Valerie Stewart

Certified Portrait Instructor Program


The goal of this Certified Portrait Instructor Program is to find an elite group of painters who fully understand the Valerie Stewart Portrait Painting Process & Techniques and can adequately communicate those to other painters regardless of the painting 'style' being used. The painting style of each artist is uniquely their own (ie: impressionistic, photorealism, etc.) and can be shared but not taught. Our goal is to share and teach the techniques that Valerie implements in portrait painting while honoring the individual painting style of each prospective teacher.


Each applicant must have attended at least two (2) Valerie Stewart Portrait Seminars taught by Valerie Stewart. A letter of application must be submitted to Valerie Stewart (see Tier 1 below) to open the application process. Application letters are currently being accepted. Upon meeting the Seminar attendance requirements, acceptance of your application and receipt of your application fee you will be admitted into the program. The program consists of three stages (Tiers) and at the completion of each tier of work your submissions will be judged by a committee. This committee consists of artists & certified instructors. All judgments will be sent to you in writing and you will be given either a 'pass' to the next tier or a 'try again' suggestion. You must pass each tier before being allowed to move on to the next one. It is the goal of the committee to assist in the successful completion of the course for each applicant. Any 'try again' suggestions will be accompanied by a detailed explanation of just what needs to be done to obtain a 'pass' when re-submitted. We will partner with you in your effort to become a CERTIFIED PORTRAIT INSTRUCTOR!!!


Application Fee: $250


Your application must include a letter from you stating your reasons for wanting to become a portrait instructor (or, if you don't intend to teach, the reasons you think this course will benefit you) as well as the following:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Number of Valerie Stewart Portrait classes you have attended
  • (Optional) Other portrait teachers with whom you have studied

Upon receipt of your letter of application, you will receive a complimentary Teacher Kit including a set of portrait paints, 3 additional colors, to be determined by certification committee according to your photograph, and a set of professional portrait brushes. The kit will also contain photos that you will need to paint and submit to complete this tier. You may submit this letter and fee through the mail to VSP, Inc., 1244 Souza drive, El Dorado Hills, CA 95762.

You may also send it via e-mail to

Subject: PORTRAIT CERTIFICATION APPLICATION & PHOTOS (You may pay your fee via Pay Pal if you choose the internet submission option.)

You will be sent 3 photos to choose from. You will be required to paint two of these portraits to pass this portion of the certification process. You will begin painting your portraits and, upon completion of the Burnt Umber under-painting stage, a photo of your work must be submitted for review. A written critique will be sent to you for your consideration. Next, you will fully complete your portraits and, upon their completion, you will submit a photo of the final work for review. A written critique of each one will be sent to you. You will make suggested changes to your portraits. If you disagree with any critique the committee offers, you are welcome, even encouraged, to share your differing opinion with the critique committee for their consideration as this process is viewed as a partnership in learning and leadership. All work must be done exclusively by you and without any instructor supervision. You will receive grade of "pass" or "try again" after these first submissions. You may choose to submit up to 2 more projects under the same application fee to get a passing grade, if necessary. A failing grade will not be given without a detailed examination of your work, in writing, for you to study and will only be given if you have submitted 4 unsatisfactory pieces. If you fail this portion you may retake it within 12 months for a reduced fee of $150.

You will have 9 months to complete each tier of this program. However, if you would like to attend the next Tier 3 Portrait Art Symposium, Tier 1 and 2 must be submitted and satisfactorily completed. If you wish to take longer, upon completion of Tier 1 and Tier 2 you will be notified of the next Symposium date available.

This exercise will determine your general knowledge of the Valerie Stewart Portrait technique and your ability to complete portraits on your own. It is also designed to allow the committee to screen potential teachers prior to attending the final certification symposium in California. Your painting "style" is not critical but it is critical that you are able to achieve a likeness and fully understand this specific technique.

Continuing Education Fee: $250


Upon adequate completion of Tier 1, you will receive a "Tier 2 Submission packet."

In this packet, you will find several exercises to be completed and mailed in to be reviewed by the critique committee. These will include but are not limited to, how to paint each eye color, how to paint each hair color, light and dark skin colors and how to paint teeth and fingernails. You will be required to submit, in writing, the verbal instruction you would give the students to complete each step. You will also be required to critique, in writing, the work of other students to determine your ability to spot and explain errors to potential students. Patterns and forms with detailed instruction will be included in the packet and are fully explanatory. You will receive a grade of "pass" or "try again" when your packet is critiqued and returned to you. You may choose to correct only the areas where "try again" was noted. (i.e.: Each eye you painted was great except for the "blue eye". You would repaint the blue eye and resubmit only that one.) Under the same application fee, you can submit redone work twice on the same feature to get a passing grade if necessary. A failing grade will not be given without a detailed examination of your work, in writing. If you fail this portion you may retake it within 12 months for a reduced fee of $150.

Tier 2 must be completed before you are eligible to attend the Certification Symposium or within 9 months, whichever comes first.

To determine applicant's understanding and comprehension of detail techniques and to evaluate applicant's ability to critique another artist's work.



A meeting or conference for discussion of a topic, especially one in which the participants form an audience and make presentations.

All attendees must have successfully passed Tier 1 & Tier 2 of the Valerie Stewart Portrait Teacher Certification course within the last 24 months to attend a symposium. Over the course of the 5-day program, we will cover, in depth: painting techniques, methods of critiquing, classroom etiquette, self-promotion and much, much more. Trademarking and copyrighting will be discussed and some photography will be taught. A complete and detailed course synopsis will be sent to you with your "pass" certificate from Tier 2 of this course. To receive a teaching certificate you MUST attend a symposium and successfully complete all aspects of this course. Certificates will be awarded through the mail within 30 days of the completion of the symposium. Because of our stringent screening process, we fully expect 95% of all symposium attendees to receive their portrait teaching certificate.

Each tier of this course may be taken as many times as you desire, however, no refunds will be made to students not adequately completing any or all Tiers of the Certification process.

  • A 40% discount on all Valerie Stewart Portrait Products
  • You may add Valerie's name to your personal website
  • You may advertise your website and contact information on Valerie's website
  • You may be asked to co-teach a seminar with Valerie or act as a substitute teacher for Valerie if she is unable to teach a seminar herself. All pay for this service will be approved in advance by both parties.

Fullfill your Dream to be a Certified Valerie Stewart Portrait Instructor!