Nancy Tankersley

Nancy Tankersley: Essential Painting Principles


Video Length: 2 Hours
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Nancy helps you get grounded in the essentials!

  • How to “knit” a painting together to create a natural flow
  • How to create illusions in your paintings (this alone is magical!)
  • The answer to the BIG question every artist has on their mind
  • The difference between what beginners and advanced painters see
  • How to create distance in a still life
  • Important exercises to help you master the painting
  • Setting up your still life scene to match what you really love to paint! 
  • Why NOT to use nouns when you paint (you’ve gotta see this!)
  • How to get from where you are to where you want to be — it’s never too late!
  • Is it in the light or is it in the shadow? (You’ll never struggle with this one again!)
  • What MOST painters lack (and now you’ll have it in abundance!)
  • Overcome any belief that still life is b-o-r-i-n-g!
  • Avoid pigeonholing yourself (if you love it, paint it!)
  • Caution, there’s an abrupt edge there...
  • The #1, hands-down, “no question about it” way to become a better painter 
  • …And so much more for you!


Not everything is as it seems…

We may see details differently than other people do, even when we’re looking at the same thing!

Colors, shapes, and even what the focal points are is all in the eyes of the artist…

But there are sound principles that you must know in order to create the illusion of reality in your artwork. 

By understanding a few important, tried-and-true principles, you’ll become a better painter who produces higher-quality artwork that you’ll be proud to show.

In this video, Nancy teachesevery type of painter — landscape, figure, portrait, plein air, you name it — that the best way to solidify and practice the essential painting principles you must have is to paint still life.

Regardless of what kind of paintings you like to do, Nancy’s techniques are designed to help you build a solid foundation to advance your painting skills forever.

  • If you’re passionate about plein air painting, you’ll be setting up a still life scene that echoes what you’ll find in nature. This allows you to practice without having to plan a trip, take your gear outdoors, or deal with changing light and weather. This will set you up for great success when you do your next onsite painting! 
  • Love to paint figures and portraits but find it impractical to have a model sit for you while you experiment? Nancy shows you how to set up a still life so you can try out different ideas, techniques, lighting, and sets. The next time you work with a model, you’ll already know how you want things to look!
  • Do you paint landscapes from color studies or photos? Super! Let Nancy show you how to set up and paint a still life that will give you a much better perspective on shapes, color, and relationships. This “real life” practice is what will make a big difference in your artwork.


Nancy breaks things down so you can master the essentials, something that will impact your painting forever. She’ll then string those components together fast. Soon, you’ll be creating paintings that are intentional and purposeful.

You’ll be seeing things like you’ve never seen them before — colors, shapes, and details!

Expect to have your mind opened — seeing the abstract and then deciding whether or not to loosen up.

If you struggle to see detail, prepare yourself to discover new things in new ways and choose how to represent those things in your paintings.

Nancy is a straight shooter who lays it all out for you. Because of her top-notch teachingand painting skills, Nancy talks and walks you through nearly every brushstroke. You’ll not only see it, she’ll tell you why she’s doing it and how it will ultimately benefit the overall painting.

This is a great video for every artist at every skill level.


• An interview with the artist
• A digital gallery
• A full painting demonstration of
Sunflowers in Texas


Customer Reviews

Based on 4 reviews
Trudy Jones
Great Teaching video

Nancy Tankersley is a terrific teacher. Her recent still life video is so relevant to landscape painting. This is the kind of video I will watch over and over … thanks Nancy

Carol A Strickland
Terrific instruction!

I own several LilieDahl DVDs, but this is the best for the subject that it handles (that I can determine from the DVDS I've seen). We get a fabulous demo (including a section in which the instructor trashes her entire block-in even after attempts to physically move objects around, didn't work in her composition. She flips the now-toned canvas on its side and begins again. She keeps linking how she approaches the still life to working in, say, plein air. Above all, she insists that (to paraphrase) we are the god of our painting. WE determine what we want to portray. WE move things around to please ourselves and to fulfill that vision. We exaggerate, say, aerial perspective in order to increase the idea that this two-dimensional painting is one depicting a three-dimensional "reality." Cool beans! I also very much enjoyed the interview section, and went to sign up for the aritst's newsletter on her website. Glad I bought this.

Francine Doucet
Good techniques that any one can use to further their art

I prefer a more realistic style with more definition; however, I enjoyed this and found that I learned much that I could apply to my own painting. Thank you.

Linda Olsen
A basic must-have for your art library

I think this is an excellent dvd because Nancy's explanations and advice are easy to understand for beginners and terrific reminders for those further on in their painting career. I plan to watch it periodically to keep myself on track and because I am certain that there are deeper levels of understanding that come with experience. As I wrote, this one is a keeper.