portraits

How to Glaze an Oil Portrait Course – New Course!

by Will Kemp oil painting

How to Glaze an Oil Portrait for Beginners Course When I was trying to find my way in portraiture, I’d spend hours studying Old Master paintings thinking “Wow, how did they do that?” I was flummoxed. Not only did the skin look realistic, but they’d managed to capture those bluish grey tones that lie just […]

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Discovering Velázquez, The Duke & Unexpected Treasures

by Will Kemp painting

When Vanessa suggested a spot of Winter sun, if I’m honest, I dragged my feet. Locations where being proposed and I politely nodded. When she casually mentioned a possible trip to Seville, my interest was piqued. Why? Seville was the birthplace and hometown of Spanish artist Diego Velázquez, and one of my favourite paintings is […]

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New Year, New View? How a Few Small Changes Influenced my Portrait Painting Style

by Will Kemp oil painting

There was a small sign that hung below an empty black space, it read ‘In Prestito‘. On loan. Last Summer I was back in Florence, Italy, to visit one of my favourite paintings that had enticed me to the city over 10 years ago. The only problem was, when I got to the gallery, the […]

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Inside Rembrandt’s Studio

by Will Kemp oil painting
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Earlier in the Summer, I took an impromptu trip to see ‘Late Rembrandt‘. It was the first time that an exhibition had been solely dedicated to Rembrandt’s late works. Many of the most famous paintings that he produced in the last 15 years of his life had been brought together from museums and private collections […]

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Singer Sargent & Friends

by Will Kemp painting
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An Artist in His Studio, John Singer Sargent, 1904 Last month saw the opening of a new exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London. The show highlights the work of one of my favourite portrait painters, John Singer Sargent (1856 – 1925) I’ve been a fan of Singer Sargent’s paintings ever since visiting the […]

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How to Paint Acrylic Portraits

by Will Kemp acrylic painting
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Painting portraits with acrylics can be frustrating. It can seem that you’re facing an uphill struggle. After the pleasure of not getting headaches from toxic turpentine and being able to paint with thick impasto marks there seems to be double payback for daring to tackle a portrait with acrylics. Not only do the colours appear […]

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How do you approach lighting a portrait painting?

by Will Kemp portraits
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This week I’ve been featured in the U.K’s best selling artist magazine, ‘Artist & Illustrators‘. The article was on understanding ‘How light sources can add impact to your portraits’. It looked at three professional portrait painters and how they approach portrait lighting set ups of their subjects. Below is the conversation I had with Martha Alexander […]

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The 3 key secrets of portrait painting success

by Will Kemp oil painting
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The Art of Painting (detail),  Johannes Vermeer, 1666 You might think you need more time, or the perfect paint brand or a new brush. When the weekend comes and you’ve finally managed to find some ‘you’ time, the blank canvas stares back at you and the finished portrait, you so desperately wanted to achieve, seems a world […]

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How to paint a Portrait in Oils – Time-lapse video

by Will Kemp oil painting
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How to paint a black & white portrait in Oils This is a time-lapse video of a classical approach to a black & white grisaille portrait painting. It accompanies a free series of 5 step by step, portrait tutorials. Click here to read How to paint a portrait in Oil : Part 1 A full, […]

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How to Paint a Portrait in Oil – Part 5

by Will Kemp oil painting
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How to paint a portrait series. This is part 5 of a 5 part series of tutorials for beginners making the transition from drawing to oil painting. We look at how importance value and tone are in creating a realistic black and white portrait using classical oil painting techniques. Here is a quick review of what we have […]

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How to Paint a Portrait in Oil – Part 4

by Will Kemp oil painting
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How to paint a portrait series. This is part 4 of a 5 part series of tutorials for beginners making the transition from drawing to oil painting. We look at how importance value and tone are in creating a realistic black and white portrait using classical oil painting techniques. Here is a quick review of what we have […]

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How to Paint a Portrait in Oil – Part 3

by Will Kemp oil painting
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“When you come back to your painting you’ll notice how the oil has become translucent overnight and won’t have the same coverage that you first thought.” How to paint a portrait series. This is part 3 of a 5 part series of tutorials for beginners making the transition from drawing to oil painting. Here is a quick review […]

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How to Paint a Portrait in Oil – Part 2

by Will Kemp oil painting
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How to paint a black & white portrait in Oils a Step by Step approach In this series of 5 posts, I am going to look at the process of how to tackle painting a black & white portrait using oil paints. So when you come back to your painting the next day, it’s a good […]

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How to Paint a Portrait in Oil – Part 1

by Will Kemp oil painting
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How to paint a black & white portrait in Oils Have you been practising your portrait drawing for years yet making the jump to oil portrait painting always seems to end in an underwhelming finish? Or do you walk around portrait galleries in awe with the question, ‘How do they do that?’ Maybe you’re frustrated […]

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A beginners guide to colour strings (and how to paint quicker)

by Will Kemp acrylic painting
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When you first start painting, the vision is of squeezing out bright vivid paint colours, a handful of paintbrushes, maybe a beret? But often this approach is an illusion, an artist myth. To get professional results you need a professional approach. If you want freedom and expression on the canvas, a bit of premixing can […]

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Self Portrait Painting selected for Ruth Borchard Competition

by Will Kemp portraits
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Off – Screen, Oil on linen, 40 x 30 cm, Will Kemp self portrait 2011 I’ve just had my self-portrait selected for the Ruth Borchard Self-Portrait Competition. It was painted with Ivory black, raw umber (both Micheal Harding oil paints) and titanium white (Winsor and Newton) on pre-primed linen. About the painting Offscreen represents a […]

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How to choose a basic Portrait painting palette for Oils

by Will Kemp oil painting
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Head Study – After Collins, Oil on Linen, Will Kemp “Every time I paint a portrait I lose a friend” John Singer Sargent How not to paint a portrait, a personal tale Let me take you back several years to the beginning of my experiments with portraiture. It was a bright sunny morning after a […]

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