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Portrait painting, a different approach

Portrait painting, a different approach

Portrait of my friend Ajubel

Portrait of my friend Ajubel

Here I show you, step by step, how I painted this portrait, with a different approach as usual.  I chose to start without a detailed drawing.

As always, I gave the canvas three thin layers of gesso. Then a layer of Windsor & Newton Oil Painting Primer. Lately I’ve been experimenting with priming layers preparing some canvases with a thin layer of lead white, apart from the three layers of  gesso. However, the disadvantage is that it takes weeks to dry. But it is fantastic to work on. In this study, I  applied the primer of W & N, which is completely dry after two days.

off white canvas

off white canvas

The primer I made “off white”, i.e. a warm, neutral grey by adding a some ivory black and yellow ocher (oil).

 

 

Thin wash of Viridian green + Transparant oxide red

Thin wash of Viridian green + Transparant oxide red

I started with a wash of Veridian green and Transparent oxide red, highly diluted with neutral drying medium. Where I wanted the face, I took off the paint with a cloth.The underpainting is Terra Rosa oil paint. Adding and removing paint gave me the opportunity to correct until I was satisfied.

After two days the underpainting was dry and I started in colour, in a simple block-in style. In the last stage I verified the final features and details.

detailI tried to keep my brushstroke as simple as possible. Since I started with an off-white surface, it was easy to get good contrast putting the last light brushstrokes in the background.

See this short video of the process in six steps.

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