Copy of a “Sargent”

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Portrait painting of “G” version 2.0

If you want an in depth understanding of drawing and portrait painting. I have written a descriptive and thorough book thats available on Amazon:

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Portrait Painting Of “Gall”

If you want an in depth understanding of drawing and portrait painting. I have written a descriptive and thorough book thats available on Amazon:

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Portrait painting of baby “William”

Portrait painting of William

If you want an in depth understanding of drawing and portrait painting. I have written a descriptive and thorough book thats available on Amazon:

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Oil portrait painting of Argentinian Guy

Portrait painting of Argentinian Guy
Portrait painting of the Argentinian Guy

I met this guy randomly on the street sittin in front of a tattoo shop playing his guitar. He looked like a type and had his hair and beard grown to an impressive length. I sat down and talked with him and found out he was quite a traveler, he’d been to India and various parts of the world. He was Argentinian just like my wife. I imideately got the idea to make a portrait pencil sketch of him. After some time he led me take some photos of him in the light of the street bulbs.

The following is an in depth description of my painting process for this portrait.

Color mixing

Started putting down my colors for this oil portrait painting which consists of Cadmium Green,Burnt SiennaScarlet LakeYellow OchreIndian Yellow, Titanium WhiteManganese Blue HueCobalt BlueDioxazine PurpleAlizarin CrimsonOlive GreenUltramarine Blue. I put down the colors in the order as described above from left to right.

For an in depth information on my color mixing use this link:


Mixing my darks for the shadows was the next step. The darks consists of the colors Olive GreenAlizarin Crimzon and Ultramarine Blue. This pool of darks had 60 percent Olive green / 20 percent Alizarin Crimson / 20 percent Ultramarine Blue.


The shadows I made consisted of the previous pile mixed with Burnt Sienna and Yellow Ochre. My model was argentinian and his skin tone had a brown/reddish nature. Because of that I was not careful with the Burnt Sienna, which I knew made it reddish. It made me put less Manganese Blue Hue in the mix, since I didn’t want to neutralize the reddish hue to much. Shadows were made as an average value of all the shadows that persisted on the model.

Darkest light mix

Then I mixed the Burnt Sienna and the Cobalt Blue. The pool consted of 60 percent Burnt Sienna / 40 percent Cobalt Blue. This made a grey that could be altered in a warm and cold spectre. This mix was later used to make the half tones which is a mix of this pool and the skin tone pool. Half tones are used everywhere there’s oval shapes – “explained further down”. I tend to keep the half tones more reddish or warm as that looks more like flesh or skin.


This color mix is my neutralizer because it calms down the redness in the later mixing of the skin color. The mix is a must to neutralize the red hue of the Scarlet Lake that effects the skin tone color mix. This mix consists of Manganese Blue Hue tinted with Titanium White. The mix was made approximately with 70 percent Manganese Blue and Titanium White. It was a little more blue and darker in value this time than my previous portraits. Reason for this was that I didn’t wan’t to much light in the mix which would lighten my skin tone pool later on.

Light tone / Skin tone

The light tone consisted of Burnt Sienna and Titanium White – in the following order. Since my portrait was fairly dark and warm I make an average with mire Burnt Sienna. It came out a little dark in value so this time i split the pool up in 2. One of the pools I lightened more with Titanium White. This gave me 2 pools for the skin tones which lay somewhere around an average. After this I mixed my Neutralizer into it, to grey it more and neutralize the red Hue. The skin tone came out exactlt as I wanted it. Maybe because I had 2 pools to play with.

Half tones

Added my light skin tone mix to the darkest lights mix. This made my half tones. This mix is very important as it is used everywhere there is oval shapes. This makes an even more light grey in which you can alter in temperature according to your models features. Halft tones tends to grey around the oval shapes on the face. But they still had temperature to them that can vary from warm and cold. In general my half tones were warm on this portrait.

Laying down the paint

Shadow areas

I always lay down my shadows from the darkest areas to the lightest on my oil portrait paintings. No expection this time either. Used my darkest pool of darks to the corners of the eyes and the nostrils. In the hollow spots in the eyes near the eyebrows I used more Yellow Ochre on the left eye and more Cadmium Green on the right. I don’t know why but my reference had 2 different temperatures in each eye and I was loyal to that. Was aware not to make it to yellow and therefore added more Scarlet Lake along the way regarding the left eye. The darker ares of the hair I simply laid down a thicker pile from my Darks. As the dark pool is transparent it’s fairly easy to make the illusion of less or more hair. It’s simply about putting down more paint or removing to paint.

Half tones

The half tones were added in the sockets of the eyes near the eyebrows, around the nose, and around the eyes where there was oval shapes. The left eye near the corner/tear kanal had more half tones to make it look like an oval shape due to the round shape of the eye itself laying underneath the skin. The right eye was covered in pure shadow but also had half tones. I needed half tones here to “get out” of the shadow properly. I couldn’t just go from pure dark to a highligt. The contrast would be to big, in this case I used half tones to properly “crawl” out of the shadows. It also dadded to the illusion of an oval shape from the swollen part underneath the models right eye. Half tones were added around the left side of the nose and cheek area.

Skin tone

Skin tones were first added to the area of the forehead since I knew these were the most red areas and had some of the most “darkest” areas regarding value. I then laid down paint around the skull and in the forehead near the hair line. I started on the left side of the face. This was the darkest area. I then worked my way towards to light. I paid attention to the left cheek and correctly lightened it to make the illusion of a round shape. It was done by adding more Titanium White and Scarlet Lake into the mix. By doing so I lightened the area and added more red which is quite often shown in the cheeks. In genereal I just added Titanium White to my mix to go lighter.


Highlights on the reference was quite powerful. I wanted to show that best possible on this oil portrait painting. Because of that my highlights needed to have big contrast to the other areas. Highlights on the nose laid right next to the shadows in the right eye. I used mainly Titanium White mixed with a little bit of skin tone to keep it coherent. I then added my neutral mix as it. This gave my highlights a little blueish hue. It had the effect of givin the impression of cold and strong light from the street lamps. It may be dificult to see on the photo though.


As always I paid a lot of attention to the eyes regarding my oil portrait painting. The right eye was all covered in shadow but the shape of she shadow was still very important for me to keep. I paid attention to put more Scarlet lake in the corners of the eyes. The eyes were a little of on the sketch and I tried to correct it a little with the paint. The eyes were a little to close to each other, and I had to push them further away from each other without destroying the overall shape and form.


The nose had the majority of highlights. It required of me to repaint the form a couple of times. Especialy the tip of the nose I lost a couple of times. The nostrils were simple and I made them from my dark pool and the shadow pool.


The beard around the mouth saved me. Shadows covered the lips. The mouth area was made from the shadow pool with a few highlights. It’s my most succesful mouth so far on a portrait. Maybe because of it’s simplicity.


Restating the day after on your oil portrait painting. As the darkest layers had dried up a little they had at the same time lightened a little. I had to add some extra dark in the beard to make the illusion of more depth. I corrected a couple of highlights in the forehead that had simply gone to white and made it look flat. Added more warmth to the cheeks with Scarlet Lake. Softened both lines near the eyelid fold on both eyes. Very hard lines looks bad in portraits.


In overall I’m very happy with this oil portrait painting. It is one of my best portraits. I’m satisfied with my color mixing which landed exactly how I wanted it. I’m getting more firm with the mixing of the skin tone. Shadows and middle tones landed very good to. My drawing slipped a little regarding the eyes and I feel thats visible in the portrait. On the other hand you can still se the alikeness from the reference. My conclusion is that, that is the price I pay when I draw without hardcore measuring. I have come to a stage where it’s okay to accept this. It’s part of the painting process. And I feel it makes it more interesting and more fun to paint.

Links to previous content

For more information about how I build up my portrait step by step follow this link

Fore more information about how I mix my colors follow this link

To compare with the pencil sketch that was the foundation for this portrait follow this link:

To see a previous oil portrait painting for comparison follow his link:

Links to the materials and brands I use

Paint from Winsor & Newton artist color:

Bristle brushes from Rosemary and Co:

Ampersand boards from:

Nylon brushes from Trekell:

My Easel is from Edge Pro Gear:

Portrait pencil sketch of Sofia

Sofia is my cousins daughter. She was 9 years old when the drawing was made. I always take the drawing a little further than nessesary for the later painting stages. The reason for that is, that I simply enjoy the drawing process and find it hard to stop. In reality I could have stopped way before, since I only really need the placements of the eyes, nose, mouth and the overall shape of the head and hair.


My measurements for this portrait pencil sketch of Sofia was really thorough. I was very accurate placing marks in the center which you can see by the fat middle line that goes down trough the face from the nostril and up to the forhead and down to the cheek. Reason for this accuracy was that the painting was for my aunt. So I needed my drawing to be my solid foundation to rely on. As stated earlier I feel safe when my drawing is well done.


Eyes were done with no measuring. I sketched the eyes with my eyesight. Needed to correct it a couple of times because I felt the eyes was the reason why it did not look like the “real” Sofia. As I corrected them it helped. I had put a to hard line around the eyes and it made her look older. It’s really tricky with kids, when you draw them, to make them look as young as they are. Because the skin is so smooth, so there is not many little wrinkles et cetera that gives kids their specifik look or character.


As you see I have made a big shadow on the nose of the portrait pencil sketch of Sofia. I really like to “hide or mask” the nose behind a shadow. The more the better -And to only hint the nostrils. It does not destroy the alikeness, even though I was drawing a very young girl. I was in general satisfied with the nose on the drawing.


The mouth is my area of trouble in general. And also on this drawing. My master told me that the drawing and painting has to be lose around the mouth. It’s better that you really can’t se what goes on in that area, but that it still defines a mouth. And even though with this information I tend to draw the lines to hard. The more vague and soft the lines are around the mouth the better. The mouth area also made her look older than she was in reality. I kept it this way knowing that I had to put layers of paint on top of it anyway.


I’m happy with my shadows on this drawing. Feel like they hide a lot without destroying the alikeness of the portrait. I love shadows in portraits. It gives it depth and character. My shadows are defined my hatching with the pencil. Hathing means seperate line next to eachother. Few places like the eyebrows and the nostrils I pushed the pencil harder to make it look darker. But in reality it’s not good to make the shadows to dark when you’re working with a sketch in my opinion. The reason for this is because my darker paints for shadows are transparent. You can see trough them after they are laid on the canvas. That means that if you look through enough you can see the pencil. And I personally do not like that.

What could I have done better and reflection

To sum it all up i’m overall happy with this little portrait pencil sketch of Sofia. It took me around 2,5 hours which is not that bad. Prefereably I would have wanted her took to look a little younger, I’m still not overall happy with the mouth as stated earlier. I could have used more time to soften it more. Maybe that would have changed the appearence of her. It could be the fact that the lips looks very defined – almost like lipstick that makes her look older that she really is.


For more information about how I build up my portrait step by step follow this link

Fore more information about how I mix my color follow this link