The Progression of “Raule”…
I love painting portraits, I find them pleasantly challenging. I have pulled out my oil paints for this one because I haven’t touched them for a few years, and why not right?
I decided to take pictures as the painting progressed to help me see what I might want to change or what I want to keep the same. It actually was a very helpful tool. I’m going to show you the progression of how I started this painting with a drawing of my hubby to the finished painted piece. I will also comment on what I liked, and what I would do differently.
Brace yourself! The sketch is so different from the final piece and I actually like it better haha.
I wish I carbon copied the sketch onto the canvas paper so I could reused the original and try it again. Oh well.
I had trouble with the left eye (his right), but I wasn’t too worried because I had ideas of how to fix it.
It’s time for paint!
I always start out with a wash. This wash was a mixture of linseed oil and burnt sienna. In the past I’ve done the wash with a mix of turpentine, but I heard that making the wash with linseed oil instead lets the brush slide giving smooth stokes rather than rough strokes. It did, and I liked it.
I also filled in the shadows of the face hair and neck.
I really like this stage of painting, because it forces you to break the reference photo into shapes. I also enjoy how angular everything becomes.
Now it’s time to fill everything in.
This is the stage where I fill in all the base colours. Still keeping the light and shadows, but adding mid-tones too. All the lines of the drawing are gone and the picture looks a lot softer.
At this point I really like the mouth. It’s wider than the finished piece with a thin top lip and full bottom. It has expression.
Looking back I wish I stayed with this more tan colour scheme, but the reason I didn’t was he was SOOOOOO very much more tan and ethnic looking than I had originally intended. I was also running out of white. So I had the idea to make his skin a more unrealistic yellow and have some fun.
At this stage, it’s all about adding more colour and getting the features to either recede or pop out.
You can see some more yellow in the skin and red added to the shadows. I wish that I had kept the hair in this colour range rather than going so dark, but the goal was dark and hind sight is 20/20.
His face has also filled out a bit here too. I was OK with this as I liked the way it looked.
My hubby and I started calling him “Raule” because, clearly, I was no longer painting him anymore.
I actually was going to stop right here. And I should have.
I was thrilled with how the eyes turned out and the shadowing on the face. But the neck didn’t look completely done, the nose looked a bit flat, and I thought I could add more texture to the hair.
His head also became shorter and wider. I believe this happened when I was painting the background and some of his face started to merge.
So here we are at the final piece.
I brightened the colours, made the mouth smaller. It was a purposeful move, but I like it better in the other images.
I absolutely ruined the eyes by thinking I could add a light layer of brown. Tried to recover them the best I could. And I was trying to add more shadow to his eye lids. Not necessary I see now.
I do like the neck and the shoulders, and the ruddy shadows. I also like the hair. I put on a gloss layer of linseed oil to mimic shine. I really liked the look initially, but it ran and I had to keep retouching it for days. Now depending on the angle you can see the shine, and the camera caught it really well. A little too thick I think.
This is a classic case of not stopping when I should have. What do you think?