“Coco’s Mouth” by founding faculty Nicole Michelle TULLY, oil on linen, 2021

2023 AUTUMN ONLINE | LIGHT on the FEATURES (7-week program)

“The most beautiful forms have something about them like weakness, minuteness, or imperfection. But it is not every eye that perceives these blemishes. It must be an eye long used to the contemplation and comparison of these forms; and which, by a long habit of observing what any set of objects of the same kind have in common, that alone can acquire the power of discerning what each wants in particular. This long laborious comparison should be the first study of the painter who aims at the greatest style.

By this means, they acquire a just idea of beautiful forms; they correct nature with herself, her imperfect state by her more perfect. Their eye being enabled to distinguish the accidental deficiencies, excrescences, and deformities of things from their general figures, they make out an abstract idea of their forms more perfect than any one original; and by what may seem a paradox, they learn to design naturally by drawing their figures unlike to any one object.”

– Sir Joshua Reynolds, 14 December 1770


INSTRUCTOR: LIGHT ON THE FEATURES 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: FRIDAY, 3 NOVEMBER – Friday, 22 DECEMBER 2023 (7 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 live twice each SUNDAY, morning and evening (9:30AM and 6:00PM Paris time – GMT+1).

Individual critiques will be arranged as required once each week on THURSDAY or FRIDAY (9AM – 7PM Paris time – GMT+1).

CLASS SIZE: 18 students, per 7-week section
Entry by application only. Anyone may apply, worldwide.
TUITION PRICE: 1450 EUROS for 7 weeks


HOW to APPLY: Admissions for AUTUMN ONLINE | LIGHT on the FEATURES are closed.

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



Our ability to observe and draw with the brush – to make effective abstract structural decisions and to meaningfully light, shape, and design what we observe – is the core matter when we seek to express the character of anything, especially when it comes to the expression of individual features in the subject of portraiture.

To examine this topic, a different video portrait model will pose each week – the same pose filmed from 3 sightlines, and under different lighting conditions from week to week, filmed at our studios in Paris and Argenton-Chateau, France.

The instructor will offer video demonstrations drawn and painted from these same video life poses, as well as introductory lectures focusing on each feature: eye, nose, mouth, ears, and the general architecture of the face and head.

Students will then make weekly paintings from these pre-recorded video portrait models, and receive weekly critique one-on-one via Zoom.

“Two Views of Marco’s Nose” by N. Michelle TULLY, oil on linen, 2021

The instructor will additionally demonstrate and discuss the lighting, structure, and expression of facial features in copies painted after various Old Masters.

Ms TULLY will publish a minimum of one instructional video and one instructional 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 lecture and discussion.

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

“Eye after Van Dyck” by founding faculty Nicole Michelle TULLY, oil on linen, 2021



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 30 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.

“Eye Study on Green” & “Copy after Lawrence” by founding faculty Nicole Michelle TULLY