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Elijah's Football Portrait: The Process

Here is Elijah's football portrait after 4 days of work.  I still have a few details to add once it's dry enough to touch up and sign, but for the most part its finished. Here is how it progressed from the underpainting. If you're not used to seeing a work in progress (WIP) then this stage of painting may look bizarre to you. I start with the darkest shadow tones of the skin, then the middle or half-tones and finally the lightest skin tones.  I blend with a mongoose brush and then begin adding the details of the face to capture the likeness.  I must say I agree with John Singer Sargent's famous words, "A portrait is a painting with...

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Day 2: An Athlete's Football Portrait

I was up early again this morning and was able to complete the underpainting on Elijah’s football portrait. Underpainting is a low-key version of the final painting. This method of using a brown or gray monochrome underpainting is also called a grisalle, which was used by the Renaissance artists. It may seem odd to do an underpainting that I’m going to paint over, why not start with full color? You can think of it as a blueprint of the final version of the painting and it serves several purposes: 1. It fixes the main compositional elements.2. It serves as a tonal guide to the subsequent application of color.3. It allows me to paint with thin paint, particularly in the shadows...

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Starting an Athlete's Football Portrait

I was up early (5:20am thanks Daylight Savings) and started a new painting. I’m veering away from my usual subject of prophetic, faith-based art and doing a traditional portrait. For this portrait I’m working from a photograph so I have a really good reference to use as I begin.  Typically I use a toned canvas of raw umber and odorless mineral spirits which helps establish the extremes of the painting, the darkest darks and the lightest lights. It also makes it much easier to judge tones and is a lot more forgiving than a white canvas. When I use this method of a toned canvas I usually wait for it to dry overnight, however I was in a bit of...

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