Portrait Work: Underpainting

So I’ve finally gotten past the pondering stage, to where I’m working on the portrait today. This one is from a photo, and is meant to look pretty close to photorealistic when it’s done (though not exactly, of course, or why bother asking for a painting?). So this won’t be my usual dashed-off Friday work, although some of those elements are incorporated into the beginning.

Anyway, enough talk, here’s the progress for today:

p1120442I blocked in the background a couple days ago, then let it dry so I don’t have to focus on it. Later, I’ll probably go back and give it more depth, but for now the important thing is to have a solid starting ground that won’t halo the figures. Staying in the lines is overrated 😉

p1120443I’m starting my favorite way, completely ignoring flesh tones in favor of sketching out the figures, then filling in with primaries in strategic places. Ultimately, the primaries probably won’t be visible, but having them there underneath the heavier layers gives me a framework to work with.


After letting it sit and dry for a bit, I went back in with the first layer of flesh tones. it’s still at the awkward stage, but this is a good stopping point for today. Tomorrow, assuming it’s not still too wet, I’ll go back in and start refining.p1120445

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6 Responses to Portrait Work: Underpainting

  1. It’s like watching a Polaroid develop – except this takes talent!

  2. QP says:

    Yes,it’s fun for us to watch the development. And given the season, I like the red, curvy heart cami touch. Touche!

  3. walt says:

    Interesting how their mouths went from being kind of “exaggerated” to being life-like and pleasant in the last one. Coongrats on pondering first! (“The Chinese and Japanese artists have understood for a long time the importance of being “still,” of gathering their energies for a few moments before beginning.”)

  4. jwm says:

    I’m always in awe of someone who can pull this kind of thing off. Creating a portrait that looks like the people you’re trying to paint is, in itself, way outside my very limited skill set. Doing one that can capture something of the interior of the subject is another order of magnitude outside of that. Watching the process actually increases the mystery. Very cool stuff.


  5. julie says:

    Thanks, J. To me, one of the coolest things about this process is that even though I’m doing it, it’s still largely a mystery to me, too.

  6. Linda says:

    It was fun to see this update in real life-cannot wait to see where you end up going!

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