By Philip Howe
The following oil painting demonstration is courtesy of Philip Howe . When you are finished viewing this demonstration, please take a moment to visit Philip’s site to view more of his artwork and to learn more about him.
You may also be interested in Philip’s New Book:
“Angels – The Artwork of Philip Howe”
This book is 134 full-color pages of the beautiful artwork of Philip Howe. The reproductions are from his spiritual and dream series of oil paintings, with dozens of images, exclusive close-up shots from the originals, and over 40 pages of demonstrations for artists and collectors. It is printed on soft matte paper, the same as our quality prints, so the color is rich and clean, with each spread designed to fit the images.
The Old Conquistador – Oil Painting Portrait Demo
This portrait was done as more of an experiment to play with traditional techinques using a solid brown underpainting and a fairly tight painting style. My friend John posed for the piece and tried his best to look mean, but its just not in him. I hope this shows some expression of feeling for what the old soldiers must have felt in seeing a new world being torn apart yet knowing their own aging and destiny in troubled times. I may do more images of past figures, it was certainly fun to do.
The first 3 images are really just about an hours worth of work, with an overnight drying time in between each stage. Basically I used an oil wash with mineral spirits to tone the raw canvas and seal the thin pencil drawing. This piece is only 20×30″ and I often do quick studies this size to break from larger paintings, so I am in a habit of doing them in a few quick stages. The second image uses liquin mixed with a heavier wash and the 3rd image, above, uses liquin medium with burnt umber to form a base value, both drying faster by the use of the medium and set in front of a fan overnight.
At this point most of the base values are in and I can begin to darken the painting. Since I don’t have to worry about the drawing any more, I can concentrate on the feeling and density of the next layers to enhance the realism overall. The difference between this stage and the final, below, is 4 or 5 layers of transparent paint, carefully built up to form a rich overall tone, especially in the skin and background areas. Browns work especially well to create a golden patina and there are several paint makers now offering a range of quality transparent hues. I especially like the ones from Dan Smith. If you have questions of specific colors used, I can list them here for future reference, although its the translucent combination of colors, red over brown over a golden ochre, even some transparent blue to deepen the shadows, that give the overall tone, not just brown on a white or gray base.