Oil Portrait Painting Process

Ms. Jones -  Oil portrait - full figure painting  by Richard Ancheta - Montreal.

Ms. Jones - Full Figure Painting
Oil Portrait on Canvas (40"x33")


Oil Portrait Painting Process

STAGE 1 Ms. Jones -  sketch portrait - full figure painting  by Richard Ancheta - Montreal.
I simply use an ordinary HB graphite pencil, tight penciling placing details in the precise position. I did some grays to have some volumes. And after, I spayed a thin layer of fixative to protect the drawing from smudging and not to be mix in the colors of the later stage.
Ms. Jones - imprimatura - full figure painting  by Richard Ancheta - Montreal.
Imprimatura - After the fixative is dried, I start to apply a thin glazing of yellow ochre ( acrylic color) and immediately dried by a hair dryer. I applied the second coating, the sketch is lightly visible, if some of the details are covered with paint, slightly scrape it with foam or a rag. Let it dry fully, this time the pores of the canvas is sealed with paint and toned ground color ready for first application of oil paints.
Ms. Jones -  Oil portrait - underlayer technique - full figure painting  by Richard Ancheta - Montreal.
At this stage, oil painting begins mixed with tumpertine without a linseed oil. I start filling the darkest tone and block all the possible heavy toned areas especially in the corners. At this stage is placing the light source emphasizing the main subject, the faces and the hands. By using the "chiaroscuro" technique, I play with the shades and shadows increasing the solidity of the figure.
Ms. Jones -  Oil portrait opaque colors - full figure painting  by Richard Ancheta - Montreal.
Opaque colors - After the blocking of the darkest area, I start painting the natural colors and middle tones in every section, completing the impression on the image.
Ms. Jones -  Oil portrait - glazing - full figure painting  by Richard Ancheta - Montreal.

At this stage, I start playing with shades and shadows, add different tone density and the local color of the main subject, foreground descending to background. I filled all the areas and let dry to prepare for the next session. I used paint thinner as a solvent and quickly dries the applied oil paints. I start adding more colors and concentrating in every details adjusting proportions and tones in each section.

Ms. Jones -  Oil portrait finishing - full figure painting  by Richard Ancheta - Montreal.

The Finished Painting

Glazing - Practically the whole of the picture has now been repainted with a series of glaze, giving it with more solid form.

I increase the depth of the shades and shadows and find some missing final details.

I signed the painting, let it dried and applied it with a series of protective varnish.


Portraiture is the art of depicting specific human individuals as themselves. The ability or desire to portray the features of a particular person in a convincing way has not been universal in the arts. It is even more rae to capture the personality of an individual, the goal of the portrait in its truest sense. The degree of resemblance attempted by and expected of the portraitist depends on the broader attitudes of society toward the significance of the individual. Some degree of tension always exist between a need for fidelity to the model and a desire for improvement on nature.

Images that seek to show only the physical form of an individual are termed effigies, for example, the tomb figures of the Egyptian pharaohs. Portraits in the fullest sense were created first by the Greeks in the late classical period (4th century BC).

The first certatin example of true portraiture is a head of Aristotle (c.320 BC; Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna), which is typical of the finest Greek portraiture, conveying not only a covincing sense of physical reality but a broader feeling of personality as well. The portraits of Alexander the Great by artists such as Lysippus ans Appelles began a tradition of heroic ruler imagery that dominated the official art of the Greeks, Romans, and their medieval followers.

Among the early Romans a tradition of ancestor effigies involving death masks evolved into a highly realistic portraiture by the 1st century BC. At the same time increased contact with Greek art encouraraged a contrasting fashion for more-idealized likenesses, especially of political leaders. Toward the end f the Roman Empire, portraits became less concerned with physical than with spiritual likeness.

Midieval portaits were also more concerned with spiritual likeness but never completely lost their Greco-Roman heritage of accuracy. Individuals tended to be portrayed as standardized, recognizable images. In the late Middle Ages realistic portraits aplpeared in works in which the identity of the subject was particularly important - tomb figures and donor portraits. An example of the latter is Giotto's portait (c.1305) of Enrico degli Scrovegni, donor of the Arena Chapel at Padua.

Donor portraits, incorporated into religious scenes, were cmmon in Italy for another 150 years, a peiod in which portraiture for its own sake developed in the North.