear focal point on Mike’s face.

I stopped there and posted it on Facebook. I don’t know exactly, but it took about 40 min to come to this point since I started a pencil drawing that morning.

Watercolour painting by Ako Lamble "Mike and Henry" touched up with iPad.

I used Procreate app with iPad to paint shadow over Henry’s legs to see how it looks like.

Since I decided to write about the painting, I wanted to do a little experiment. This is a good chance to use the iPad to simulate the casting shadow over Henry’s legs before actually painting on it. I was quite happy with the result.

Watercolour painting by Ako Lamble. "Mike and Henry" process

You can lift some colours from the watercolour painting.

I mainly did three things;

  1. Darken a part of Henry’s legs as if there were a casting shadow.
  2. Lifted some colours and painted lightly Mike’s arm and hand which was diffrent form from the photo.
  3. Put more details of Henry’s face, including highlights (with a gel pen) and his collar.

So many people think that watercolour is difficult and unforgiving, but I disagree with that. As you see, I could redo Mike’s arm and hand after covering the dark colour. Yes, there are some restrictions but watercolour is much more versatile than you may think.

Watercolour painting by Ako Lamble. "Mike and Henry" process

Left:the one I posted on Facebook. Right: The final piece.

I’ve employed a new habit of asking myself two questions each time when I finished my painting/drawing. I encourage my students to do the same in my class.

Q1. What is the most I like about the painting/drawing?
Q2. What is the most I would like to improve about the painting/drawing?

I will answer the two questions on this piece.

A1. I liked/enjoyed when I instinctively painted over Mike’s arm, it worked well to hide my crappy drawing, also to give a clear focal point on Mike’s face.
A2. Definitely better drawing of the hand!

Art Materials for watercolour painting of "Mike and Henry" by Ako Lamble

I have a few different sizes and shapes of sketch book. I keep “in-case sketchbook” in every places.

Art materials I used

Some of you might want to know the art materials I used, here is the list of them.
From the right to the left shown in the above image.

  • Sketchbook: Stillmand & Brin Alpha series 150gsm A5size
  • Mechanical pencil: 2mm 2B
  • Watercolour pencil: Caran d”Ache Museum Aquarelle (3510 640) Dark Ultramarine
  • Watercolour pencil: Caran d”Ache Museum Aquarelle (3510 661) Light cobalt blue
  • Watercolour pencil: Caran d”Ache Museum Aquarelle (3510 850) Cornelian
  • Watercolour pencil: Caran d”Ache Museum Aquarelle (3510 009) Black
  • Watercolour pencil: Caran d”Ache Museum Aquarelle (3510 077) Burnt Ochre
  • Round Brush: Escoda Kolinsky Sable Pocket Size 8
  • Aquarelle Dagger Travel Brush 1/4″
  • Uni-Ball UM-153 1.0mm Broad gel pen WHITE ink
  • Watercolour: My current travel palette 23colours.
  1. Helio turquoise: Shcmincke (PB16)
  2. Phthalo green: Daniel Smith (PG7)
  3. Ultramarine blue: Daniel Smith (PG29)
  4. Perylene maroon: Daniel Smith (PR179)
  5. Cerulean blue chromium: Daniel Smith (PB36)
  6. Cerulean blue: Daniel Smith (PB35)
  7. Quinacridone burnt scarlet: Daniel Smith (PR206)
  8. Delft blue: Shcmincke (PB60)
  9. Goethite brown ochre: Daniel Smith (PY43)
  10. Transparent red oxide: Daniel Smith (PR101)
  11. Lunar black: Daniel Smith (PBk11)
  12. Cobalt teal blue: Daniel Smith (PG50)
  13. Translucent Orange: Shcmincke (PO71)
  14. Transparent pyrrol orange: Daniel Smith (PO71)
  15. Pyrrol orange: Daniel Smith (PO73)
  16. New gamboge: Daniel Smith (PY153)
  17. Hansa yellow medium: Daniel Smith (PY97)
  18. Translucent Yellow: Shcmincke (PY150)
  19. Quinacridone gold: Daniel Smith (PO49)
  20. Indian red: Daniel Smith (PR101)
  21. Pyrrol red: Daniel Smith (PR254)
  22. Opera pink: Daniel Smith (PR122)
  23. Quinacridone gold: Daniel Smith (PO49)

I hope this blog artcle will inspire you to do watercolour if you haven’t done for a long time.
I started my watercolour for beginners weekly classes on Tuesday afternoon and Friday afternoon. Also The workshops on Saturday will begin. If you are interested in joining, let me know (info[at]art-art.com.au).

Beginners Watercolour with Line & Wash, weekly art class with Ako Lamble
Beginners Watercolour with Line & Wash, weekly classes with Ako Lamble
(Tue 1-3pm): $340 per term [10weeks] / $40 per casual
(Fri 1.30-3.30pm): $340 per term [10weeks] / $40 per casual
More Details >>
Beginners Watercolour with Line & Wash, weekly art class with Ako Lamble
Beginners Watercolour Workshop with Ako Lamble
(Sat 10am-3pm): $150 per workshop (All art materials will be supplied for the workshop.)
More Details >>
annual exhibition at mosman art gallery

REVIEW – Annual Exhibition – written by Mike Lamble

The Celebration Night of Annual Exhibition 2013


mike lamble henryWritten by Mike Lamble

This is the sceond time we have had our annual exhibition at Mosman Art Gallery. It is always exciting to see our students’ progress in their artworks the end of the year. As I looked around the paintings and drawings assembled, I had this glow of pride and pleasure at the achivements all of you.

I want to say THANK YOU to all those who helped in setting up the exhibition. Annie who flew down on Friday from Queensland especially to help then flew back on Sunday. Pye, Judith and Peter who made my task of organising all the paintings unnecessary. Thank you all who contributed the wine, champagne and food.

Ako Lamble Ako said I would like to share the experience I had at the exhibition. When I got in the room to take a few more photos of the paintings, A several people were already there, one of them was a middle aged man and he told me that he talked to Mike about an art class earlier and came to see the students’ art works. He said “I’m a taxi driver and i’d like to learn how to draw and paint PROPERLY with my spare time, I would like to paint like this and like that (pointing a few paintings with his finger). I don’t want none sense of the modern teaching saying ‘let your inner self come out and teach you’ which I had previously in other place”. He will join one of our day classes from February.

I wondered how many people had been encouraged by those high standard art works at the exhibition and decided to start their creative journey again… I like the idea that the exhibition is not just for showing off but inspiring viewers, the art community should be like this. Isn’t that wonderful?

Click the image below to see all the photos from the exhibition.


“How touched was I by the events of 9/11” – written by Mike Lamble

"The Indian village" by Mike Lamble

“The Indian Village” by Mike Lamble.

mike lamble henryWritten by Mike Lamble

I was reminded last week that it was the twelfth anniversary of the events of September 11 2001, the attack on the World Trade Centre shocking us all as we stared in disbelief at our TV screens. At the time I was working for The Bill Smith Studio on Fifth Avenue New York as a freelance illustrator here in Australia.

My latest painting for them had been picked up by FEDEX from my studio two days before and had gone missing. In the subsequent correspondence between myself and Lily Coluna (art buyer) we eventually tracked it down to Dallas Fort Worth as all packages destined for New York from around the world had been re-routed for fear of further terrorist attacks.

I asked her how she was feeling? this is what she said in part,
“We work only three blocks from the World Trade Centre. She cried, a great sadness had spread over the city. That first day they all went home they were so scared”

It was said at the time the world would never be the same. Twelve years on the scar inflicted by that event on the consciousness of humanity remains as potent as ever!

Henry (6months)


Thank you for all of your kind words. – written by Mike Lamble

Henry on Friday 30th August 2013 at Vets

Last picture of Henry (8yo) taken at the Vets – Friday 30th August 2013.

mike lamble henryWritten by Mike Lamble

This week was a very sad week for all of us connected to the art school as we lost a much loved and highly valued member of staff. He loved going sketching with me all over NSW and most weekends in the local area. He would spend afternoons with me between classes toasting his toes on my radiator and when excitedly I would show him the progress of my latest masterpiece I was left in no doubt what he thought of it as the rumbles emanating from deep in his abdomen found expression a few seconds later on my carpet Henry the much loved dog is missed and will be missed for a long time to come.

Henry with Kids going to the park, lunch time of school holiday workshop

Henry with Kids going to the park, lunch time of school holiday workshop

Henry in the Adults evening class.

Henry in the kids class

To see ourselves as others see us Henry was a huge part of my life but I never thought of it from the point of view how my students saw us until their expressions of shock and sadness this week “You and Henry were so close, great understanding between the two of you… so a beautiful dog so well behaved” to name a few. Thanks Pye for the card. Sill there is a little bit of him sitting on the mantlepiece in the studio!

  • Henry and Mike in 2005
  • Henry and Mike in 2010
Henry and Mike in MG

Henry and Mike

iPad Art by Ako Lamble

“The Best Friend” iPad Art by Ako Lamble.

Ako Lamble Ako said: I’ve learnt a lot from the loss of Henry. One of them is that our mind can easily create illusions according to our expectations. I still see him or rather feel him somewhere in the art school. I KNOW he’s gone but I see his huge face with a rather sad look appearing at the entrance as I climb the art school stairs, I can even hear his wagging tail banging on the door in welcoming rhythm. I suppose it will be like this for a long time… yes we all miss Henry.

Henry waits for everybody coming.

Processed with Instant App

New arrangement for weekly monday night art classes northshore school of art

The new arrangement for the Monday night class -written by Mike Lamble

New Monday Night Art Class

New arrangement for the monday night class.

mike lamble henryWritten by Mike Lamble

The new arrangement will start from Term 3

In my last blog I wrote about the benefits and pleasure of life drawing this was written as an encouragement not only to my students but to other artists and students who may read my words. Many of us who are professional artists understand it as an essential form of practice as an aid to our painting drawing or illustrating, sadly not every artist or student appreciates that.

Over the years I have become aware through models, teachers, artists and students the number of life drawing classes has been in decline around Sydney, unfortunately even we have not escaped the declining number of students. On the other hand, the number of enquiries for the drawing & painting class for beginners was increasing, so we came up with a great idea.

Monday night will now become a beginners drawing and painting class for new students, but for our existing students including iPad Art students an extra class has become available.

I still encourage our students to do the life drawing once a term in the Monday night class and Wednesday night class. We also will increase the Saturday morning life drawing workshop from once to twice a term.

I believe that the new arrangement will give more of a chance to many of our students to experience the benefit of the life drawing.

Beginners Draw & Paint (weekly / casual)

7 – 9pm Mondays
$330 per Term (10wks)
$35 per Casual Class

For absolute beginners

For all those who doubt that they have a single creative bone in their body! Let us prove you wrong! Everybody has the ability to draw and paint. All you need is the enthusiasm to do so. We uncover the tricks of the trade through simple exercises that will teach you to see like an artist. Get your lines right, get your tone right, understand how perspective and scale works. Learn how to use colour pencil and be introduced to oil painting. Discover skills you never thought you had in our fun and relaxed environment!

Oils or iPad?

After completing your first 10-week-term in basic drawing, you have the option of starting your first oil painting (it will be explained in greater detail on your first night) or discover the iPad as your powerful art tool and create the digital art.

Please feel free to ask us if you have any questions about the class. Email: info[at]art-art.com.au / Phone: +61 (0)2 9968 1233 / Download Enrolment form

Henry 8weeks old