Oil Portrait Painting Tips 5
Using Oil Paint for Portraits
Oil is the medium that most people think of when commissioning a portrait. It is a comparatively slow medium to work with, and because the paint takes a long time to dry, it gives the artist plenty of time to perfect the likeness. Using a series of overlaid glazes. it is possible to give skin a wonderful depth and translucency which is extremely lifelike and unlike any other medium.
This is perhaps the most prized medium for commissioned portraits. The finished work might take months to complete so it represents considerable hard work, and the resulting image will last for centuries, offering the client a certain degree of immortality.
Always buy artists' quality oil paint if you can afford it. Some colors are expensive, but they are worth it in the long run because they mix beautifully without getting muddy. Some cheaper colors do not mix as well as the high-quality materials. Selecting the right colors for portraits depends on your personal choice, some oil manufacturers sell boxes of paint specifically for portrait painting.
Mix colors using distilled turpentine, purified linseed oil and purified poppy oil for lighter colors. The canvas must be well primed with a good gesso primer.
There are two basic categories of brushes: sables and bristles. The sable brush is noted for its softness; it's a flexible brush without having much spring. With its ability to hold more liquid paint, this brush is most suitable for detail and is an ideal brush for blending. The sable is effective in passages where you don't want any texture-where you don't want the brushstroke to show. Sables are perfect for glazes and fine detail and for adding vitality to the final stages of the portrait painting. Hog's hair brushes are good for under-painting, developing painterly textures and modeling the paint to describe form.