Basic Steps for Portrait Oil Painting

Basic steps for portrait oil painting are mainly for beginners, students, or amateurs. There is no fix method or best formula in learning portrait oil painting. Eventually one have to find the method that suits their ability and temperament.

In general, most of the effort is spent on developing of portrait painting from the beginning. It is also the most time consuming, and require lots of patience. Student who has an eagerness to get into “painting the person”, often realize that certain area should be corrected earlier, than to continue adding ‘errors’ by painting over it. Every stroke, every passage, must be carefully thought out and calculated to contribute to the total painting. Not for the reason of just filling up oil color, but with a justified purpose. The key focus in portrait painting should have more controlled, methodical way of building up to the final effect. The steps listed below will help a beginner to identify mistakes when there are easiest to correct in the early stage.

1) Designing The Canvas

Create a casual appearance by sketch at the beginning of the painting. This is the most crucial part of laying first foundation. Consider and estimate the positioning of hands, shoulder line, placement of the head, and its size, etc. It is much easier to erase those light charcoal lines than wiping oil color.

Having the importance at this stage, to attained a good drawing should be focusing on design and keeping the entire portrait in proportion. Detail is added toward the end of the stage.

Since this is the beginning, no painting were to start off, therefore, to maintain ease of correcting mistake, soft vine charcoal is recommended. It can be wipe off easily with a cloth if one decided to change. Once the entire sketch is done, continue to dust down the charcoal and re-establish the line with light earth color – yellow ochre. Light color is chosen, so that any changes can be replace by another darker earth color, that will show up clearly over the first sketch.

The overall duration of this designing stage usually take up about first half hour. Correction are not a major problem yet because painting has not started.

2) Establishing The Value Range

There are three basic elements used in the construction of a painting: line, value, and color. At this point, the line, or drawing stage should be completed so that the other two, value and color, can be taken simultaneously. Common mistake by student at this stage is to concentrate on the light area first, which is the easiest, interesting and attractive areas. Another cause is that most student don’t know what “color” to mix when they really should be focusing their attention on values. It is impossible, however, to establish the correct value of a light area on a white canvas, because there is no other values with which to compare.

To overcome this, student should practice comparative analysis: that is every value is accurately determined and painted in relation to the lightest light and darkest dark of the entire subject, including the background. The bare canvas represents the lightest light possible, and so I must begin by painting the darkest darks. Such as the hair or the black suit of the portrait figure.

3) Overpainting and Refining

At this stage, the painting should be roughed in and most of the bare white canvas eliminated. The subsequent stage is overpainting; refining by building up painting to take shape slowly. Student should give sufficient time for the first layer to dry, before the next layer is applied.

In order to paint portraits, one must be able to mix any color that one see before oneself, including the many variations of flesh tomes. There is no specific formulas, but rather picking skill through experience. Observe the colors in the face and mix them as accurately as possible. To grasp a basic understanding about three qualities of color, you may click here.

4) Pulling It All Together

Nothing is more important than the face of a portrait, while maintaining other areas to keep it all together. Start to focus detail on other areas such as the hair, hat, scarf, her blouse or his suit. Work on the long hair, it may look monotonous if all looks black, thus, by adding colors with different value is good to create liveliness. Add or change by refining values and color of the black suit, such as area of the cloth folds in elbows or shoulder.

Repaint the background with dashes of brushstrokes that will best complement the figure. It also helps to make the portrait more ‘stand out’ and with liveliness. Student may incorporate the remainder of the value and color adjustments as one feels are necessary to bring the portrait painting into the most perfect balance. It is a stage, much to do with how an artist feel it should look, or add and minor change.

5) The Final Adjustment

This is the stage where one resolve the details and making any final adjustment necessary to bring the color and value relationships to the best resolution possible. It is the most critical phase of refinement. The paint stroke gets smaller as on refine the face features, or the hands. Paintings should not become hash, slick or “edgy”. Certain area that one feel should not stand out too much, will be loosely rendered and less refinement. Such as the pattern of the tie a man is wearing, or the designed bracelet worn at the wrist of a woman. This way, the portrait will be view with a ‘togetherness’ as a painting, rather than one-sided focus with lots of detail on the tie or the bracelet.

Re-visit the background, to see if repainting is required. At times, it helps to bring the value of relationship closer to that of the figure in some area and accentuating the contrast in others. At this final stage, student should rely on what he/she feels is the best solution aesthetically.

The beginning is always the essential steps, where a good foundation is laid. It is much to do with technique in design, proportioning and doing major change where there are mistakes. It is painstaking and requires lots of patience. Once student has mastered this fundamental, what is left at the final stage is more to do with their feelings. On determining the color value, contrasting, intensity, detailing and to accomplishing the entire portrait painting with a wholeness. Accuracy of drawing and painting will take a student most of the way, but to be more adequate, one will need sensitivity of feeling and confident grasp of what goes to make the of portrait oil painting as an entirety.

Portrait Painting for Young Children

Portrait Painting for Young Children.
There are the most adorable and beautiful people doted by parents and adults, who always give the best whatever there can. Portrait photography for young children is good way of capturing natural pose with in a short time. Technically, it take little effort to snapshot a nice portrait, be it digital or film. On the contrary, portrait artists who acquire experience and genuine painting skill, will have to use their ingenuity and thinks of ways to keep young children in the same room with him. Keeping them looking at the artist takes even more cleverness. Here are a few ways.

1) When work actually begin…

The best thing one can do is talk with the child. Let the parents be there, but in the background. Portrait artist will find it absolutely essential to talk with the child subject. Otherwise, one will find the child either falls asleep or escapes from the chair. The idea is to get the child talking so artist can just nod or smile and concentrate on e painting work. Try opening the conversation by asking about a pet, or brothers and sisters, or favorite TV show or even a favorite color. In short, ask the child about himself. Incidentally, this technique works just as well with young children

2) Once in a while…

Artist will have a youngster who love to sing. Portrait artist can have fun with this, especially if one know the songs, too, and sing along with the child. Be entertained and occupied with this fun. Background music helps everyone relax and fills in the gaps when there is no conversation. Some parents bring the child’s favorite CD along. But insist on absolutely no video, such as cartoons. Visual media may keep a child in one place, but that mesmerized expression is too unnatural for a portrait.

3) If artist works standing up…

He will have to raise the child to his eye level. Try a small stool with a back on it that rotates – children really like that. If a child gets fussy, she might sit on the lap of the parent who agrees to sit on the stool. At times, artist may just easier to get down on the floor with the child while she sits in a juvenile chair or plays on the floor with her toys. Of course, this means moving all the painting gear to the floor, too. Toys such as Sony PSP or Nintendo are highly not recommended; a child will never look up to the artist, but will glued to the gadgets, instead.

4) Young children are inquisitive by nature.

There will be doggedly determined to get closed to artsit and start picking up paints and bushes, or may even want to work on the portrait. Curious of how the end results look like, asking questions of “why” and “how”. Its amazing how children thinks and talk. But then, no matter how nice you want to be, don’t let this happen. If you allow the child to dab around with the brush even once, one will find that the subject will want to paint, not pose, and artist will have lost control of the situation entirely.

5) After a while…

Many children will ask, “When will you be done?” or complain, “Aren’t you done yet?” When it looks like they are about to run out the door and you need more time, let them wear your watch and tell them they can get down when this hand gets to that number. This works far better than telling the child you only want her to pose “for about ten minutes,” because children have no idea how long ten minutes is. Most children enjoy this game, especially when they see that the hands really do move and thereby realize that you are not just humoring them. They are amazed that artist would give them their watch to wear, too. But it better be an inexpensive watch – don’t get mad at the watch if the child throws it.

Above are a few interesting ways for portrait artists painting on young children. These days, with modern technology advancing quickly, and price are affordable for a digital camera. One may take many photographs of children easily. What takes more skill is the portrait artist, who don’t need the actual appearance of the child, but a clear digital printout of your favorite photograph.


What Makes a Good Portrait Photograph

Photographs of people often elicit a greater response from the viewer than any other kind of subject. A good portrait photograph does not just show to u the appearance of the subject. It should also be a visual biography, capturing a sitter’s character and revealing their unique personality.

Photographing People

A portrait can be a photograph taken without the subject’s knowledge, or it may be a more formal affair where the photographer has been commissioned to follow a specific assignment, usually done in a proper photographic studio. As with all areas of photography, there are technical decisions to be made. Different types of camera and lens are needed for different conditions; light must be arranged to achieve specific effects; and the camera viewpoint has to be positioned to suit the subject’s face, or to enhance some aspect of the setting.

What Makes a Good Portrait?

Portraits are not limited to posed shots of immobile subjects, capturing moving subjects on film with flash can make lively, expressive portraits, and giving subjects as activity can have unexpected results. The latter approach works well with children, who become bored quickly. Do not underestimate the importance of background and setting in your portraits. Photographing people outdoors or in their own environments can add a dimension otherwise missing from a portrait in a studio setting.

Drawing Out a Subject

Another important aspect of portrait work is overcoming a subject’s natural apprehension of the camera and lights. Try to put your model at ease by having all the camera equipment and lights set up well in advance of the photo session. This will leave you free to get to know and reassure the model before you start to take any photographs. Talking may help the sitter relax and allow you to achieve the desired result – a revealing, natural-looking portrait. The best photographs move beyond this to capture expressions that give an insight into a person’s character and mood, resulting in wonderful and exciting portraits.

The Coolest Point-and-Shoot Camera

With modern technology advancing so quickly, professional photography with SLR camera has new design that packed with unique features and capabilities. Comparison with compact digital camera, price-wise is definitely much affordable, lighter and easier to use. However, feature-wise, such as interchangeability of focus lens, SLR is a better choice. For any novice in photography, it is much more practical and convenience for one to carry a small digital camera than those bulky SLR. Especially for frequent travelers who wants to capture portraits of family or friends. Photographing with natural expression is still the key point for a good portrait photograph.