How to Paint a Portrait in Oil – Part 4 of 5

black & white portrait painting techniques

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 covered so far if you’d like to join in…

Continue Reading How to Paint a Portrait in Oil – Part 4 of 5

How to Paint a Portrait in Oil – Part 3 of 5

portraittutorial translucent oils

“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 of what we have covered so far if you’d like to join in…

Continue Reading How to Paint a Portrait in Oil – Part 3 of 5

How to Paint a Portrait in Oil – Part 1 of 5

portrait painting techniques

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 by your process and don’t know how to change it.

Portraits can seem like the toughest subject to crack and you can easily be disheartened by your efforts. One wrong brushstroke can cause a subject to suddenly look ‘wrong’, panic sets in – your pencils get sharpened, charcoal out and you don’t come back to painting for a while.

But you don’t want to draw anymore, you want to paint.

So where do you begin?

Continue Reading How to Paint a Portrait in Oil – Part 1 of 5

A Beginners Guide to Colour Strings (and How to Paint Quicker)

colour strings oil painting

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 help you achieve more pleasing results, especially if you are trying to achieve a more realistic effect.

If you spend a little extra time in preparation, your actual time at the easel will be more efficient, quicker and rewarding.

Let’s enter the world of colour strings…

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Self Portrait Painting selected for Ruth Borchard Competition

Will-Kemp-artist-self-portrait

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 conscious shift away from the formality of traditional portraiture.

It was inspired by the snap-to-capture culture in which we live, where everything from the mundane to the most important moments in life are a mobile phone photo away, I like the juxtaposition of an instant snap, taken in a moment, with the meticulous hours needed when painting a traditional portrait.

The portrait took over 50 hours to complete.

It poses the viewer the simple question –  if the subject is not engaged in something worthy, does that make the painting less important?

The national exhibition runs from 14th October to 25th November at the King’s place gallery, London.

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How to Choose a Basic Portrait Painting Palette for Oils

Will Kemp Artist head study

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 long arduous night painting and I was feeling pretty pleased with myself, I had finally cracked my self-portrait…. enter my wife Vanessa

Vanessa: “Why do you look like Tom Jones?”
Me: “I don’t look like Tom Jones”
Vanessa: “You do, what have you done? The portrait was looking great last night!”
Me: “I don’t look like Tom Jones”
Vanessa: “You do! Look how orange it is, you look like the freakin’ Tango man”
Me: “Shit….. I look like Tom Jones”

Skin tone, it isn’t easy….

Continue Reading How to Choose a Basic Portrait Painting Palette for Oils