An Online community for Learning a solid painting method and create art to be proud of
Take online courses, get personal support, find new painting pals, and become a more confident painter
Do you feel like you keep on dabbling in your art, but you're making little progress?
I Am Helping Painters Learn An Easy Strategy To Become More Confident Artists
Your Painting Plan
Join Sophie’s Art School
Become a member of the Art School and get access to all courses and get personal support.
Choose your First Course
Take your pick from a library of courses, monthly workshops and more.
Pop in the Cafe
Make yourself at home in the Art School community and make new friends.
Become a Confident Painter
Learn to apply a structured approach to painting that will give you the freedom to express yourself in your own way.
Grow Your Art
Sophie's Art School
Workshops & Courses
Online video courses and monthly online 5-day workshops teaching the fundamentals of painting and drawing. Take a course in your own time and pace (see the course library here) or join our monthly 5-day video-based workshops (more info here). There is personal support on a daily basis.
Inspirational Articles, Interview, Tutorials and Check Lists
A ever-growing resource library filled with useful, inspirational, educational and practical articles, tips, interviews and lists.
As a student of Sophie's Art School you get ongoing support on your work. Sophie is available on a daily basis in the online private community to provide feedback and answer questions.
Loved this workshop! I liked that it was short and very focused and I could see results quickly. Your daily videos were just the right length to give good guidance and not overly long. Your comments on our posts during the week were helpful and very encouraging. They offered specific suggestions for improvement which I appreciated.
This is the most unique online art course I have taken. The setup is unique and the contents takes a pastel newbie from pastel and paper types through mark making and beyond. Also Sophie is there every step of the way and I think that she is the most valuable resource in the course.
Just wanted to let you know that after 5 months I've finished my course in The Pastel Place and what a fantastic time I've had ! I feel so much more confident to take on new projects now. All thanks to Sophie for being a great teacher and encouraging me each step of the way. Definitely sign up for this course but make sure you take up all It's challenges !!
Our monthly online painting workshops are a vital part of Sophie's Art School. Together with your fellow students we follow the School's 5-step method in a 5 day painting class. Daily video lessons, personal daily support, and an active class allow you to learn from the comfort of your home.
Next Workshop runs in:
Florals in Pastel
13 - 17 April
Landscape in Pastel
11 - 15 May
Portrait in Oils
Dates to be confirmed
Learn at Your Own Pace
You can take courses as quick or fast as you like. Binge watch or follow the course over the space of days or months. Totally up to you.
Paint in Your Own Space
No need to haul your art materials to another place, be early to secure an easel or having to smell your fellow student's medium. Paint in the comfort of your own home or studio.
Re-Watch as Often As You Like
Watch the course lessons as often as you like, pause, rewind or fast forward as you please.
Post your course assignments to the private course forum and get personal feedback and suggestions from your tutor and fellow students.
The Art Cafe
Our Very Own Online Art Community
A free and public place to share your art, ask for feedback, get ideas, admire art, hang out and make new friends. Join The Art Cafe, it's free and always open!
Members of Sophie's Art School get access to their own private areas where they can post their course assignments and discuss their progress.
No Art School is complete without it's Cafe! Connect with hundreds of fellow artists from all over the world. Pop in and say hello!
A 5-Step Method
Throughout Sophie's Art School we work on a 5-step painting method that will help you paint whatever you want to paint. These fundamental steps form the structure of your painting and provide you with the freedom to put your own creative stamp on your work. Join us in the Art School to practice and perfect this method.
- 1Step 1. Setting Up
Placement, composition and value underpainting make up our very first steps into creating a painting.
- 2Step 2. Underpainting and Block-in
A colour block-in will help you figure out colour relations and provide you with an idea of where your painting is going.
- 3Step 3. Refine Form
Once you are happy with composition, value and colour, you can move on to refine the shapes and create form.
- 4Step 4. Details
Decide where more detail is required and work on refining your painting.
- 5Step 5. Finish
Step back and figure out what your painting needs to 'work'. Adjust edges, detail, value, chroma and more, until the final signature stroke.
See for Yourself
Local Arts Club
Sophie's Art School
Personal support and feedback
Make new friends
A variety of topics to work on
Support for more advanced students
Working towards a solid foundation in painting principles
Monthly 5 day intensive workshops
Comprehensive pastel painting course
Make new friends from all over the world
Daily access to your tutor
Take a painting lesson whenever you want
Learn from your own home or anywhere you like
Work as fast or slow as you like
Re-watch any lesson
You get Sophie to help you out and hang out with! 😉
Sophie Ploeg is an experienced art tutor and a professional artist. Her paintings have featured regularly at prestigious exhibitions such as the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, the RWA, and the Pastel Society. She has won the BP Travel Award at the BP Portrait Award Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London. Her work has been exhibited, published and collected in the UK, Europe and the US.
Sophie is self-taught and shares her practical approach to painting and drawing through courses and workshops. Sophie’s painting techniques stem from trial and error, picking and choosing; over the years she developed her own techniques, often fed through selected bits and pieces from existing methods and approaches. She does not follow any particular school of thought but prefers to use painting techniques that are fun and ‘work’.
Sophie’s paintings are realistic and full of atmosphere. They seem to echo traditional methods and style, but are painted in a modern and practical manner. Her work celebrates the beauty of every person and the heritage we all share.
Improve Your Painting Skills and Find a Supportive Community of Arty Folk
Join Sophie’s Art School
and enjoy a variety of online courses, montly workshops and more
£25 per month
Who is This For
- Painters who want to get more serious about stuff and learn a solid strategy that works.
- Total beginners and more advanced very welcome.
- Painters who work in soft pastel or oils (and acrylics a little).
- Painters who want to improve their portraiture and still life skills.
Absolutely loved it. I enjoy working with others and this felt like we were doing it together as a group as much as one can "virtually." But most of all I enjoy learning from someone who obviously has a great deal of knowledge and is a gentle, kind soul.
I could not have been happier with this workshop - Enjoyed the format with all these talented painters. This was such a great workshop. Loved feeling part of the group and also to have such wonderful tutoring for such an amazing price. I haven’t yet finished but have a bit more confidence to go forward.
I really feel I am learning and improving all the time. I used to worry about never having been to art school but now it doesn't seem so important. I feel that I'm getting superb teaching and also getting support from others who are also keen to improve.
Learn a clear strategy to tackle your next painting challenge
Find joy in the painting process, knowing you're on the right path
Check the Frequently Asked Questions below or simply Ask Sophie!
Is it free to join The Art Cafe?
Yes it is! The Art Cafe is free and public and welcomes all arty folk. You can browse around the cafe without making an account, so why not pop in?
What do I get for my monthly fee?
Your monthly fee unlocks the door to Sophie's Art School and gives you access to everything inside. You can take wichever course you like, and take as long or short as you like. On top of that you get personal support from Sophie, monthly workshops, regular tutorials, articles and interviews, and a private community.
I want to share one of my paintings for feedback
If you are a member of Sophie’s Art School then please head over to the Members’ Corner where you can post your work and get in-depth feedback from Sophie and your fellow members.
Alternatively you can head over to the public Art Cafe and post your work there and ask for feedback from fellow artists.
How do I make sure I don’t miss a Workshop?
As a member you will have free access to all workshops and you will only need to click ‘enter’ on the workshops.
A provisional workshop schedule is posted on the workshops page. On your dashboard the next upcoming workshop will always be at the top of the page.
Join the Mailing List and make sure you have set your preferences to ‘Art School’. You will then get the latest news and hot topics straight from school!
I don’t understand the difference between the Art School website and The Art Cafe
The Art School is the website where all courses are based, registration and account info is held, etc. This is where you are now.
The Art Cafe is our community or forum. This is on a separate website.
The Art Cafe is a public forum: anyone can join and post, and whatever is posted can be seen by anybody on the internet.
But The Art Cafe has private areas (Studios) where the course communities and members' areas are. These Studios are only accessible and visible by paid members.
Every Art School member will need an account for the Art School and a separate account for the forum.
How do workshops work?
A workshop is a course that starts and ends on fixed dates and is semi-live. Workshops usually last 5 days. Every morning I will publish a video lesson after which you can get on with your painting project. Every day everyone posts their progress in the private community studio for feedback and support. We'll work on various topics, broken down into 5 days, 5 video lessons. The class dynamic is strong in the community where everyone goes through the same stages. The community will stay open for one week after the workshop ends, after which it will close and be removed. The video lesson remain accessible in the Workshop Archive. For more info and a list of upcoming workshops, check out the workshop page.
How do I access a course community (Studio)?
All course communities live within The Art Cafe, in private sections called Studios. You will find the access key under each lesson inside a course. The lessons usually invite you to post your assignments or questions and give you a link to the community Studio.
Why would I want to become a member of Sophie’s Art School?
Well, it’s your call of course. But as a member you get your own art family: In the Members Corner you can ask questions and get in-depth feedback on your work. You can write in your Art Journal while Sophie and your fellow members encourage and support you in your journey. You will have access to all courses and workshops, the resource library (Paint Box) and be part of a great community.
It does not matter whether you want to grow into a professional artist, or are happy to paint as a hobby, or whether you are a professional artist already; whether you are a student, retired, or busy working. Everyone is welcome and we will support you wherever your journey takes you. We all want to improve our art, yet never forget the enjoyment we get from it.
How do I cancel my membership?
I am sorry to see you leave, but cancelling is really easy. Just go to your Account (top right) and then click ‘subscriptions’. Click Cancel, and you’re all done.
Where do I start?
If you have an account, you can start on the Welcome page (members only). You can find it under ‘My Account’ in the top right corner of this website. From there you can watch a tour of the website and community.
If you are not sure what course to do first, then visit the Where to Start page for some suggestions.
What payment methods do you accept?
You can pay via credit card or Paypal.
How do I post my course assignment in the forum?
Underneath every lesson, you will find the access key button, which will unlock the private private sub-forum for you. Click the key button and you'll be in the right place to post your work!
Do you offer courses on painting landscapes / seascapes / multi-media / etc ?
You can find the current courses available on the course page. Workshops have a wider range of topics, so please have a look there too. I generally offer courses on topics that I paint myself: oils, pastel, portraiture, still life etc. If you would love for me to create a course or workshop on a particular subject, just let me know!
Do you teach old-master techniques in oils?
Yes and no. I teach a tried and tested method of painting that is broken down into 5 steps: underpainting, block in, refinement shape and form, detail and finish. This method is often used in classical methods of painting. I do not teach courses on glazing. I welcome anyone who wants to use mediums and solvents, although I don't use them myself.
What about materials?
I do not prescribe a specific set of materials in my courses. I believe that you should use what suits you best. There is no point in literally copying someone else's favourite colours and brushes. Most courses and workshops will have some notes on the materials required though. If you have any questions about the materials needed for a course, or you are just not sure what to get, just let me know and I’ll give you some suggestions.