How to paint a portrait in oil- Mastering the supreme discipline!

academy portraitkurs 02 - How to paint a portrait in oil- Mastering the supreme discipline!

Painting a portrait in oil belongs to the most complex art disciplines and is also one of the funniest ones. The objective is to convey the expression and personality of a person. However, not just rendering the form, tonality, and color of the subject but also his/her feelings. Learning life painting is something which goes far beyond form and color.

Portrait painting in oil – how do I start?

The participants of the workshop “Painting a portrait in oil from a model” started with a sketch in charcoal aimed at studying the anatomy of the model as well as light and shadow. In this way, the participants learn to pay attention to details and the basic techniques to render the exact proportions and shapes of the model on canvas.

Portrait painting in oil – how do I paint with oil?

After this first step, we start with the actual painting with oil. You start with the background and paint the darkest and brightest parts of the portrait. After the introduction of how to mix different tonalities we stroke the first brush of paint. You start laying larger areas of color and build up the forms gradually in layers. And then, try to correct yourself by painting finer lines and more detailed edges. You have to repeat this process again and again until the completion of the portrait.

Portrait painting in oil – Summary of the participants!

Since the motivations and personalities of the participants are so different and individual, also the results and reviews of the workshop are different and individual. However, what connects them all are the affinity to portrait drawing and painting, the enthusiasm to learn and put into practice the methods we taught them, and the joy of sharing and making friends!

It has been appreciated that we helped everyone and gave individual advice. This is indeed fundamental if you want to see and develop the talent of each person. We have noticed that they learned a lot and that they could immediately apply the techniques we taught them.  For two participants this has been even the first portrait and oil painting ever.  On the contrary, other participants had already experience with oil painting and with various painting courses, as for example, Chris, who liked as a child to draw and paint. He grew up in the countryside and was always looking for a way to professionally draw and paint. Today, he studies art at the Magisterium in Frankfurt and found that this was the best workshop he had ever attended. Here he has learned much more than in any other class before. His favorite thing was the excellent explanation of the teacher Ricky Larsson about light and shadow on a ball. This is an essential part if you want to learn realistic painting and drawing.

Take a look at our post “Realistic Oil Painting“.

academy portraitkurs 01 - How to paint a portrait in oil- Mastering the supreme discipline!

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