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

portrait painting techniques

(I now have a 6+hr Oil Portrait Video Course that covers a distilled grisaille process and full-colour glazing demos for two portraits. You can watch a video intro on this page : Oil Portrait Glazing Course)

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 your efforts can easily dishearten you. 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 ReadingHow to Paint a Portrait in Oil – Part 1 of 5

A Beginners Guide to Colour Strings

colour strings oil painting

…and How to Paint Quicker

When you first start painting, the vision is to squeeze out bright, vivid paint colours, a handful of paintbrushes, or 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 try to achieve a more realistic effect.

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

Let’s enter the world of colour strings…

Continue ReadingA Beginners Guide to Colour Strings

Beginners Acrylic Still Life Course – Part 3 & 4

Still life cherry final stages

Part 3 & 4 of this 4 part series for beginners to acrylic painting

The first thing I do is to add some thicker paint to the main area of the cherry. This helps to reinforce the colour and is the time you can start to use thicker paint on top of the thinner underpainting we’ve already established.

I then glaze over parts of the cherry with the Alizarin Crimson & Burnt Umber mix. As both of these paints have a transparent nature – they are perfect for adjusting hues using thin layers of acrylics.

I then begin painting in the reflective light. This is the light that has bounced off the white of the table and is adding a subtle glow to the bottom edge of the cherry…

Continue ReadingBeginners Acrylic Still Life Course – Part 3 & 4

New Absolute Beginners Drawing Class

Absolute Beginners Drawing Course

Sketch by Will Kemp, whilst eating gelato in Rome

Step-by-step Online drawing instruction course

I’m developing a New Absolute Beginners Drawing Class to help aspiring artists to fulfill their creative potential.

If you’re here from Lateral Action 7 ways learning to draw can improve your productivity then hello!

The reason I’m creating this easy to follow, on-line video course is to help frustrated artists find a way to express themselves by drawing with confidence.

With over 3 hours of tuition from Will, you can go on a creative journey to discover that you can pick up a pencil, wherever, whenever and actually start drawing…

Continue ReadingNew Absolute Beginners Drawing Class

How to Use Acrylic Gels & Mediums (video)

acrylicgelmediums

Do you feel you should be using mediums?

You’ve probably brought a couple and had a play around, but are you using the right ones?

Or is the overuse of mediums doing more harm than good?

Acrylic mediums can change the consistency of acrylic paint and allow you more flexibility and creative freedom than any other type of paint.

The trick is to use the right ones for the right situation.

What is the difference between gels & mediums?

Gels are usually used thickly, to keep shapes and add texture.

Mediums are pourable and used to thin out paints and give the Acrylics extra working time for blending…

Continue ReadingHow to Use Acrylic Gels & Mediums (video)

The 3 Steps to Becoming a Better Painter, by Painting Less

acrylic still life painting course Ever wonder where you’re supposed to find the time to paint?

If you’re trying to paint in your spare time, it can seem impossible.

You’re already struggling just to find a clear space and get your paints set out and sometimes you can’t even manage that.

You want to work on your colour mixing, try a new paint colour, and definitely do some more sketchbook work, but you also have a job, family, friends — responsibilities that are just more important.

And so you wonder: should you just keep going, doing the best you can?

Or is there a strategy you can use that doesn’t require so much time and achieves better results?

Continue ReadingThe 3 Steps to Becoming a Better Painter, by Painting Less

Absolute Beginner Acrylic Landscape Painting Techniques – 4/4

limited palette complementary colors

The final part of this 4 part series – Beginners Acrylic Landscape Painting

This is the final stage of the painting. I now add some of the pure Ultramarine Blue and Alizarin Crimson to achieve the richer colours needed.

The pink in the sky is just a mix of Alizarin Crimson and White. Make sure you start with the white (Titanium White) and add the crimson to it, little by little.

You will only need a small amount to create the pink…

Continue ReadingAbsolute Beginner Acrylic Landscape Painting Techniques – 4/4

Acrylic Landscape Painting Techniques – Part 3

landscape painting palette acrylics

“With a limited palette, the older painters could do just as well as today… what they did was sounder.”
Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Lessons for an Absolute Beginner

Part 3 of this 4 part video series for beginners to acrylic painting

The first thing I do is block-in the bottom half of the sky with the pinky tone; I’m not worried about too much detail, just getting a general tone blocked in.

This helps you judge relative tones and assess the next layer of colours that need to be added.

The ‘block in’ is still using the same premixed colours that we used for the sky and the clouds.
By using a limited palette, it makes it easier to create a visual balance and harmony.

Continue ReadingAcrylic Landscape Painting Techniques – Part 3

Acrylic landscape painting techniques – Part 1

acrylic landscape painting

“Painting is very easy when you don’t know how, but very difficult when you do”
Edgar Degas

Lessons for an absolute beginner

A step-by-step approach to acrylic painting

In this series, I will be posting a weekly video on my YouTube channel to follow along at home. It’s free to subscribe to the channel so you can keep updated with the painting progress.

Continue ReadingAcrylic landscape painting techniques – Part 1

How to Apply a Varnish to an Acrylic Painting

varnishing_an acrylic painting

An uneven finish in your painting, some parts matte, other parts glossy can be very off-putting to the viewer.

A unified finish enhances the colours and is a great way to add both a professional finish to your paintings and add dollars to the sale price.

No one technique for varnishing suits every situation. The texture of the paint surface, the desired finish, speed of completion, etc all affect which technique is best to use.

On a side note, it’s also the number 1 trick to making your acrylic paintings look like oils…

Continue ReadingHow to Apply a Varnish to an Acrylic Painting

The 5 Key Differences between Acrylics vs Oil paints

The difference Oils and Acrylics

A Beginners Guide

What is the difference between Oils vs Acrylic Paints?

Do you want to learn to paint but don’t know where to start?

Get excited about all the paintings you are going to create but don’t know which types of paints to begin with?

To understand the pros and cons of oils vs acrylics you need to ask yourself a few simple questions to decide which medium is best for you…

Continue ReadingThe 5 Key Differences between Acrylics vs Oil paints