Self portrait painting made in oil

Self Portrait painting made with oil colors from Winsor And Newton
Portraitpaintingblog – a self portrait

This portrait was the first real success with the palette I use now a days. I made one before this one that I discarded. It was meant as a training session, but I was happy with the result and kept it and framed it for a part of my portfolio.

Color mixing

Started putting down my colors for this self portrait painting which consisted of Cadmium Green,Burnt Sienna, Scarlet Lake, Yellow Ochre, Indian Yellow, Titanium White, Manganese Blue Hue, Cobalt Blue, Dioxazine Purple, Alizarin Crimson, Olive Green, Ultramarine Blue. I put down the colors in the order as described above from left to right. All my colours are from Windsor & Newton.

For an in depth information about my color mixing and the colours I use follow this link: https://portraitpaintingblog.com/color-palette-portrait-painting/

Darks

Mixing the pool of darks for the very darkest areas and the shadows for the self portrait painting was the next step. The darks consists of the colors Olive Green, Alizarin Crimzon and Ultramarine Blue. This pool of darks had 60 percent Olive green / 30 percent Alizarin Crimson / 10 percent Ultramarine Blue. The percentage of colours used in the pool varies a bit from portrait to portrait. Mostly due to the fact that I’m at the moment trying to find the perfect balance. Why not use an Ivory Black in stead you might say? But the fact is that I like this transparent mix of colours. When you mix it further in to the shadow areas with Burnt Sienna one can really see the mix’s potential.

Shadows

Shadows for the self portrait painting I made consisted of the previous pile mixed with Burnt Sienna and Yellow Ochre. I am Scandinavian of origin and my skin tone has a light tone to it but still more warm than a very light Scandinavian. Because of that I was not overly careful with the adding of Burnt Sienna into the mix. I put an average portion of Manganese Blue Hue in the mix, since I didn’t want to neutralize the reddish hue to much and I didn’t want to grey it to much either. In pertange it might have been 5 percent compared to the total pool. Shadows were made as an average of all the shadows that was on the model. In retrospect this was not my greatest shadow area. It didn’t lighten as the oval shape of the neck turned more into the light.

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. It made a grey that could be altered warm and cold in temperature. This mix was later used to make the half tones which is a mix of this pool and the skin tone pool. I tend to keep the half tones more reddish or warm as that looks more like flesh or skin. This mix is a little special. It serves a very important purpose but the mix is only used together with my skin tone mix, not on its own.

Neutralizer

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 for the self portrait painting consisted of Burnt Sienna and Titanium White – in the following order. Since my portrait was fairly light I was not afraid to lighten it and grey it with the neutraliser. It came out perfect in value so this almost very first time I mixed this pool. This mixing really boosted my self confidence at the time. I could then alter the pool in a warmer, cold or more yellowish direction.

Half tones

Added my light skin tone mix to the darkest lights mix. This made my half tones. The 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 very neutral but heading a a little cold on this portrait

Laying down the paint

Shadow areas

I always lay down my shadows from the darkest areas to the lightest. No expection this self portrait painting either. Used my darkest pool of darks to the corners of the eyes and the nostrils. If you look closely you will notice that I didn’t soften the dark line over the left eye. It seemed to hard and like it had been drawn. That’s a flaw. But I learned from it. As mentioned earlier my shadows did not turned out very well this time. At least not in the area of the neck. It was to green and to flat to look at. That’s a flaw again. Next time I will mix the shadow with more Burned Sienna. I painted most of the hair from the pool of shadows. I lightneded it with Burned Sienna and made highlights with Yellow Ochre.

Half tones

In the sockets of the eyes, around the nose, and around the eyes where there was oval shapes I added the half tones. I started to paint the side of the cheeks near the hair line in dark shadow tones but it came out wrong. I changed it to half tones which came out way better to the skin tones. The half tones in the described area leans toward the cold spectre. I always try to be true to my reference regarding half tones and shadows. I see some classical painters paint shadows very red even though the light hitting the face makes the shadow more cold.

Skin tone

Started laying down paint where the skin tones were the darkest. In this case it was in the forehead and the nose area. I yellowed the skin in the forehead with Yellow Ochre according to the reference. Likewise down the side of the nose on the left. I then graduately lightneded it with Titanium White while I added small portions of Scarlet Red and Burnt Sienna in the mix to minimize the cooling effect of Titanium White. It’s a difficult process for me because I have to lighten the mix and at the same time keep warmth to the cheek areas. The lightest areas was in this case my forehead and underneath my eyes. Titanium White was added to the mix until I felt value and temperature was correct.

Highlights

Highlights were not that dorminating on this self portrait painting. I concentrated on making oval shapes more than anything else. What I did make was a small white line down the nose, a little dot on the nose and a few dots near the tear canals of the eye. I mixed a microscopic drop of Scalet Lake in Titanium White and that was my highlight material.

Eyes

As always I paid a lot of attention to the eyes during the painting. I was aware that there were more shadow around the right eye. I painted the eye and shadow in one colour, but ended up lightening the pupil a little with Burnt Sienna. As stated before the dark lines above the eye assembling the eye lid got to harsh. They should have been softened more. It almost look like an eyeliner and that’s a flaw.

Nose

Compared to my present skill level the nose got okay. I wished I had made it look a little more round with some half tones playing around shadows and skin tones. The form, shape and temperature + value of the skin tone was perfect though. I used Yellow Ochre in my skin tone mix and added Scarlet Lake in the erea of the nose bud.

Mouth

Shape of the mouth was very correct according to my reference. The colour of the lips and the value was perfect as well. The mouth was to harsh. The paint should have been softened and blended into the skin tone around the mouth.

Restating

I honestly did near no restating on this one. I finnished in one setting. The question is that I should have looked at it the day after and corrected the flaws mentioned earlier. I just didn’t know at time the importance of restating.

Reflection

Overall I’m actually quite happy for this self portrait. It was my second painting with a hole new palette and new types of Nylon brushes. There’s many things I would have corrected had it been today. The truth is though that this portrait was one my most learning experiences and session ever. It not only gave me confidence in my new materials and palette but also my technique. So in many ways this is one of my favourite portraits because it launched me forward and it hold a lot of history to me.

It’s important to notice what style you like and want to paint before you start a portrait. You have to ask yourself if you want the painting to be photo realistic. You have to ask yourself if the painting should be a story of brush strokes, values and temperatures combined into simplicity.

Links to previous content

For more information about how I build up my portrait step by step follow this link: https://portraitpaintingblog.com/portrait-painting-step-by-step/

Fore more information about how I mix my colors follow this link: https://portraitpaintingblog.com/color-palette-portrait-painting/

To see a previous oil portrait painting for comparison follow his link: https://portraitpaintingblog.com/portrait-painting-oil-sofia/

Links to the materials and brands I use

Paint from Winsor & Newton artist color: http://www.winsornewton.com/row/

Bristle brushes from Rosemary and Co: https://www.rosemaryandco.com/

Ampersand boards from: https://www.ampersandart.com/

My Easel is from Edge Pro Gear: https://www.edgeprogear.com/

Nylon brushes from Trekell: https://www.trekell.com/

Portrait pencil sketch of Argentinian guy

I met this guy 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 Argentinian guy. He had settled in Christiania in Denmark which is called the freedom town of Copenhagen. After some time he led me take some photos of him in the light of the street bulbs.

Reason to write all this about this guy is that he became one of my favourite models and I practice a lot from the photos I took of him. Besides that the long conversation with him gave me a deeper insight of him and that’s for go big value when I paint people.

Measurements

In overall this a very lose sketch. It’s not a commision. it’s a painting I want to use for fairs later on. I have way more freedom with this drawing and painting and that’s very nice to have sometimes. It give me freedom to try new stuff and to research my palette and my brush strokes. I made this sketch with no hardcore measuring. What I mean by that is, that I didn’t use my pencil or brush to measure vital flagpoints like the space between the eyes, nose and mouth. I did it only by eye measuring. I like when I have the freedom to draw this way, because the sketch get’s kinda lose and caricature like without losing it’s alikeness.

Eyes

Eyes was made lose as well. The right eye is almost totaly covered in shadow. I like these small features. That’s what gives your portrait a story and a feel. So when I put paint on later I definitely will keep the shadows. Besides that, the eyes came a little closer than the original, but that’s the price you pay when you don’t measure everything down to the milimeter.

Nose

There’s a little to much detail around the nose than I would like. I would like it to be more in shadow. But the reference just have a lot of light in this area. I could make up som shadow and maybe I will during the painting layers. But for now I keep it this way. Nose came out fine regarding measurement.

Mouth

Kept the mouth very simple. I know from experience that the more simple the mouth looks the better. The model has a lot of beard in the area, and that just make’s it easier for me to simplify the mouth. It’s barely just the shadow line between the lips and the shadow line underneath the lower lip. I like it that way.

Shadows

The shadows are dominant in this reference. And that’s just the way I like it. The contrasts during painting sessions will be very definite. I’m looking forward to see how it turns out during the painting sessions.

Reflection

Reflection about the drawing is very important for the next stage of painting. It’s here you think about what story you wan’t to tell. And I want to tell a story of big contrasts, lot’s of hair and urban raw looking Argentinian. So the light source, the contrasts and the model in one unity will tell my story here – hopefully.

My family is going to Agentina soon, so I hope I can make the painting before we go.

Links

For more information about how I build up my portrait step by step follow this link https://portraitpaintingblog.com/portrait-painting-step-by-step/

Fore more information about how I mix my color follow this link https://portraitpaintingblog.com/color-palette-portrait-painting/

Portrait oil of Sofia

Portrait painting in oil of Sofia
Portrait of Sofia, made in oil from Winsor and Newton

As stated earlier in my pencil drawing from the 9 th. of march Sofia is my cousins daughter. She was 9 years old when this portrait painting was made.

Based on the foundation of my drawing I knew I would have a good start and felt secure to start putting on layers of paint. That meant that I did’nt need to put to much effort in correcting the drawing with my paint.

In the following I will explain in chronological order how I build up the portrait painting in oil of Sofia.

Color mixing

Started putting down my colors which consists of Cadmium Green, Burnt Sienna, Scarlet Lake, Yellow Ochre, Indian Yellow, Titanium White, Manganese Blue Hue, Cobalt Blue, Dioxazine Purple, Alizarin Crimson, Olive Green, Ultramarine Blue. I put down the colors in the order as described above from left to right. The following is a very thorough describtion of my color mixing, since I find it very important the nature of it. For more information see my page of color mixing.

Darks

Mixing my darks for shadows was the next step. They consisted of Olive Green, Alizarin Crimzon and Ultramarine Blue. From previous experiences i added a little more Alizarin Crimson this time, so I knew the shadows would have a little more red in them. It just looks more like skin if you can see the red in your shadows.

Shadows

The shadows I made consisted of the previous pile mixed with Burnt Sienna and Yellow Ochre. Since my portrait was fairly light in the skin tone I mixed a little more Yellow Ochre in the mix to lighting it up. The shadows need to be a middle value of all the shadows that persists in the portrait.

Middle tones

Then I mixed the middle tones with the Burnt Sienna and the Cobalt Blue. This makes a nice grey that can be altered in a warm and a cold spectre. This mix is later used to make the darkest lights. These darkest lights are used everywhere there’s oval shapes – “explained further down”. In this portrait I used more Burnt Sienna, which would make it warmer, since my shadows were also warm. To keep it as coherent as possible

Neutralizer

This color mix is my neutralizer because it calms down the redness in the later mixing of the exact 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. This mix was made approximately with half of each color.

Light tone / Skin tone

The light tone consisted of Burnt Sienna and Titanium White – in the following order. Since my portrait was very light and almost pinkish in her skin tone I lightninged it more with Titanium White. After this I mixed my Neutralizer into it, to grey it more and neutralize the red Hue. It was an overall light skin tone.

The darkest lights mix

Added my light skin tone mix to the middle tone mix. This made my darkest lights. 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.

Laying down the paint

Shadow areas

I always lay down my shadows from the darkest areas to the lightest. No expection this time either. Used my darkest pool of darks to the corners of the eyes and the nostrils. In the the neck line I used more Yellow Ochre in the dark mix as the neck turned more and more towards the light. Was aware not to make it to yellow and therefore added more Scarlet Lake along the way. The shadows or darker ares of the hair I added more Olive Green to my mix. Olive Green works very well to darken blond hair as this model had.

Darkest lights

The darkest lights mix was added where the cheek turned, around the nose area, around the chin and around the eyebrows. Always do that. Was aware to make the dark light mix reddish with the Scarlet Lake so I look coherent with the shadow – but lighter. I think I managed pretty well to make the illusion of a turning cheek etc. Everywhere i analyzed the areas if they were warm or cold and altered my mix accordingly.

Skin tone

Skin tones were first added next to the cheek area and chin area since I knew these were the most red areas and had some of the most “darkest” areas regarding value. Later I put down the skin tone paint at the side of the skull near the hair line, as these areas seems to fade from the light. Around the skull in general and in the forehead near the hair line I put down the first layers of skin tone paint with the darkest value and again I added a little bit of Scarlet Lake to the mix. After this I added paint to the nose area and in the lower part of the forehead in the middle of the eyes. Now with the darkest areas in the skin tone area set I could work my way towards the light by adding Titanium White to my skin tone mix.

Highlights

Added highlights around the forehead, nose area and small dots around the eyes. Never use Titanium White on it’s own for highlights. So I added a tiny bit of Scarlet Lake to my highlights to give it a reddish feel. It’s barely visible. In the hair I tinted some Indian Yellow and put this mix in has highlights in the hair.

Eyes

The eyes in general can be tricky. They did turn out to require extra work for me as well. It’s such a small area to work at and I don’t want to make it to detailed. It’s a fine balance that you personally have to find. Think I managed to find the balance here both regarding the eye color and the small discreet details around the eyes like little hightlights and small areas of flesh that are more exposed to light than others.

Nose

The nose did not give me much trouble with this portrait. It was probably because I had a very solid drawing underneath. Laid down the darkest lights next to the shadows and made them a little more red. And then I graduately moved towards the light accordingly to the oval shape of the nose. Sometimes the form of the nose slips as you put down layers of paint, but I was lucky this time to keep it true to the model.

Mouth

As when I’m drawing so painting this area which I find most troublesome. So was it this time. Found the painting of this mouth was a little to hard. The paint is to defined and look so much like lines – like a drawing. I would have liked the edges to have been even softer. This is important, but still I find it hard. The more soft the mouth is painted the less hard it looks and the less it looks like a drawing.

Restating the day after

The day after during my restating of the portrait painting in oil of Sofia I found out that I had lost my drawing a little during the painting. Especially around the eyes. But I managed to get back on track and the eyes acutally turned out better than in the drawing.

What could I have done better and reflection

I think this portrait painting in oil of Sofia came out well. I wiped away the hole first session of painting once and stripped it down to the drawing. First session turned out way to light in my skin tone mix. Found that I had made it to light even though the model was light. I learned to keep my skin tone more to the average of the hole skin tone area. In this case it meant that I had to add more Burnt Sienna in the skin tone mix. But it was a very learning proces for me and it was not as discouraging as I have felt before. I’ve managed to keep a good balance between it looking like a painting and not to realistic and still being true to the features of the model. As mentioned before I would have liked the mouth to be more soft.

Links

For more information about how I build up my portrait step by step follow this link https://portraitpaintingblog.com/portrait-painting-step-by-step/

Fore more information about how I mix my colors follow this link https://portraitpaintingblog.com/color-palette-portrait-painting/

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.

Measurements

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

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.

Nose

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.

Mouth

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.

Shadows

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.

Links

For more information about how I build up my portrait step by step follow this link https://portraitpaintingblog.com/portrait-painting-step-by-step/

Fore more information about how I mix my color follow this link https://portraitpaintingblog.com/color-palette-portrait-painting/