Learn to draw and paint portraits

Lesson 15: The Power of Triangles

Power-of-Triangles in portrait drawing

Michael Britton, Ebauche - Demonstration, 11x14",
Oil on Panel, 2021

Miss a lesson?

#1: Intro and Notes on Drawing

#2: Unity

#3: Elements of Composition

#4: Architecture of Design

#5: Beginning a Painting

#6: Color Harmonies

#7: Creative Process | Pochade

#8: Creative Process 2 | Watercolor Study of A Young Girl

#9: Getting the BIG Shape

#10: A Walk in a Frozen Wood

#11: Drawing Hands

#12: Drawing the Skull

#13: Velazquez: Alla Prima

#14: Creative Process - Redux

#15: The Power of Triangles

Upcoming Zoom Classes

Video Workshops

Blocking in and establishing the internal forms in portraiture are often a major stumbling obstacle for both beginners and experienced artists. But take heart! There is an elegant solution: The Power of Triangles. There are only three of them: equilateral, isoceles and right-angle. Triangles are much easier to assess than rectangles and vague anatomical forms.

In this short HD video taken from the first session of my Zoom class from Singapore (yes, I teach internationally although I am currently based in Vancouver, Canada) I discuss how to look for triangles which greatly aid in establishing the facial forms in the ebauche (which is the initial coloring in of a painting).


I studied with Michael for 4 years in Vancouver when he had the Vancouver Academy of Art. Micheal offered several courses including composition using euclidian geometry, color theory, drawing with graphite and sanguine, and painting the figure and portrait with watercolor. I took every available course during those four years. I have never had a teacher before or since who was able to impart a system of detailed learning including every stage to accomplish a finished work. Years have passed and I was easily able to translate the watercolor studies to oil which I believe gave me a unique advantage in understanding how to keep color vibrant and applying paint in a conscious approach. I still use all the information that Michael passed on from his years of studying in NYC. The information is solid and practical which always grounds my work in structure, composition, and color.

Vancouver, Canada

Upcoming 2021 Virtual Art Classes via ZOOM

Painting Portraits in Oil | Foundation to Bravura

Oil painting art class

Michael Britton, Monique, Oil on Panel, 11x14", 2021

In this five-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.

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.

The full course description and materials list.

Materials List

Saturday, 10:00 - 1:00
Pacific Standard Time
September 18 to October 16, 2021
5 Sessions


'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

Practice of Mixing Flesh Tones

The Practice of Mixing Flesh Tones & Spotting Color Notes

The Newest Release by Michael Britton

No more chalky and lifeless portraits! In this 6 hours and 45 minutes download video workshop you will learn step-by-step the time-tested principles of mixing fleshtones that breath life and emotion.

With each guided exercise your skill and understanding of mixing flesh tones will deepen as you learn the practice of juxtaposing cool and warm hues with tint, tone, shade and complementaries.

And that's only the first part of this indepth six hours and 45 minutes workshop. The second part teaches you how to apply the paint and develop your own expressive brushwork and voice. Spotting color notes is an elegant and dynamic process of painting. It is the method of Rembrandt, Frans Hals, Manet, Wyeth, etc.