Enjoy this free step by step oil portrait demonstration.
Step by Step Oil Portrait Tutorial
Fine weave canvas triple primed with sandable acrylic gesso, fourth layer is matte medium tinted with acrylic Ivory Black and Raw Sienna applied with a smooth synthetic brush. Copy of drawing is transferred with dark brown soft pastel rubbed on the back then traced with a hard pencil. Drawing is fixed with spray fixative. –
A medium made up of 2 parts Gamsol and 1 part Drying Linseed Oil is applied to entire canvas by scrubbing in with a large bristle brush and then wiped away with a lint free cloth. Values are blocked in with a #1 bristle brush using Burnt Umber. Paint is thinned with medium made up of 2 parts Gamsol and 1 part Drying Linseed Oil. The underpainting is left to dry overnight.
Grey background is added with a large bristle filbert brush keeping the paint thin by adding my Gamsol/Drying Linseed Oil medium
Warm and cool darks are added and applied with a #1 filbert bristle brush and kept thin with my medium.
Local color or middletone is added and thinned with medium using a bristle brush.
Warm and cool colors are added to this local color.
More refined warm/cool colors are added to the local color on the face. A thinly applied middle-tone is also added to the shirt. I never want to cover up the underpainting completely because I want the light canvas to show through. This helps the painting stay open and breath without running in the danger of feeling heavy and flat with an opaque layer. This is an aspect of the indirect method of painting that I like. This stage can also be called an Ébauche .
Painting was oiled out with medium by scrubbing on with a bristle brush and wiped away. The same background color was added with less medium.
Same local color as the first layer of dry coloring was applied with less medium. Paint is semi transparent and applied by dabbing and scumbling with the filbert bristle brush.
Same process of adding color to the face is done with the shirt.
About the Artist
Alan was born in 1968 in Hudson, NY and lives in the lower Hudson Valley Region. He attended Parsons School of Design in NYC and Rhode Island School of Design 1986-91. A few of his influential instructors were illustrators, Julian Allen, David Passalacqua, William Clutz and Richard Rockwell.
Alan’s passion for painting has made him venture further in the field of fine arts exploring various methods of oil painting inspired by the palettes of Frank Reilly and Daniel E. Greene. He has been fortunate to attend Daniel’s Greene’s oil portrait demo/classes held in his North Salem, NY studio and considers Daniel’s work and teachings a major influence in his paintings.
Caravaggio, Velazquez, Jacques-Louis David, and painters from the Dutch Golden Age such as Michiel van Mierevelt, Vermeer and Rembrandt are among some of Alan’s admired artists.
Recently, his work was chosen as one of the finalists in the ACOPAL’s Exhibition of Contemporary American and Chinese Realism. Also, three of his paintings was selected to be included in The Connecticut Society of Portrait Artist’s Faces Of Winter 2012 Exhibit honoring Master Portrait Artist Daniel Greene.
Alan is a member of The Portrait Society of America, The Connecticut Society of Portrait Artists and Oil Painters of America.
I hope you enjoyed this step by step oil portrait demonstration! Find more oil painting demonstrations from our site here.