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Values in portrait painting

Values in portrait painting

Values make the portrait, not the colour.

In portrait painting value contrast refers to the relation of lights and darks. This contrast is more important than the colour contrast.

So in portrait painting it is really fundamental to pay attention to this mutual relation. It is the cornerstone to paint a good portrait.

Consequently, the importance of good shadows is consistent. If there is hardly any shadow on the face, like in frontal lighting, the resemblance must be made out of subtle colour changes. That is more difficult than with distinct shadows.

Cecilia beaux , Man with the cat

Cecilia beaux , Man with the cat

See also : What is Chiaroscuro?

Portrait painting from observation

Portrait painting from observation

Despite of the fact that I often do portrait painting from photography, I really must emphasize again, that portrait painting from observation is important. Study as much as you can from a life model sitting in front of you. Training your drawing skills is fundamental. Accompanying a study I made last Tuesday night. I used Terra Rosa (Winsor & Newton) mixed with a little bit of Burnt Umber (Rembrandt Talens.)

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