Monday, February 27, 2012

Process: Portrait of Misha

The following are process shots from an oil portrait I painted at the Palette & Chisel in when I recently visited Chicago.

Time: 5 hrs. 
Colors: Titanium White, Yellow Ochre Pale, Permanent Red Medium, Terra Rosa, Alizarin Permanent, Ultramarine Blue Deep, Cerulean Blue, Transparent Oxide Red. 

Looking for the large pattern of light and dark to establish form. Not terribly concerned about color at this point, just value and color temperature.

I threw in the general color and value of the shirt. I decided to start locking down the nose/mouth area and work my way out from there, making careful comparisons as I go on.

I got rid of the white of the canvas with some thin washes and wiped out/'fogged the areas on the left and continued to work carefully, stroke by stroke from the right side of the face.

Restated the shoulders to better express the model's gesture.

I used a palette knife to apply paint to the back ground and to place the head against the background. This helped to prevent those edges from getting too sharp.

The final result.


  1. I saw your blog,just as I was closing up shop and said, "Oh God, a portrait of Misha." It looks great! I just spent the afternoon doing a quicky portrait of me and had to walk away. I felt like I was drowning in paint. After a glass of wine,I will be back to scrutinize your process. If you take a look, bear in mind that this is the third week I'm using oils after three decades away. Be kind, if you leave a comment.

  2. I'm back and took a careful look at your process. I feel better that you did some vacillating between the lights and darks. I'm constantly weighing the values too--some how I thought I should just get them right the first time and it doesn't happen that way. Misha's eyes are fantastic--indeed, his pose strikes me as if he's going to say something any minute. And I like the way there's an antique feel to the entire canvas primarily in your handling of the shirt and background. You're quite a painter.