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Portrait Workshop (1 July 2016 to 3 July 2016)

This Portrait Workshop was held at my studio in Noordhoek.

All levels could benefit from this workshop; from beginner to advanced. The emphasis was on building up fundamental skills in drawing the portrait.

Drawing exercises consisted of drawing the skull, the simplified Asaro head, the Classic Asaro head, and finally drawing or painting from the live model.


Thank you everyone for coming to my workshop. Especially for those who came from far, thank you. I really appreciate it. You were an amazing group and I thoroughly enjoyed spending the week end with you.

Wishing you all a very successful art journey.

Below are comments from the participants who were on the 2016 Portrait Workshop.


Thanks again for a brilliant workshop this weekend;it was exactly what I was wanting. Hospitality also truly wonderful with the most gorgeous food.

I absolutely and thoroughly enjoyed the course. I thought it was extremely informative and gave us basic skills to get the initial drawing right.
I certainly felt much more confident drawing on the last day then at the beginning of the course.
I also appreciated the complete openness and unpressurised  way in which you taught us- which meant there was no sense of fear and panic.
I would love to do another course with you next time you hold one.



I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for a wonderful course. I was outside my comfort zone the whole time and that made me learn so much. You are a good teacher and you explained difficult concepts in the terms that I understand. I also would like to thank you for your hospitality.


Thank you so much for the wonderful 3 days. I learned so much, and enjoyed myself thoroughly - I aim to spend many peaceful hours accompanied by my pencil and paper after this!

Thank you so much for a lovely workshop, I can't express enough how much insight I've gained from you and the other students. I was so impressed by the serene atmosphere and your kind yet professional disposition. Thanks again for a great experience and I'm sure we will all continue to practice and improve with a fresh eye.


What a special time we spent with you over last week-end. The Group was so open to new relationships and I think this had more than a little to do with the really conducive atmosphere that you created. And the Setting was so beautiful too.
We learned SO much. Most importantly we took this knowledge away with us, to tap into when needed in the future. You certainly gave us all fresh eyes! The Azaro heads were really wonderful to work from and I’m now unable to look at any face without seeing them!


Thank you for the wonderful weekend! It was very inspiring and has helped me tremendously to take away the fear of starting a portrait. Knowing the basic starting points and how to measure to build the scaffold has taken away a big boulder for me Thanx!! I also think you are a very good teacher and would love to return for more workshops.

Thank you so much for a informative workshop. And for your wise and experienced input.  The workshop was fantastic. It is a pity you only do it once a year.


What I most appreciated about you was the willingness to share your experience, skills and knowledge. You have a gift in parting with your knowledge and you do it so energetically, yet kindly and you give every single person their time of attention – great. The food was great and accommodation to die for!
I would really recommend this workshop to everybody and so pleased that I was privileged enough to have done it.




Portrait Workshop (5 June 2015 to 7 June 2015)

Sonia Jacka Portrait Workshop    Sonia Jacka Portrait Workshop

I would like to thank everyone who took part in my Portrait Workshop. The group was amazing!  Everyone was enthusiastic to learn and was keen to open themselves up to a new experience. The participants were helpful and friendly towards each other.  It was a privilege to spend the weekend with everyone. I hope the little bit that I added to each one's artistic journey has encouraged them to continue to explore portraiture. I wish all a very successful and exciting journey into their art careers.  

Below are some comments from the participants:

Thank you for an inspiring weekend! We had such a good time.
I really enjoyed being in the company of artists who take their work and developing skills seriously. You showed me the importance of acquiring in depth knowledge, especially within my focus area. The workshop was well structured and had more than enough challenges for all levels of skill. The atmosphere in the studio was warm and this encouraged students to move out of their comfort zones. From a teacher's perspective, I loved the way you made the students feel safe with more than enough to learn for all levels. You were generous in sharing your knowledge. I would love to come again.

Just want to say how much I enjoyed the weekend.
I thought the introduction through the structure of the head and techniques for measuring (most useful), then Asaro head & the skull, then palette and live model was really perfectly structured and logical, and the inspirational videos book ending the weekend lovely. You were a kind and thoughtful teacher and I enjoyed that we were all at different levels as I could learn from watching others as well. Peter was a superb host and cook.  So really, thank you, a worth-while experience which more than lived up to my expectations.
I hope to do another course with you.

There were many parts of your workshop that I thought were very valuable and helped me get some structure to the process of painting portraits and seeing the tools and techniques that you use was very informative. I found the workshop to be very helpful, in particular head construction, the colour pallet session and live model painting session. The videos were wonderful. I learnt a great deal over the week end.
And I loved your energy and enthusiasm – it was contagious and appreciated your generous sharing of knowledge, so painstakingly acquired over so many years.
Overall, I thought you hosted a wonderful workshop and really appreciated your time and effort!
I would be grateful if you would pass on my thanks to Pete for his hard work and splendid catering.


It was a FABULOUS couple of days and you did a wonderful job of planning and running the workshop – very professional but friendly. Your enthusiasm is very infectious and it is lovely to be with such a good artist who gives of her time and expertise so generously. To be in your and Peter’s home was truly an added bonus (just loved your menagerie – wish I had the space for animals) and I can only say again - thank you both for the workshop, notes, and really good lunches – all very much appreciated and enjoyed.
Although there was a lot of info to absorb in a short time your notes have helped a lot, and I shall be using the Asaro method from now on for my portraits. I particularly liked the colour mixing morning – it was relaxed, very informative and was a good buffer between the intensity of the drawing hours. The workshop certainly came up to my expectations and more.


I just wanted to say a big thank you to both you and Peter for opening up your home to all of us. I felt very welcome and I thoroughly enjoyed the course.
I feel energised following the workshop but now I must keep up the momentum and keep drawing.  It was lovely to have cooked meals and to be seated around a table allowing us to socialise outside of the studio. I assume that you checked everyone’s car boots to ensure that they didn’t kidnap Peter on the way out.
I enjoyed all aspects of the course. Showing the videos was very inspiring and the artists make painting look so easy.
I was very privileged to have been able to attend the workshop and meeting the other ladies was wonderful. They were a nice crowd.
Many thanks again and please keep me on your mailing list for any other workshops that you may run.


Thank you so much for a wonderful weekend. I really enjoyed everything. We learned a lot and your hospitality was wonderful! There was not a part that I did not like. If I have to choose a favourite part, I will go with the painting of the model as well as drawing the skull.
Thank you again for everything. Hope to see you soon again.

I thank you for the wonderful workshop this past weekend where the only thing I had to think of the whole day and night was art! Lot of info and lots of fun. I learnt so much!!!
Thank you for sharing.

Many thanks to you and Peter for hosting us. We all had a fabulous time and came home filled with enthusiasm and loads of new information!
Your location is perfect for these kind of art workshops!
Painting the model from life (trying to remember all you had taught) was my highlight and having to stop my lowlight!
You did a great job Sonia!

Thank you so much for all the effort you put into the workshop and the very warm welcome you gave us all. I am sorry that I trailed the class a bit but, as they say, difficult to teach old dogs new tricks. However I am home with lots of information and in my own time will get my head round a lot of what we received. Your attention, hospitality and enthusiasm were amazing.
Very many thanks.


Ek het die hele kursus geniet en het baie geleer. Heel eerste nuwe ding was: die skerp maak van potlode. Tweedens was die teken van die koppe 'n baie groot uitdaging en het ons meer geleer van values en waarneming. Die kleurkaart was baie lekker om te doen en ek het net weer besef hoe belangrik is dit om een te maak en meer te eksperimenteer met kleur. Dan die hoogtepunt was om te werk van 'n model. Ek het dit baie waardevol gevind. Die akkommodasie en jul gasvryheid was puik! 

Sonia Jacka Portrait Workshop    Sonia Jacka Portrait Workshop
Sonia Jacka Portrait Workshop    Sonia Jacka Portrait Workshop


Sonia Jacka Portrait Workshop Sonia Jacka Portrait Workshop

Devin Cecil - Wishing Classical Drawing Workshop
14th –25th July 2014

Devin arrived from New York to give a classical drawing workshop at my studio in Cape Town. He is a lecturer at the Grand Central Academy of Art in New York. Students came from all over to attend his workshop.  They came from as far as Namibia, Klerksdorp, Stellenbosch and, of course, Cape Town. We were very excited to meet him and to learn from him. The first week was devoted to cast drawing (the ear) and the second week we worked from the nude model.
The students started their day by having something warm to eat and drink. They got to work promptly at 9am and finished at 6pm Monday to Friday, with an hour break for lunch between 1pm and 2 pm, served in the entertainment area. Most days Devin started  the day with a demo. He demonstrated gesture drawing, how to measure proportions and angles, and the blocking in stage. He gave an in-depth explanation of how light actually works and what happens when it hits an object. He showed us how to flatten the shadows and how to turn the form. What to look out for and what not to emphasise or focus on, early on in the drawing process, especially in the shadows. He demonstrated how to sharpen your pencil and emphasised the importance of keeping it sharp while drawing; this proved to be a particularly valuable lesson. Everything was explained very carefully and clearly in great detail.  The students were riveted and enjoyed soaking up all the information that Devin shared with them.  Everybody worked very hard and was constantly helped and encouraged by Devin’s gentle nature.  He has unlimited patience!  Thank you Devin for an enriching and enlightening workshop; so much was learned by all.

Below are some student comments and pictures of the workshop:

The Devin Cecil Wishing workshop has been the best decision I could have made for myself.
He proved to be an outstanding teacher and very gracious and pleasant man. The course was intense and extremely challenging for me. As a woman in my mid fifties, this surprised me as I have had many years of art and drawing. I have had various lessons and basic training in drawing. Most of the approaches involved working with Chiaroscuro (light and darks of the subject). With the training we received with Devin I realised I had only been taught half the principles. The introduction of form and how this influences the true reading of the subject was a vital addition to my skills. I cannot wait to get started on my drawing and painting again! I am feeling completely inspired for the first time in years. And I cannot wait to work under Devins' tuition again. He is a true Master of art. Even for those who might not desire to do extremely realistic work, there are definitely tools worth learning that can be extremely beneficial to each artist.


I really enjoyed the workshop as well as Devin's way of presenting the workshop. He was very helpful and always explained the technique until you understood it. I really enjoyed the individual attention as I am not a fast learner and was always a bit behind, so it definitely helped a lot.
Thank you Devin for taking the time to come to South Africa and share your knowledge with us.
Much appreciated


It is hard to explain the impact this workshop had on my understanding of drawing. I have been interested in this particular practise of classical realism for a long time and have studied it for a time as well, by books and DVD's, You Tube and so on. This workshop however was the first time that the veil was lifted in my understanding, Devin had a wonderful way of explaining the art terms and concepts that where always so mysterious.  For the first time I got to look behind the curtain and fog of the magic of art. Devin was able to not only explain the method but the reason and concepts behind the method in such a way that the drawing became a logical outcome.

Getting to know Devin during these two short weeks was an honor. This is plainly said, but said with the utmost respect. Devin is socially at ease with his students and has a unique way of tutoring. Observing his exceptional talent in teaching and explaining to both the amateur and advanced students is profoundly characteristic, and one can easily see the pure talent, not just in his remarkable artistic craftsmanship, but also in his love of sharing his artistic knowledge with less informed artists such as myself. His basic strategy of using the simplest elements to explain complex concepts, is extraordinarily fascinating, and even the most untrained artist will be able to understand and follow along. In a comfortable way, he would bring the students back to the artistic basics and simultaneously push the students ability beyond his/her own expectations. One can easily notice Devin's deep educational background. His social behavior is legendary, his lecturing, masterful! True characteristics of an artist who's future is limitless.
Sebastiaan Theart


Devin Cecil Classical Drawing Workshop

Devin Cecil Classical Drawing Workshop

Devin Cecil Classical Drawing Workshop

Devin Cecil Classical Drawing Workshop

Devin Cecil Classical Drawing Workshop

Devin Cecil Classical Drawing Workshop

Devin Cecil Classical Drawing Workshop

Devin Cecil Classical Drawing Workshop

Devin Cecil Classical Drawing Workshop

Devin Cecil Classical Drawing Workshop


I was requested to do an article for "The South African ARTIST" magazine. Click here to see the article describing my demo.