Mark says that students of his method should paint 10 complicated or 20 simple still lifes. And I know he thinks it's good to learn to paint from life. I'm brand new at all of this and eager to begin! But what I really want to paint is portraits. So I'm wondering, if I really want to follow Mark's method to the letter, should I still paint the 10/20 still lifes first before turning to portraits? I will if that's what Mark believes is the best way to learn to paint. But I'm wondering if I can substitute some of those first 10/20 paintings with portraits.
I've also noticed that there's not much on the website on how to paint portraits from life. Does anyone paint portraits entirely from life, without using photos at all? Do I need to buy the $100 video to learn more about portrait painting specifically, or have I missed something that's free on the site?