24 October 2011

Portrait Vignette #3: Amanda in Red and Green

Third in the series...a portrait of my sweet daughter, Amanda.   You've met her before (here, here and here).  Because it's a simple profile, this portrait was easy to paint.  One eye, half a mouth, no major perspective issues.  It was painted from a photo in about 4.5 hours.

Amanda in Red and Green 14 x 11", oil on linen

If you're interested, here is an hourly progression...

Hour 1:   I pre-toned the canvas with a mixture of viridian and transparent oxide red, using a big brush for variety.  After drying overnight, I blocked in the head with thinned transparent maroon, adding value indications for the shadows.

Hour 2: I painted the big shapes on the face, using averaged values/hues. Also added some transparent maroon background.  This will give me something to work into when painting the hair.  The likeness isn't quite there, so I will adjust the shapes and positions of the features as I go.

Hour 3: In my opinion, this stage is most challenging.  It's always where, just for a brief moment, I wonder if this painting will be a scraper.  Must press on, through this moment of doubt.  It's about adjusting shapes and modelling the small forms, then doing it all over again ad nauseum.

Hour 4: Finally...on to the fun part of fine-tuning the features and shapes.  The likeness emerges at this point.  I adjust the shapes of the hairline, forehead, eyebrow, mouth and chin.  Added lights to the hair, and adjusted the strap to indicate shoulder anatomy better.  I've heard an accurate hairline is essential to a good likeness...I think that's true.

Hour 5: At this point I refined halftones to convey subtle forms...for example the slight bulge below her mouth and the under-plane of her nose are essential for likeness.  I painted some flesh tone into the hair surrounding the profile, to add halation, giving the flesh a slight glow.  Also added the highlights and a few dark accents.  Realized about half way through hour 5 that I was starting to ruin the painting.  Put down the brush...step away from the easel...painting done...artist happy. 


  1. What a wonderful WIP. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Very cool, I dig the warm feel to the painting!

  3. Hi, Daniel, Thanks for taking the time to leave a message on my blog. Glad you liked the painting. I used transparent maroon for the the flesh base, with yellow ochre. Gives a somewhat muted, transparent orange. Just playing around with different ways to make fleshtones. Looking for the perfect one...I know it's got to be out there somewhere. Best, Candace.

  4. Fausto and Brad, Glad you like this piece. Another image that almost painted itself, really helps when you have familiarity with the subject. Best, Candace.

  5. Thank you so much for doing the step by step with your beautiful portraits. I find it incredibly helpful! Please keep doing this!

  6. Hi, Katherine. Thanks for your message, so glad you find these helpful. I will keep doing them as long as someone benefits. It's how we artists are.

    I think we all know that knowledge is the first step...translating that into an artistic statement is the second, and most challenging, step.

  7. Lovely as always, Candace, I always enjoy seeing what you've been painting. Have a great evening.

  8. just wonderfully done. simple and direct.

  9. I love seeing your process. Beautiful painting and subject!