Nicholas Pearce

painting women and light


Portrait Intensive - 3 days

(Friday evening and all weekend)

$260 + GST



TBA for the fall


To register email me.

Painting a portrait is one of the biggest challenges any artist can tackle. You need to know the building blocks – how to put the right shape in the right colour in the right tone in the right place. And you have to do it by painting what you see, not what you THINK you see – which is tough when you’re doing a portrait of a friend or family member.

I teach you all that, in a fun class that uses photo reference, a single brush, and a limited palette of four colours plus white. You’ll send me the images that have inspired you to paint a portrait. I’ll assess and crop them. Then on Friday night, we draw, transferring the image from photo to canvas using the ancient technique of gridding. That leaves the entire weekend free for painting.

The techniques are the same ones I always teach, with extra time built in. As always, we provide lunch, tailored to your dietary needs.    

Here are some of my thoughts on painting a portrait.

Your Artistic Style - 3 days

(Friday evening and all weekend)

$260 + GST


June  14 - 16  (wait list)

To register email me.


This class can be the start of – or the next step in – a life-long journey of artistic discovery. By getting in touch with your visual preferences, you’ll define – or refine – your artistic style. Using the preferences you will be guided to discover on Friday night, you will paint for two days in any medium you choose. You’ll end the weekend with a completed work, which may be unlike anything you’ve ever painted before. And you’ll be inspired to continue painting in a way that reflects your unique talents and vision. (Read more about Your Artistic Style)

Painting with Pencil - 1 day

$140 + GST

2024 TBA

This is a one day class. If you’re interested in future classes please click the date above to email me.

Painting with Pencil is a one-day class that teaches you to build an image using just greyscale. Form, even when using colour, is created by greyscale (the tone of that colour). This class helps you see how space is defined by tone: white, black and all the greys in between. Greyscale is a guiding principle of my painting classes. This class helps you see its importance, and will improve your painting - as well as give you a technique to produce finished works in pencil alone.(Read more about Painting with Pencil)

The class goes from 10 a.m. to 4 pm, with lunch served at noon.


I have been teaching art, mainly acrylics, for over 20 years, and have been painting the figure for more than three decades. I am represented by galleries in Calgary and Victoria, and belonged to the select group of artists invited each year to attend Painters at Painter’s in Campbell River. I attended the Alberta College of Art and the University of Victoria, and have delved into the emotional aspects of painting at the Haven on Gabriola Island.

I offer most of my classes and workshops at my North Saanich studio at 1870 Dickson Avenue. They are suitable for painters at all skill levels, from beginner to advanced.

Workshops range from one to three days. I accept a maximum of four students, which allows me to work individually with each of you, while painting a piece of my own on which I can show you my techniques.

Lunches are provided each day and are tailored to your dietary needs.

Custom classes for just you and your friends are also available.

We can arrange dates to suite your schedule.

Email me for details

Lenore Hietkamp 

Nicholas is probably the best art instructor I've ever had. I've been painting in acrylics for 30 years, and have taken lots of art classes and even PhD studies in art history so I think I know what I'm talking about.  I've taken four of his classes now (the figure painting ones), and am signed up to take the Style class. I love his approach, which I describe as master-apprentice –he teaches how he paints, not how we want to paint, so that we first learn how to see and do. He then encourages students to explore their own style further (that's why he created his Style class). So I learned to not be afraid to paint compositions that I observe in life, subjects that make real paintings, instead of what people think artists ought to paint these days –some type of self-expression, some confusing mix of anguished abstraction and sweet children. I learned that what I see can be composed, can be caught in a perfect harmony of colour, line, shape, texture, light. And that such a composition can become translated onto canvas by my passion for movement of hand and paint. The possibility of such a transformation is what will keep me searching and painting, and for that pursuit I have Nicholas to thank.