Develop your figure-painting skills in this series of art classes for adults. Join Auckland Art Gallery Toi O Tāmaki for 10 Wednesday evenings to immerse yourself in art, meet new people and uncover the extraordinary possibilities of oil paint in depicting the human form.

Over the 10-week course, learn about contemporary and traditional approaches to painting the figure in oil paint. Beginning with proportion and tonal oil painting, students will develop skills in long-pose figure painting with an emphasis on creating volume, and chiaroscuro (depth of light and shade).

Beginning with drawing from printed copies using traditional plumb line method for proportion, students will also be introduced to structure and anatomy in two sessions dedicated to drawing and painting from the live nude model. Students will complete one painting for the remainder of the course.

Painting and drawing demonstrations will be given to students throughout, with critical feedback aimed at facilitating each student’s individual needs and styles. The course is suitable for all levels.

About the tutor:

Zarahn Tūwharetoa Southon (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Pukenga, Whakatōhea) is an Auckland-based painter of Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Samoan and mixed European Jewish descent. On completion of a Bachelor of Visual Arts in 1998, Southon had several solo shows and in 2005 was awarded a Contemporary Pacific Art Scholarship, which funded a trip to study in Florence, Italy. In 2007 he was awarded a scholarship from the classical art school Studio Escalier in the Loire Valley, France. On completion, he furthered his studies with senior lecturer at Studio Escalier and pioneer of restructured Realism, Ted Seth Jacobs, in San Francisco. These periods of study in Italy, France and America were highly influential on Southon’s current practice. Described by an art critic as New Zealand’s own Lucian Freud, Southon’s artworks explore allegorical themes, portraiture and still life. He has exhibited regularly at the New Zealand Portrait Gallery in Wellington. Public institutions holding Southon’s works include the Auckland City Council and the Wallace Trust Collection at the Pah Homestead in Auckland.

Southon is currently the Te Kotahitanga delegate for his hapū of Ngāti Kurauia at Tokaanu marae, Turangi. He holds a diploma in te reo Māori and is currently finishing a degree in te reo Māori at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.


  • Every Tuesday, 6–8pm (10 week course)


  • General $500, Members $450


  • Tue 13 Feb — Tue 16 Apr


  • 6:00 pm — 8:00 pm


  • North Atrium, Mezzanine level
  • Wellesley Street East
  • Auckland CBD
  • Auckland 1010