The final installment of our “Painting In Oils” series.

partfive

“Cameron” 12X16″ Oil on Canvas

There are probably as many ways to approach painting as artists. In this post I attempt to show how I paint portraits.

First, you need to gather your supplies:

  • Mineral Spirits
  • Rags (Or Paper Towels)
  • 12X16″ Stretched Canvas
  • Linseed Oil
  • Oil Paints (Utrecht)- Titanium White, Burnt Umber, Cobalt Blue, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Cadium Red. Naples Yellow and Dioxazine Purple
  • Paint Brushes (Utrecht) – Round #00, #2, #3, Filbert #4
  • Small Mirror
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Step One Example

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Step One – Detail

Step One:

  • Use mineral spirits with burnt umber oil paint to create a wash and lay in the basic shapes.
  • Use only the larger brush during this step.
  • Do not use any linseed oil or other medium at this point.
  • Push and pull the values to work out the composition, working from big to small shapes.
  • Use the small mirror to check your work. The mirror helps you to see problems in proportion etc…
  • You are not committed at this point.  If it not working just wipe off the thin paint and start over.
  • Only concern yourself with getting the basic shapes and forms at this point.
  • Make sure you keep with the traditional placement of the features in mind as you work.
  • Remember the more white you add the slower it will dry so use it sparingly.
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Step Two Example

Take a brief break and step away before beginning step two. So you have a fresher perspective.

Step Two:

  • If the paint is dry to the touch, oiling out will help with the paints flow and correct use of color.
  • Correct anything that may not look correct from Step One.
  • Begin to lay in the basic colors of the flesh and develop the values further.
  • Keep the strokes loose and fresh as you can. Be sure of each stroke before you make it.
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Step Two – Detail

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Paint Mix Detail

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Step Three Example

Step Three:

  • Deepen and enrich the colors of the flesh further. Work with smaller brushes only if necessary, but keep the freshness of the strokes. Do not become too tight.
  • Develop the clothing further and at least lay in the basic colors.
  • Darken the background and play with the push and pull of edges of the figure.
  • Notice the flesh here has blue in the shadows.
  • Continue checking your work with a small mirror to be sure you are making the progress you think you are.
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Step Four Example – With inspirational paintings attached to easel.

Step Four:

  • Build up the shirt area with equal looseness you have in the flesh tones.
  • Touch up detailed areas of the features, still trying to not be too tight.
  • Reinforce the texture on highlighted areas of flesh.
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Step Five Example

Step Five:

  • Be sure to include highlights on iris and pupil.
  • Fill in the rest of the dark background.
  • Develop edges of figure with the background so they are cohesive and not seen as being in two totally different spaces.
  • Sign into the wet paint at this point. Or, try to wait to sign the work until the paint is dry.  This way if you make an error it can easily be wiped off without disturbing what painting has been accomplished.
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Step Five – Detail

At this point I could continue building the piece with more and more detail. Instead I have chosen to stop here and leave it with the loose brushstrokes.

Tips:

  • Be sure to take regular breaks.  I tend to do so every hour. It just happens that Pandora internet stations play approx ninety minutes before pausing.
  • Clean your brushes well at the end of each painting session.
  • To keep oil paint wet from one work session to another consider placing it in the freezer in a closed container.

Part Six – Oiling Out

Part Five – Gallery Wrapped Canvas

Part Four – Facial Proportions

Part Three – Palettes

Part Two –  Mediums

Part One – Materials

Facial proportions can vary according to ethnic background and gender. Traditionally men have more angular faces and more pronounced brow just above the eyebrow line. Examine the images shown to see how the eyes fall in the middle of the entire skull, between the tip of the head and chin. In-between the eyes is a space equal to the width of one of the eyes. Halfway between the eyes and the tip of the chin is the line where the mouth opening will fall. Although the model on the left is a young adult female the proportions are the same as an adult. Her features are simply softer and less angular than what would be found in an older mature looking individual.

Remember these are merely guidelines and will need to be adjusted to fit the subject that you are depicting. Below is that of a middle aged male’s profile. When you are drawing a subject keep in mind where your light source is coming from. The same rules apply to drawing a human being as to drawing anything else. The trick is to be objective and to over romanticize, draw what you see and not what you‘think’ you are seeing. Look at the subject carefully and try to look at the person you are drawing more then the paper you are drawing on. Always work from life whenever possible, if you can not find a model or do not feel comfortable doing so as of yet, simply use a mirror and do a self portrait.

 

Part Three – Palettes

Part Two –  Mediums

Part One – Materials

 

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