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

ByMary E. Alvarez

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Understand how to create lifelike portraits by painting in levels. Gustavo Ramos shares the secrets powering his masterful get the job done in an oil painting demo of Mom and Youngster.

Gustavo Ramos: Mother and Child (oil on panel, 20x15)
Mom and Child (oil on panel, 20×15)

Stage 1: The Wipeout

To begin this painting, I coated the surface area with a thin clean of transparent oxide purple and ultramarine blue diluted with odorless mineral spirits. I applied this combination with a rag and wiped the panel right until I accomplished a gentle neutral tone. Then, I started out scheduling out the composition and drawing by carving out the lights with a kneaded eraser.

Oil Painting Demo: Stage 1 | the Wipeout
In this phase, I am considering in phrases of mass and massive designs, hoping to be normal but precise.

Stage 2: The Drawing

In the following phase, I switched from a mass mentality to a far more linear technique to refine the drawing. By very carefully positioning straight strains on the panel, I could figure out the rhythms and spatial associations of the pose, performing from big to small. I kept my conté pencil sharp at all moments and created delicate tips of variety and quantity as a warmup for the portray phase.

Oil Painting Demo: Stage 2 | the Drawing
I made use of a sharp conté pencil to refine the drawing and heat up for portray.

Phase 3: Painting the Entire

With my drawing recognized, my future objective was to include the complete area with a layer of paint. Working with my whole coloration palette, I attempted to do this in 1 painting session, doing work broadly and hoping to understand the color and tonal interactions throughout the piece.

I was in essence trying to seize an accurate very first impact. I believe that the very best way to accomplish this is by doing work on the full portray at once somewhat than section by section. Applying aged artificial brushes, I designed sporadic marks that left an organic and natural come to feel, which would present through in the concluded painting.

Oil Painting Demo: Stage 3 | Painting the Whole
In this stage, I stored my shadows semi-translucent and constructed up some Stage 4: The Refinement

To bring the painting to completion, I painted over my original pass to precisely calibrate the colors and tones by using techniques such as glazing and scumbling.

In my previous pass, I intentionally leaned light, allowing for darker glazes in the upcoming passes to enrich the color and create a luminous “backlit” glow. I continued to be mindful of keeping my shadows transparent while adding more body to the lights.

Oil Painting Demo: Stage 4 | the Refinement
In this final pass, I spent a good amount of time adjusting the facial features, since they are the focus of the portrait.

The Benefits of Painting in Layers

Some parts of this portrait were completely resolved within two layers, while others took as many as five layers to achieve my desired refinement and effect. Some of my other paintings can have as many as 10 layers on certain passages.

Painting with many layers helps me achieve close control of color and tone; I get closer to the right tone with each layer. The Old Masters like Leonardo da Vinci and Rembrandt knew they could not “get it right” with just one layer of paint, so it would be disrespectful for me to assume that I can.

Another advantage of painting in layers is the different effects that arise from the paint build-up. These effects are impossible to achieve with a single layer and help transform the painting into something deeper and more lifelike, rather than just paint.

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

Meet Gustavo Ramos Live

Sign up for us on Could 24 for an exceptional member function in which Gustavo Ramos shares his thoughts how to elevate the style of portraiture and maintain an invigorating studio apply. Conserve your seat nowadays!

About the Artist

GUSTAVO RAMOS (b. 1993 Brazil) is promptly starting to be a prominent and sought-just after oil painter in the realm of portraiture. His function has been exhibited in entire world course venues, together with the European Museum of Contemporary Artwork in Barcelona, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, and Sotheby’s in New York Metropolis. Join with him on Instagram @gustavoramosart or check out his perform at gustavoramos.artwork.

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