Tag Archives: portraits

Tips and Techniques

Today, I am starting a new series to help you improve your skills and your art. The goal is to post a new topic in this category every week. If you have questions or ideas, please send me an email. I would love that. If I dont know the answer I will research it for you!

Toady, I thought we would begin with a tip on painting portraits or adding them to a painting. For instance a rider on a horse or child with an animal. When you paint a person the planes on the face that contain the eyes nose, mouth and chin are always parallel to each other. I have used my portrait of Eric to demonstrate.

Eric DiagramAs you can see from the diagram, all his features are parallel.  The angle of his eyes, nose and the tilt of his chin. This is particularly useful if the head is tilted or turned. if your drawing doesn’t look right check the planes.

This painting is done on Le Carte Pastel card as opposed to my usual surface of velour. I will go into the painting details in a later post. I must say that it is far easier to correct mistakes on this paper. But dont get it wet ! A drop of water will eat a hole in the surface that is almost impossible to repair! This works very well with pastel pencils. You can add details with softer pastels as well.

Happy Painting!

Portraits in Pastel

I thought you might like to see the progression with this portrait. So here’s a sneak peak of how I work:

Portrait1 Portrait2 Portrait3


In the first picture we have added skin tones and shading. I spend a lot of time around the eyes. You will also notice I have laid in a base coat for the other colors to blend into. There is just a hint of her hair and notice her pearl earrings!

In the second picture I have added the hairs and the beginnings of the background. One bubble has been put in and the others are drawn in.

In the third picture, I finished all the bubbles and her hand. All done except for final adjustments to the background and adding her cute striped sweater.

Bare Back Rider –the Finish

I finished the painting and elected not to put a top on the model. I thought her back was beautiful. As I worked I developed a new set of colors for my next Portrait Class in January. Simplifying all the colors I used last year to a handful of carefully chosen colors. Giraults are my clear favorites for portraits! Here is the finished painting.

Beautiful and tender portrait of the love of a lady for her horse.

Beautiful and tender portrait of the love of a lady for her horse.

The Work Continues………

This has been the most wonderful painting. I have enjoyed every moment and actually there have been no problems. Sometimes a painting will have problems to be resolved , but this one has been pure joy.

I have really enjoyed selecting colors for the skin tones in the young lady. I chose to use mostly Giraults for this painting. They are a bit softer than Rembrandts but not nearly as soft as Unisons. The color range for portrait work is perfect.. I probably have at least 7 layers on her back.  I will be finishing her this weekend!

beautiful and tender portrait of the love of a lady for her horse.

beautiful and tender portrait of the love of a lady for her horse.

Bare Back Rider continued 2

I have spent the day beginning the young lady in the painting today. First, I decided to work out my colors on a separate drawing of the woman. I used mostly Giraults with a few Rembrandts and NuPastels. In the cool areas on her back I used a glaze of lavender. It worked well for graying down the skin. Here’s the first drawing.Girl

I felt good about my color combinations so I proceeded with the painting. Tomorrow I will finish her body.US 6