Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Portrait Demonstration

I've been working on a portrait for an instructional video.  This time-lapse will include narration of my thought process as I'm painting the portrait.  Here are a few steps along the way.

Some careful measurements at the beginning are essential for me.  (Well begun is half done.)

After completing the drawing, I begin with my darkest dark.  This helps me to compare and judge other values against it.

I start blocking in the larger masses, sometimes with a paper towel.

Now it's a matter of adjustments and refinements (and a lot of concentrated effort) to achieve a likeness.

I often use my palette knife to remove areas that need correction.  (In this case I had the corner of the mouth too high.)

The finished painting demo.

"Portrait of Tiana"   14" x 11"   Oil


  1. Will you let us know when/where the video is available? Looks like your Open Box M is set up similarly to mine, with pencilled notations about what size panel fits at the left pin. I put in a gray painted glass palette and yours looks similar.

    1. Steve - Not sure yet when the video will be available - probably in a few weeks. It will be a time-lapse like the others, only longer and with narration. I'll probably put it on YouTube, but I'll let my videographer son figure that out. I guess great minds think alike on setting up an Open Box M!

  2. Hi James, I love your work. I was wondering abut the color you are using to draw and mass in the shadow pattern. Are you using yellow ochre? if so why?

    1. Thank you, Connie! Yes, it's yellow ochre. I use it not so much for the color but to keep my drawing light. I used to use burnt sienna or gray and found that sometimes my drawing got too dark and heavy and then that affected the freshness of the colors I painted over the drawing.