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Friday, August 1, 2014

Formal Portrait: Business Portrait

My painting this week began with a formal business portrait. I love the variety of work that I do and welcome the challenge of a traditional oil portrait.

Stage 1: The composition. I photographed my subject in his office which had northern windows. Perfect lighting. We started with a series of shots with his full suit on but after a while the suit jacket came off and we transitioned to a more relaxed  casual pose. With a thin wash of oil paint mixed with mineral spirits, I drew his image freehand. I try to use some of the same techniques I would use if I were painting him from life in my studio; broad, swift strokes in the beginning with more detail in the end once I am happy with the composition.
Stage 2: The underpainting. At this stage I am still using the thin wash of paint with my focus on form, light and shadow.

Stage 3: The second layer. While the underpaintng is still wet, I apply the second, thicker layer of paint with every effort to accurately depict his likeness, the correct light, color and shadow. Brush strokes are also important.

Stage 4: Completing the face. Even though I know his face is probably not exactly the way it will be in the end (there are always small adjustments), I can sleep at night knowing that I have his captured his likeness and his pleasant expression. It is time to move on to his dress shirt and tie.

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