July 21, 2024


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4 Stages of Bringing a Portrait to Life: an Oil Painting Demo

4 Stages of Bringing a Portrait to Life: an Oil Painting Demo



Master how to create lifelike portraits by painting in layers. Gustavo Ramos shares the secrets and techniques behind his masterful operate in an oil painting demo of Mom and Child.

4 Stages of Bringing a Portrait to Life: an Oil Painting Demo
Mom and Baby (oil on panel, 20×15)

Stage 1: The Wipeout

To start out this portray, I included the surface area with a slender clean of clear oxide crimson and ultramarine blue diluted with odorless mineral spirits. I utilized this combination with a rag and wiped the panel till I obtained a light neutral tone. Then, I began setting up out the composition and drawing by carving out the lights with a kneaded eraser.

Oil Painting Demo: Stage 1 | the Wipeout
In this stage, I am contemplating in conditions of mass and large designs, making an attempt to be common but exact.

Stage 2: The Drawing

In the next stage, I switched from a mass mentality to a additional linear method to refine the drawing. By cautiously positioning straight strains on the panel, I could establish the rhythms and spatial relationships of the pose, doing work from massive to compact. I stored my conté pencil sharp at all times and created subtle recommendations of variety and quantity as a warmup for the portray stage.

Oil Painting Demo: Stage 2 | the Drawing
I utilized a sharp conté pencil to refine the drawing and warm up for painting.

Stage 3: Painting the Total

With my drawing set up, my following goal was to go over the full surface with a layer of paint. Making use of my total color palette, I tried to do this in a person painting session, doing the job broadly and seeking to realize the shade and tonal interactions all through the piece.

I was in essence making an attempt to seize an correct initially impact. I imagine the most effective way to carry out this is by performing on the complete painting at the moment relatively than section by component. Applying outdated synthetic brushes, I manufactured sporadic marks that remaining an natural and organic experience, which would demonstrate as a result of in the finished painting.

Oil Painting Demo: Stage 3 | Painting the Whole
In this phase, I held my shadows semi-translucent and crafted up some impastos in the lights, in anticipation for the following levels of refinement.

I handle this stage in the same way to the way I applied to handle writing a initially draft of an essay when I was in school. I’m not sloppy or careless, but covering every little thing up in one go makes it possible for me to see how every single individual element relates to the total. I permit the initial move dry wholly right before painting an additional layer.

Phase 4: The Refinement

To provide the painting to completion, I painted more than my original move to precisely calibrate the colors and tones by employing methods this sort of as glazing and scumbling.

In my past move, I intentionally leaned gentle, enabling for darker glazes in the forthcoming passes to enrich the shade and create a luminous “backlit” glow. I continued to be conscious of maintaining my shadows clear even though incorporating far more body to the lights.

Oil Painting Demo: Stage 4 | the Refinement
In this last move, I used a fantastic total of time changing the facial features, since they are the focus of the portrait.

The Positive aspects of Painting in Levels

Some parts of this portrait were being absolutely fixed within two layers, whilst many others took as lots of as 5 layers to realize my preferred refinement and result. Some of my other paintings can have as numerous as 10 layers on particular passages.

Painting with a lot of layers allows me reach near handle of coloration and tone I get closer to the correct tone with each and every layer. The Old Masters like Leonardo da Vinci and Rembrandt realized they could not “get it right” with just a person layer of paint, so it would be disrespectful for me to presume that I can.

One more gain of portray in levels is the unique effects that crop up from the paint construct-up. These results are unachievable to achieve with a single layer and aid completely transform the portray into anything further and extra lifelike, rather than just paint.

See far more of Ramos’ portraits: 8 Masterful Gustavo Ramos Paintings with Brilliant Variety and Depth

Meet up with Gustavo Ramos Are living


Sign up for us on May 24 for an exceptional member celebration in which Gustavo Ramos shares his views how to elevate the genre of portraiture and keep an invigorating studio practice. Save your seat today!

About the Artist

GUSTAVO RAMOS (b. 1993 Brazil) is immediately getting to be a prominent and sought-soon after oil painter in the realm of portraiture. His do the job has been exhibited in planet class venues, like the European Museum of Modern-day Art in Barcelona, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, and Sotheby’s in New York City. Hook up with him on Instagram @gustavoramosart or investigate his get the job done at gustavoramos.art.



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