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What I Learned - "Donna's Girl" - How to Paint Portraits the Easy Way!

Before I put brush to paper for this painting, I had an idea of a new formula to follow for an easier way to paint light skinned portraits, but I didn't know if it would work or not. My goal was to create a painting process that is easier to follow for more beginner level artists that doesn't get too complex when painting a portrait, which can take many, many layers of glazes to get all the nuanced medium values painted correctly.

I've noticed a style of painting portraits lately that I thought was very aesthetically pleasing but also a simplified way to paint, mostly because the medium values are lightened. This creates more contrast in a light skinned Caucasian portrait, and contrast is a very pleasing thing to have in a portrait. And, when you have to balance lights, mediums, AND darks, it gets a lot more complicated. What if you only had to balance TWO values? It should be a lot easier, right? Well....

To my delight, as this painting unfolded, I realized that I was onto something because this didn't go through the usual ugly stage - and the key is, there were so few medium values - it was mostly light and darks. 80% of the time, a painting in the ugly stage is ugly because there are too many mediums, I'm convinced! It takes a lot of work to build up nuanced medium values in a portrait, and then even more work to balance them all out to get the portrait out of the ugly stage, so in this tutorial, I just left out MOST of the medium values. Taaaaaa Daaaaaaaaa, a MUCH easier way to paint portraits that look dramatic and full of life!

This new formula is a game changer. With this simplified approach, you can achieve stunning results without all the extra work. Not only is this technique easier, but it also creates a unique and eye-catching style that is sure to impress. By focusing on the contrast between light and dark, you can create a portrait that is bold, dramatic, and full of life. It is available to my $13+ students, or you will be able to purchase it as an individual tutorial HERE or join at the $13 level to gain access to this and my library of over 100 tutorials. Join for a year and get month 11 and 12 free!

I can't wait to see what my students create with this new technique. I have a feeling it's going to make portrait painting accessible to a lot more of you! So, whether you're a beginner or an experienced artist, give it a try and see for yourself how easy and rewarding it can be to create a beautiful portrait with much less work. Be sure to share your experiments at

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