Home Drawing 4 Levels of Bringing a Portrait to Life: an Oil Portray Demo

4 Levels of Bringing a Portrait to Life: an Oil Portray Demo



Learn to create lifelike portraits by portray in layers. Gustavo Ramos shares the secrets and techniques behind his masterful work in an oil portray demo of Mom and Baby.

Mom and Baby (oil on panel, 20×15)

Stage 1: The Wipeout

To begin this portray, I coated the floor with a skinny wash of clear oxide purple and ultramarine blue diluted with odorless mineral spirits. I utilized this combination with a rag and wiped the panel till I achieved a light-weight impartial tone. Then, I began planning out the composition and drawing by carving out the lights with a kneaded eraser.

Oil Painting Demo: Stage 1 | the Wipeout
On this stage, I’m considering when it comes to mass and massive shapes, making an attempt to be basic however correct.

Stage 2: The Drawing

Within the subsequent stage, I switched from a mass mentality to a extra linear strategy to refine the drawing. By fastidiously positioning straight strains on the panel, I may decide the rhythms and spatial relationships of the pose, working from massive to small. I stored my conté pencil sharp always and made delicate solutions of kind and quantity as a warmup for the portray stage.

Oil Painting Demo: Stage 2 | the Drawing
I used a pointy conté pencil to refine the drawing and heat up for portray.

Stage 3: Portray the Entire

With my drawing established, my subsequent goal was to cowl the whole floor with a layer of paint. Utilizing my full shade palette, I tried to do that in a single portray session, working broadly and making an attempt to know the colour and tonal relationships all through the piece.

I used to be basically making an attempt to seize an correct first impression. I imagine the easiest way to perform that is by engaged on the entire portray without delay fairly than half by half. Utilizing outdated artificial brushes, I made sporadic marks that left an natural really feel, which might present by within the completed portray.

Oil Painting Demo: Stage 3 | Painting the Whole
On this stage, I stored my shadows semi-translucent and constructed up some impasto passages in the lights, in anticipation for the next layers of refinement.

I treat this stage similarly to the way I used to treat writing a first draft of an essay when I was in college. I’m not sloppy or careless, but covering everything up in one go allows me to see how each individual part relates to the whole. I let the initial pass dry completely before painting another layer.

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

Be part of us on Might 24 for an unique member occasion by which Gustavo Ramos shares his ideas the right way to elevate the style of portraiture and preserve an invigorating studio observe. Save your seat in the present day!

In regards to the Artist

GUSTAVO RAMOS (b. 1993 Brazil) is rapidly turning into a distinguished and sought-after oil painter within the realm of portraiture. His work has been exhibited in world class venues, together with the European Museum of Fashionable Artwork in Barcelona, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, and Sotheby’s in New York Metropolis. Join with him on Instagram @gustavoramosart or discover his work at gustavoramos.artwork.



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