Masterclasses & Workshops

Unveiling Drapery Masterclass
By: Allyson Keehan
7 Nov 2020 - 8 Nov 2020
Fee Application Deadline
€150 October 4, 2020
Sorry, we are no longer accepting applications for this workshop.

This two-day painting course will offer an opportunity for intensive study of painting drapery. The course will run online over two consecutive days. Understanding the principles of drapery is crucial to painting convincing folds and swathes of fabric. Drapery is defined by what it does. Its form is conditional to the texture, weight, and tension of the fabric, and its support. The focus of these two days, investigates the multiple methods and processes relevant for depicting folds in paint.

Day 1 will begin with an presentation by Keehan, where she will discuss her on-going research into the subject of drapery in painting. The workshop will commence with a series of demonstrations and tasks based on achieving realistic representations of drapery and staging drapery installation with theatrical lighting. The course will start with preliminary techniques in drawing with ink, tonal studies and composition planning, to working in oil paint: setting up compositions, tonal underpainting, lighting, understanding shadows and form, and experimentation with grounds. It will follow with using drapery to create space and three-dimensionality. The course will result in participants creating immersive painting compositions.

The main painting materials will be ink on paper and oil paint on a surface. Participants are encouraged to explore the idea of surface and to utilise objects, sources and conditions that usually lie outside conventional painting practices. This experimental approach will hopefully trigger new and exciting forms for painting.

During the course Keehan will discuss the history of drapery in painting and its social and political interpretations. She will provide a short reading list for those who would like to investigate this further. At the end of the workshop, Keehan will lead a discussion on the work produced. Virtual one-to-one tuition will be provided throughout the workshop and set times will be scheduled for each participant.

Key learning outcomes include:

  • „Intensive study of drapery
  • „„Composition techniques
  • Observation
  • Tonal underpainting
  • Oil painting in layers and glazing
  • Representing scale and form
  • „„Crit and reflection methods

Keehan’s work investigates expanded notions of painting by creating painting/sculpture hybrids. The work explores the parameters and boundaries imposed by conventional painting practices. These ideas are analysed through the materiality of painting and detailed paintings of drapery. Drapery has a wealth of history relating to painting and these connotations amplify the experience of viewing. Bringing together the techniques of painting folds on canvas alongside re-articulating the frame, the structures create complex experiences of real and imaginary spaces. Keehan’s approach is external, opening up possibilities beyond the flat surface of the work, at times into the architectural environment.

Allyson Keehan, born in Ireland in 1978, is a visual artist, researcher and a PhD candidate in Fine Art Painting at Glasgow School of Art. She holds a Masters in Fine Art from Byam Shaw School of Art (University of the Arts London) 2004, and a BA Hons Degree in Fine Art Painting from Limerick School of Art and Design 2002. She is Graduate Teaching Assistant in the Painting & Printmaking department and MLitt Curatorial Practice in Glasgow School of Art. She has exhibited widely including London, Berlin, Glasgow, and throughout Ireland. Recent exhibitions include; two-person show with Sin Park Virtues of the Real/ Necessity of the Imaginary, 2019 The Art Space Glasgow. Solo exhibitions: Further Complications of Hybrid Notions, Claremorris Gallery, Mayo, 2014, Shimmering Synthetic Appearances; I Want to Put You Back In, Belfast 2012, Lookie Likie, Mimetic Protagonist, Dublin 2011, Blue Studio Project Exhibition, Berlin 2010. Selected group exhibitions include; Clash (Femininity) curated by Vava Collective Glasgow 2019, Royal Scottish Academy Open Exhibition Edinburgh 2017, Transmission Members Show Glasgow 2017, Whereabouts you are curated Allyson Keehan and Viviana Checchia (CCA) Reid Gallery Glasgow 2016, Transmission Members Show Glasgow 2016, RHA Annual, Dublin 2015, Periodical Review #4, Ormston House Limerick 2015, Lonely Plant, Luan Art Gallery 2015.

Keehan was awarded the Wellcome Trust scholarship 2015, Merit Prize in The Golden Fleece Award 2012, and The Arts Council, An Chomhaire Ealaíon’s Bursary 2012. Recent residencies and fellowships include Cove Park 2019, Cill Rialaig 2014, Ballinglen Arts Foundation 2013, the RHA Studios 2012 and Takt Berlin 2010. Recent conferences include, Research Practice Practice Research, National Association of Fine Art Education UK 2016, and There’s a Ghost in my House, NCAD Dublin 2015.

Required for application:

A short CV (PDF documents only. Maximum file size 500K)

Up to three low resolution images of your work. Preferably recent representational works (JPG format only. Maximum file size 500K)

Please note that places on these courses are limited.


As part of the RHA School Access Programme, two free places on RHA School workshops, courses, life-drawing sessions and masterclasses will be offered. One to an artist currently enrolled at any of the third level art colleges in Ireland. The second free place will be offered to an artist of merit at any stage of their career. This additional free place has been made available through the generosity of an anonymous donor. The total number of free Access places available will be announced with each course, workshop or masterclass. Artists and art students who wish to be considered for these places should include a CV, three images of current practice and a cover letter providing a short statement indicating how they would benefit from attending any of the RHA School activities as part of their online application.

Queries about any of the RHA School classes, workshops or masterclasses should be forwarded to


Image: Allyson Keehan, Fabricating Fantasy: Red, 2019, Image courtesy of the artist.