“NG (Poster Study)” by founding faculty Nicole Michelle TULLY, oil on linen, 2014


“The radiance of the beautiful appears here like a light that shines over what is formed [lux splendens supra formatum].”

– Hans Georg Gadamer


INSTRUCTOR: LIGHT ON THE PORTRAIT will be taught by founding faculty N. Michelle TULLY


Video content will be hosted on Vimeo, and available only through the Studio Escalier website.

Demonstration slideshows and photos essays will be provided too.

Individual weekly critique and weekly group meetings will take place on Zoom.

A private Facebook Group will be created for those students who wish to post their progress and share their work during the course.

The Facebook group will be monitored by the instructor and participation is optional.

CLASS DATES: Sunday, 3 JANUARY 2021 – Friday, 29 JANUARY 2021 (4 weeks)


New course content ( video lectures, demonstrations, slideshows, assignments) will be be published online each week by 12:00AM midnight on Friday and Saturday night (Paris time – GMT+1), making it available first thing in the morning on Saturday and Sunday, to all students worldwide.

Weekly online group meeting and instructor presentation held twice each SUNDAY, one morning and one evening time slot (Paris time – GMT+1).

Individual critiques will be arranged as required once each week on THURSDAY or FRIDAY.

CLASS SIZE: 18 students, per 4-week section
Entry by application only. Anyone may apply.
TUITION PRICE: 650 EUROS for 4 weeks


HOW to APPLY: Admissions for 2021 ONLINE | LIGHT ON THE PORTRAIT are OPEN.

Please review the ADMISSIONS page for general information about the application process.

Laptop and desktop users should use the link below to apply online now:


Tablet and smartphone users can apply offline.
Request the course application using the link below:





The class will focus on what we call “the poster study”, which is a way of perceiving and organizing pictorial color across several scales simultaneously – expressing the kind, quality, amount, actions, and distribution of the visible light.

This well-tempered, broad and true vision of the action of light is the instrument of painting beautifully from observation, as well as its fabric.

The poster study and “poster vision” are also the fundamental visual skill of the realist painter, the means by which they may most meaningfully understand and express space, time, likeness and presence in portraiture.

That is what this course is about.


Students will make weekly paintings from pre-recorded video portrait models, filmed at our studios in Paris and Argenton-Chateau, France. Two different portrait models will pose per week, each filmed from 1 or 2 sightlines. The instructor will offer video demonstrations painted from the same videos, as well as self-portraiture from life.

Ms TULLY will publish a minimum of one video and one slideshow demonstration per week. Each student will have a 30-minute private critique per week. The class will meet once a week online as a group, for discussion.

Studio Escalier will also host a private social media page for those students who wish to post their progress and share their work.



N. Michelle TULLY (b. 1972) is full-time faculty and co-founder of Studio Escalier.

Ms. Tully has shown her work in galleries in the United States and Europe for over 25 years, including Iliad Antik (NYC), the Sherry French Gallery (NYC), Klaudia Marr Fine Art (Santa Fe, NM) and the John Pence Gallery (San Francisco). Her work has entered several distinguished private collections in the US and Europe, including the collections of Margot Gordon, Charles B. Wessler, and HRH the Prince of Wales.

In 2015, Ms Tully’s portrait “NG” was selected to be included in the annual Royal Society of Portrait painters exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London.

In 2012, Ms. Tully’s work was selected by ACOPAL (the America China Oil Painters Art League) to be included in the first major exhibition of contemporary American realist painting in China. The ACOPAL exhibition debuted at the National Arts Club in New York City in 2012, and traveled to several major museums in China in 2013.

She has been the recipient of grants, fellowships and exhibition prizes from the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation, the New York Academy of Art, the Prince of Wales Fellowship, the National Academy of Design, the Circulo de Bellas Artes in Madrid, Spain, the Leslie T. and Frances U. Posey Foundation and the Stacey Foundation.

She received her MFA degree in Painting from the Graduate School of Figurative Art – New York Academy of Art (2004). She went to art school in New York City at the Art Students League and National Academy of Design, and in France at the Ecole Albert Defois under Ted Seth Jacobs (1996-2001). She holds a BA degree magna cum laude in Art History from New York University.

Ms Tully was one of eight original members of the Jacob Collins Studio (1994-97) and was one of eleven founding members of the Water Street Atelier (1997-98), both in Brooklyn, NY.