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Painting Portraits - Oil Painting Workshop

Welcome to the studio! I can’t wait to share some awesome PORTRAIT PAINTING techniques with you. I wanted to create an online workshop, that showed a wide range of subjects and approaches when it comes to painting realistic portraits.

This workshop contains SIX different subjects; different genders and skin types, showcasing a range of skin tones and styles! In each demonstration in this workshop, I show a different technique for how to create 3-Dimensional portraits that feel ALIVE!

We will talk a bunch about materials and I’ll share with you the brushes I use for specific techniques, as well as the colour combinations to create realistic skin tones. I will also share the photographic reference I’m using, giving you exclusive access to high res images, so you can try your hand at these techniques!

Included in this workshop are two BONUS FEATURES! To give you even more vital information, I’ve included a couple of special presentations; one on drawing the human head, and another extended colour mixing section, focused on the ZORN PALETTE. Ever heard of the Zorn Palette? This is all about using just 4 colours to create a wide range of skin tones, in a variety of different scenarios!

My aim with this workshop is to give you the information you’ll need to apply these techniques to your next portrait painting, to help take your work even further! This is the only portrait painting course you’ll need! 


 I’ve dedicated the last 16 years to mastering painting; let me show you some great techniques that will save you the time and effort grinding it out in the studio. Take your PORTRAIT paintings further – check out this workshop!


  • In each demonstration I show you my first strokes, constructing the portraits and creating a likeness from the outset. This will help solidify your sitter within the picture plane and define the 3-dimensional volume, ready for the initial colours.
  • We then block in our portrait with bold strokes of colour, establishing the major skin tones and a painterly background. From here we slow things down and I show the process of laying in refining strokes of detail, to make the sitter come to life!
  • You’ll come away with a new understanding for how to create a realistic looking portrait, that actually looks like your sitter! 
  • You’ll also learn how to handle oil painting materials with ease, by just adhering to a few tried and true principles. Oil painting needn’t be daunting or over-complicated. Once you have a grasp of the fundamentals, covered in this workshop, you’ll be painting up a storm! 

Session One – Kimmie

This is one of my favourite techniques for creating a realistic portrait. We are going to take a layered approach, creating a surface that is rich with colour. Kimmie has a smooth complexion, being of African-Canadian descent, with striking features. The ambient glow of the outdoor lighting highlights her facial features in a delicate way. I use Alkyd resins here to create layers that dry rapidly, allowing me to build detail quickly. Includes Bonus Feature – Drawing the human head.
Approx running time: 2 hrs 10 mins

Session Two – Stephanie

The Zorn Palette is an incredible and powerful combination of colours. Here I show how to take these four colours and create a wide variety of skin tones reflecting light. Stephanie is lit by a spotlight and a cold glow from a window, supplemented with a fluorescent tube. This creates a portrait with interest and a sculptural feel. Here, I paint the entire portrait in one layer, working wet-in-wet using Olegel as my medium. Includes Bonus Feature – The Zorn Palette.
Approx running time: 2 hrs

Session Three – Wayne

Wayne has great bone structure and a fabulous beard and moustache. In this demonstration, I take you through the initial steps of establishing the likeness through the construction phase, and then we layer in the oils quickly using a textures approach. Here, I use a high-chroma palette with some modern pigments. Using colour theory we keep our combinations in check with the use of our complimentary opposites. I also show you some cool techniques with brushes to create beard texture! 
Approx running time: 1 hr

Session Four – Eddy

Eddy strikes a classic pose and I light him from two angles. In this session, I demonstrate how to paint the portrait using a traditional palette of earth pigments. Optical colour mixing is utilised here to create a rich surface, balancing out a range of colours. This portrait has a classic feel, reminiscent of the old masters. This comes from the use of a wide range of tones and keeping our values in check throughout the process. 
Approx running time: 1 hr

Session Five – Tuhoe

Tuhoe is a striking looking Maori gentleman, sporting a full face tattoo. Since I first met Tuhoe, I felt he looked as if he stepped out of a Charles F Goldie painting. Here I show how to take sub-par reference material and turn it into something outstanding, inspiring and engaging. I use a similar traditional palette to Session Four, but this time we use a variety of glazes to create the sheen on the skin, the tattoos and also some delicate thin layers to round out the 3-Dimensional form.
Approx running time: 1 hr 47 mins

Session Six – Rachel 

In this demonstration I paint my wife, Rachel. I want to show you a traditional 17-18th century method with a modern twist. This technique is so dang cool! First, we paint a Bistre. This is a wash of earthy tone, rubbed back to reveal highlights. Once this is dry I apply a Grisaille, a thin tonal underpainting that turns our sitter into a smooth porcelain mannequin. We breathe life into our grisaille by applying thin strokes of glaze, and then some amazingly intricate details. This demonstration is the most chill painting session you’ll see, with soothing guitar and piano tracks to help you absorb the techniques! 
Approx running time: 3 hrs 48 mins

Bonus Feature One – Drawing the Human Head

I’ve been perfecting a method over the years, distilled from 2 great masters: Andrew Loomis and Burne Hogarth. I use this technique to construct the human head and create a lifelike proportional subject for any position! In this session, I give you the tools you’ll need to apply this to any model and create a likeness instantly! Viewed with session 1

Bonus Feature Two – The Zorn Palette

In this bonus feature, we spend some time exploring the possibilities of the Zorn palette. It’s amazing the dimension you can create in a painting with just 4 colours! I show you a quick colour chart and then we identify and isolate specific colours in the face of our sitter and match them! Viewed with session 2.


6 MP4 Files – 14.6GB – 12 hours of content
viewed in 1080p, no subtitles

$119 USD

I know you're going to LOVE this tutorial - if you're not 100% satisfied we offer a 30 day money-back guarantee!

Q & A

The files are relatively large so ensure you have enough space on your computer before commencing the download. Once i’ts saved on your computer you can then save this to a USB stick or portable drive to free up space.

You’ll need a good/fast internet connection to download the tutorials, as the speed of your connection will determine how long it takes to complete the download.

Make sure you download files individually, one at a time. An interrupted internet connection will cause the download to pause so please if your download stops, un-pause it instead of starting again.

Absolutely, for a technical issue, we are only an email away!

I make tutorials that everyone will gain something from. If you are a beginner, then this is a great place to start. You’ll no doubt learn some crucial techniques to accelerate your development as a painter. If you’re an advanced or professional artist you’ll come away with some new tricks refreshing your approach to creating paintings.

Absolutely, whilst the mediums have their differences many of the concepts here are the same. It all comes down to colour and composition and these elements are universal in painting

All of it! Whilst this presentation doesn’t show every single brushstroke I have filmed every stage of this painting. This piece took well over 80 hours; I boiled it down to the essential techniques into 7 hours!

Yes! Frequently. Colour mixing is important and intermittently through the presentation I show my palette and how I mix some of the colours in this painting.

You’re more than welcome to paint along. However I recommend using this tutorial as a guide to paint your own scenes and take these techniques to create your own unique vision. This will give you the nudge you need to take your paintings to the next level.

Yes, I have zoomed in to show some of these finer details being applied, particularly on the trees and in the grasses in the foreground

Yes, you can use your iPad to view the download, but please find out what software your version will require to watch a MP4 file first.