Learn to draw and paint portraits

Dear Michael,

Would you be surprised if I told you I'd been searching half my life for this kind of instruction? I wanted to go to art school from a child, but I was so disappointed by a visit to the art college when I was 17 that I changed direction completely and went to university to do languages instead. Since then, I've dabbled and futzed and eventually made my way via craft towards textile art, but always I've wanted to go back and learn the real skills of drawing and painting. As an adult, even if you can find someone to teach you (and that's not easy) outside a major city, you likely can't afford it.

Sarah painting

I've been receiving your newsletters for a couple of years now and always learn something, but I still felt I needed to start right at the beginning again, being so out of practice ... it is exactly what I'd hoped it would be: good solid explanation and demonstration of the skills and techniques, with progressive exercises to build them. I'm so pleased!

Best wishes
Fiona B.
Northhampton, UK

portrait painting 2021
Michael Britton, Stranger in a White Hat, Oil on Panel, 18x21" 2021

Upcoming 2021 Virtual Art Classes via ZOOM

'I've learnt more from your online workshops than I have from my previous face to face courses combined and at a fraction of the cost. Your teaching is comprehensive, yet clear and engaging.'

P. Delaney
Sydney, Australia

Alla Prima Portrait Painting in Oil

Painting portraits alla prima

Alla Prima is painting wet-into-wet in one session to create a portrait that is as fresh as hot biscuits.

Learn how to paint Alla Prima portraits in oil that are as fresh as hot biscuits.

In this three-session course you will complete a total of three paintings where you will learn a very efficient process of first blocking-in and fixing the composition/color scheme and then establishing the forms of the face with a succinct economy of means.

An economy of means is learning how to develop form with as few brush strokes as possible while still working from general to specific.

The focus is on the four main aspects of a portrait: Proportion, Value, Color, and Edge.

You will be painting from portrait references that will be supplied to you.

The Zoom classes are recorded and made available to you so that you can refer back to them again and again.

Materials List

Tuesdays, 10:00 - 12:30
Pacific Standard Time
May 25 to June 8, 2021
3 Sessions

US$207.00

Limited to eight participants.

Painting Portraits in Oil | Foundation to Bravura

Portrait Painting - Foundation to Bravura

Learn the entire process of painting portraits in oil from the underpainting to finish.


Michael Britton, Wilm, Oil on Panel, 11 x 14", 2021

In this three-session workshop you will learn how to paint a dynamic portrait in oil from a photograph.

The language of the photograph is different from that of painting. In this workshop you will learn the process of how to translate the photographic image into a painting that is much more than a mere copy of the photograph.

You will learn how to accurately block-in the big shape before fixing the facial proportions to establish both your composition and the likeness.

From there learn how to decide upon the dominant color harmony and design thrust in the Ebauche stage. This is the initial coloring-in of the painting that sets the timbre of the portrait.

Learn how to construct value structures to render three-dimensional form and the practice of spotting color notes mix accurate flesh tones that breath life.

Using both the brush, knife, fingers and brush handle you will learn how to exploit the full-bodied materiality of oil paint to create dynamic and expressive portraits with a powerful abstract structural surface (the patina).

The photographic reference will be supplied. If you prefer to work from your own photograph I will need to review it before the course begins.

The Zoom classes are recorded and made available to you so that you can refer back to them again and again.

Materials List

Friday, Saturday, Sunday, 10:00 - 12:30
Pacific Standard Time
June 18 to 20, 2021
3 Sessions

US$207.00

Limited to eight participants.

I have your portrait drawing course and it is wonderful. I watched it once and then I watched and did a drawing at the same time. I took notes on the techniques. The drawing came out fabulous for my first time. I can really see why it helps to know anatomy. I drew the muscles and bone with you and when I came back to the face it really helped to get the shape right. This was better than any seminar I've been to and cheaper.

Thanks again, I am so excited, as I am working to change careers. I feel inspired and hopeful.

Mikolean M.L.
Fernandina Beach, FL

Michael Britton

About Michael Britton

Michael Britton is a New York City trained artist (New York Academy of Art) who has taught several thousand artists (some of whom have gone on to full-time art careers as painters and teachers) in his several decades long career. He was the Artistic Director of the Vancouver Academy of Art, Canada for six years and has also taught drawing for Walt Disney Studios, amongst numerous other appointments throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. He is also the author of several art-training videos including Mastering Portrait Drawing.

If you have any questions regarding the courses please feel free to contact me at michael-britton-workshops@artacademy.com