Your Painting Plan
Join Sophie’s Art School
Become a member of the Art School and get access to all courses, articles and tutorials.
Choose your First Course
Take your pick from a library of courses, regular workshops and more. Start learning the core principles of painting in a fun and practical way.
Pop in the Cafe
Make yourself at home in the Art School community and make new friends, ask questions or just ‘hang out’.
Be a Confident Painter
Apply the 5-step method taught throughout the school and know you can paint anything you want! Enjoy down-to-earth support, a flexible but serious approach to painting and be part of our warm and supportive family of artists!
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 regular 5-day video-based workshops (more info here). The focus is on oils and pastel but topics vary.
Inspirational Articles, Interview, Tutorials and Check Lists
A ever-growing resource library filled with useful, inspirational, educational and practical articles, tips, interviews and lists.
Active, Supportive Community
The Art Cafe is our very own virtual art community 'tables' for all sorts of art. This is the best place to ask your questions, post your work and assignments, get feedback or make new friends. You will also find Sophie here on most days. More info here.
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 regular 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, regular feedback and support in the community, and an active class allow you to learn from the comfort of your home. After the workshops end you can take them (again) in your own time and space via the Workshop Library.
Florals in Pastel
13 - 17 April
Landscape in Pastel
11 - 15 May
Portrait in Oils
Learn at Your Own Pace
You can take courses as slow 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 safe and friendly place to share your art, ask for feedback, get ideas, admire art, hang out and make new friends. The Art Cafe is our very own community.
No Art School is complete without it's Cafe! Connect with fellow artists from all over the world and make new friends.
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
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
Regular 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.
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
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.
Not sure? Have a question for Sophie? Just email and ask!
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!
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 Library. For more info and a list of upcoming workshops, check out the workshop page.
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 Art Cafe community 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.
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.
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.