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Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Painting A Two-Toned Portrait In Oils

When painting a portrait, I find it important to find a quality that sets it apart from the norm and makes it universally appealing, instead of being only appealing to the people familiar with the subject. When painting today's portrait, I managed to achieve this by creating tension between the subject and its surroundings. I also made sure to focus all of the attention on the single eye. Let me walk you through the steps of creating such a dramatic picture.


I start my portrait on a square canvas panel measuring 12" x 12".


The eye will be my focal point and it is therefore important that I get this in the right place. The drawing is done with thick dark charcoal, which is largely retained in the final product.


I then add detail for the nose.


I add the eyebrows, the jawline and a bit of fringe. I contemplate adding an ear, but decide against it, as this will detract from the focal point, which is the piercing stare of the eye.


I then mix my own black from Lamp Black and Phthalo Blue. I paint liberal splotches of paint on the canvas with a palette knife.


I then use a second palette knife to draw hatching and cross-hatching lines into the wet paint.


Here is a close-up shot of the palette knife I used to draw the hatching lines with.


I switch to a brush with short hard bristels to paint the detail of the eye, especially the eyebrow.


I then dip the brush in linseed oil (you can also use turpentine) and flick paint on the portrait in a splatter pattern.


Here is a close-up shot of the splattered paint effect.


I had to contemplate adding a second focal colour like red to the painting, but decided against it, as this would be too distracting, muting the conversation that the stare has started with the viewer.


The finished product was a gift to my Botswana hosts for inviting me into their home and lives in such a welcoming and generous fashion.


Marietjie Uys (Miekie) is a published author. You can buy the books here:
You can purchase Designs By Miekie 1 here.
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Jy kan Tuinstories hier koop.
You can follow Miekie's daily Bible Study blog, Bybel Legkaart, here in English & Afrikaans.
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