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Portrait Painting from a Photo

Learn to achieve good proportions and render flesh tones in this portrait painting from a photo class.

Portrait Painting from a Photo

Learn to achieve good proportions and render flesh tones in this portrait painting from a photo class.
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In this class, I will walk you through the stages of developing a portrait painting using photographic reference. I demonstrate in oils, but this process would also work well in acrylics.

We will utilize warm and cool lighting to achieve dynamic colors, giving a contemporary feeling to portraits painted with traditional techniques. You will learn how to achieve a better likeness as well as how to paint convincing flesh tones. Lessons cover the stages for developing a painting in color, the structure of the face and features, as well as value, edges, and modeling with color temperature.

The beginner will learn fundamental principles such as how to mix colors and render form modeling. The more advanced student will discover how to take their work to the next level and achieve the finish that they desire.


This course is for all levels, and there are no prerequisites for this class.

About the instructors

Kristy Gordon

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Kristy Gordon received her BFA from the Ontario College of Art and Design in 2011 and her MFA from The New York Academy of Art in 2013. She has exhibited her work in solo and group exhibitions throughout Canada, the United States, Europe and China at venues including the European Museum of Modern Art in Barcelona, Spain, the National Academy Museum, NYC and Flowers Gallery, NYC. A three-time recipient of the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant, her work has won numerous awards including an Exceptional Merit Award from the Portrait Society of America and Best of Show in the National Art Premier at Elmhurst Art Museum. She has received residencies at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, Shanghai University, OCAD University Florence, Italy and has apprenticed with Odd Nerdrum in Norway and France. Gordon’s work and art writing has been featured in publications, including The Artist’s Magazine, International Artist, Fine Art Connoisseur, and Bravo!’s Star Portraits. Kristy has taught drawing and painting classes internationally since 2008 at institutions and academies including the New York Academy of Art, The National Academy (New York), The Academy of Realist Art (Ottawa and Boston), and Art Escape Italy (Florence). She has lectured and done painting demonstrations at China Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, The Art of the Portrait in Washington, DC and Take Home A Nude and Sotheby’s in New York City. Her paintings hang in more than 600 collections worldwide including the Government of Ontario Art Collection, The Clearing House (NYC) and Touchstones Nelson Museum of Art and History. Gordon is represented by Grenning Gallery in Sag Harbor and Cube Gallery in Ottawa, Canada.

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