Friday, February 5, 2010

A Portrait of Wes

To begin this acrylic portrait painting I first gathered all of my colors to decide which colors to mix in order to get all the colors I need on my pallet. I use Liquitex Professional Acrylic Artist Colors.

Here is a picture of my pallet with the colors I will need for this portrait painting. Portrait paintings can be very complex because skin changes color as it rolls over underlying forms of tissue. In some places skin may be rosy pink, or blush red, while in others pale peach or light brown. To get the skin colors in my portrait painting I used cadmium yellow deep hue, red oxide, quinacridone red in small amounts mixed with titanium white. Wes wore a blue plaid shirt in my photo reference, so to get the colors for that I mixed cerulean blue and some bright aqua green with titanium white. A little transparent burnt umber, prism violet and some mars black helped render hair and shadow areas. I mixed my colored together with a up and down dabbing motion of a pallet knife. To test out the color, or to thin the paint out a little, I smear the paint across the pallet a little. Then spray a little water on it to thin it out.
I began the portrait painting by painting the background a light yellowish peach color. Then I started blocking in the general shape of Wes's plaid shirt using the light blueish green color because if you squint your eyes you can see that the shirt is predominantly a bluish green color. Then I used my light flesh tones to block in the shape of the arms and head. Gradually working in the big shapes, I began to build in detail from general shapes of color to more specific subtleties.

Then I took a break to let all of the color completely dry. When I returned, I began adding another layer of details. To get the seams of the jeans I used a small flat end brush to apply bluish white, then right next to those seam shapes, I applied a shade of blue slightly darker than the local color of jeans. Once I got the figure to the level of detail I wanted, I added in the plunger in his hands. The portrait of Wes holds a plunger to reenact a humorous moment in his childhood, so it was important to suggest humor using light happy colors in this painting. I used the dark grayish, bluish purple color to create a drop shadow against the yellowish peach background. The plunger handle is cylindrical, so I used the appropriate colors to build in a half tone and a highlight to give the plunger a dimensional look in the painting. The actual plunger is bowl shaped, so to render that I thought about how I would render a sphere, then modified it to create the plane shifts where the light would curve towards and away from the light source.
Here (above) you see the finished piece. A Portrait of Wes by Stan Levine 18" X 14" on acrylic canvas board.
My link to buy Liquitex paint is my associate account's link to That means that if you buy acrylic paints for your paintings from that link, I will make a small percentage for promoting the product on Amazon.
Thank you for viewing my blog.

Happy painting and peace be with you,

Stan Levine

No comments:

Post a Comment