Painting Portraits

People have always felt the need to recreate reality; reinventing what we see and translating it to something timeless. Portraitpainting is also a part of this, although there’s no doubt about how somebody looks. It can still make a big difference on canvas depending on which artist is painting the portrait.

Not only the individuals influence how this will look, but beauty standards, media and what we all experience as ‘beautiful’ and ‘ugly’ have a say in the matter.

Learning how to paint portraits: how to start?

To paint faces well with oil paint, you need a model that will be able to sit a few times in a row. You can’t finish a master piece in one day and it’s necessary that you can always trust your model to take the same pose and expression.

On top of that, you need a solid knowledge of anatomy to understand how a body, and by extension a face, exists. Without this knowledge it’s harder to get a realistic and coherent composition that looks like your model. Painting faces is definitely not easy! Where body parts can be translated to abstract forms and shapes, the face has it’s own distinct features. One half isn’t even identical to the other; it’s important to notice this difference!

If you want to start painting portraits, it can be handy to follow a course. This is mainly because they have professional models and can learn you the correct techniques from the get-go. 

Which techniques are best?

This is your own choice, obviously, based on what you like and what materials you want to use. We recommend a classical painting technique; the one used by painters like Rembrandt. This technique really translates the subject on another level. This style also gives you insight into the use of light, shadow, composition and design.

It’s definitely not an easy style, but it gives a lot of satisfaction upon completion!