27 January 2014


Here is a recent portrait of my daughter, Amanda.  A difficult painting because there was so little value change across her face...which tends to flatten the form.  Amanda was in shade, except for a few spots of sunlight on her head and arms.  Her face and forearms were lit by reflected light...subtle and challenging to convey.  I learned a huge amount from this piece.

Embrace, 2013, 18x24", Oil on linen

Here it is framed.  I include this to show how the right frame enhances a painting.  Some artists always paint on a pre-framed canvas.  Not a bad idea, if you know in advance which frame would suit the outcome.

"Embrace" was a finalist in the 2013 Western Regional Oil Painters of America exhibition this past fall here in the States.  That part was nice.

15 January 2014

My Portrait Process: Fourth Step is the Final Painting

Happy 2014.  Always good to start another year.  Hope you had a nice break.  I did, however, I am happy to resume normal function and get back in the studio.

Back in November, I was working up a series of posts describing my portrait painting process, based on a portrait of my friend's son, Kirk.  Today, I end the series with the fourth step...the final painting.

Twenty (Portrait of Kirk), 24x18", oil on linen

For commissioned portraits, I paint indirectly...building the painting up in layers, allowing each layer to dry before proceeding.  It's easier to get a decent likeness imo (compared to direct painting), and it allows the creation of transparent flesh tones.  I won't describe my actual method here, it would be very long-winded and boring.  However, for your interest, I recommend Virgil Elliott's book "Traditional Oil Painting" (see chapter 6).  The method I followed here was an approximation of the Venetian method.

To summarize, my 4-step portrait process includes the value study (top left), the color study (top right), the underpainting (bottom left) and the final painting (bottom right).

It is done................