Portraits - Part 2: Conclusion

We have chosen to maintain the same color scheme for our portrait as we apply the finishing touches. However, the tonal values will become stronger and more defined, while we smooth out the imperfections.


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  • We started the finishing stages in the same manner as when applying the underpainting.  That is, we applied similar colors throughout the canvas.  As before, start from light to dark.  This technique is a matter of preference, but  is widely accepted by most artists.

  • This is the part where the impasto is applied more generously than when executing the underpainting. Make sure the lighter the color, the thicker it can be applied.  And conversely, the darker the color, the thinner it should be used.

  • In this particular case, we wanted to create a "painterly" look, to give the portrait an informal look.  To achieve this look we used brush sizes between 4 and 14.  To the beginner this may seem like an impossible task, but if you learn to use the brushes at the right angle, you can paint very small details with large brushes.

  • The flesh tones not only create the illusion of the parts of the face, but depending on the color temperature, they create volume and perspective.

  • When we painted the hair, we decided not to spend too much time with unnecessary detail, because it would distract from the center of attention which is the face.

  • The neck was finished next, keeping in mind it has a cooler temperature than the face.

  • The background was painted while making the contrast between neighboring parts of tge face more prominent.

  • The clothing was finished with quick brushstrokes while providing a strong foreground that takes the eye of the viewer into the center of attention, which is the face.

  • And finally, the signature.  We believe the signature should be a complement to the painting and not a distraction.  Study different artist's signatures and develop one that best suits your style and personality.  The color that you use is as important as the style of your signature.  Take the time to develop a signature that is unique and artistic.  After all, it is your name and reputation you put on the line in every work of art that you sign.

Graphics by Santa Maria Studio. All Rights Reserved. 2004