Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Lilac Whispers-Portraits

Double Portrait Work In Progress
Whispered secrets in the shade of a lilac garden.

These cute kids are my sister-in-law's two grandchildren.The older one has already graduated college. She's been after me to do a painting for a while, so here goes. .
This is oil on an 18 x 24 stretched canvas. A bit unusual for me since I have worked almost exclusively on small 5x7 canvas panels for the past six years or so.
I remembered to take more snaps along the way than I usually do.

Session #1
First I worked from a grid. Because this is larger than I'm used to, plus it's a double portrait. Had to be as accurate as possible right from the start. After it was drawn, I used a sharpie on the important lines I didn't want to lose...kinda like a road map.
I tinted the entire canvas with thin alizarin acrylic to establish a warm mid value. This makes it much easier to judge your first darks and lights.Then I laid in the darks.
Session #2 
Now I started to state the darks with thin oil. Mainly pthalo blue and alizarin crimson.
Session #3
 At this point, I began to feel out some color blends and values. Straight from the tube but applied rather thinly with a scrubbing motion.
Close up of session #3
I spent more time in developing the faces than anywhere else at first. I knew if it didn't work there, I would have to start all over.

Next post on these kids coming soon..... probably will include the finish. Make sure you come back! More to come!


  1. Dean, I love watching you develop this painting....Thanks for sharing your wonderful talent!

  2. So very, very beautiful and I love seeing the process. You are quite brilliant at portrait painting. You must love doing it.

  3. Bonjour cher ami,

    Il est toujours très intéressant de pouvoir visualiser l'évolution d'une peinture. Je suis captivée par la manière que vous travaillez ces deux adorables portraits.
    Une peinture très prometteuse et j'ai hâte de la voir achevée. J'aime la sensibilité que déjà elle dégage.
    Gros bisous

  4. This is truly a beautiful piece and look forward to seeing the finished painting. A big treat seeing it come to life, Dean!!! I can only imagine the challenge it took in painting a portrait this size..Your sister-in-law is going to love this!!!

  5. Wow, Dean! I am awed, truly. You should do more portraits; you rock them. I always do portraits from a grid. Unless I miscount, I usually end up with a great likeness - and that is important. There is such a feel of the old masters' work in these delicate faces. Wonderful and I can't wait to see it finished!

  6. What a wonderful job you're doing on this portrait. I love the concept. I know your sister will love it. Bravo!!

  7. Thank you for giving a peek into your process. You are colorful, right from the beginning! Can't wait to see the finish!

  8. Hi Dean, you are the king of "technique" and that is why I always read your posts through carefully. Next month I am off to take a portrait painting course. Having taught so many people, I am back to "school" myself. So I am studying this portrait development with great interest!


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