The art of portrait

The art of portrait painting in oil colours

This informative book on portrait painting has been preserved for generations and fully deserves to to be available to all portrait artists online. While the art of portraiture has moved on, much of what was written is still valid and relevant to the modern day portrait painter.

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If the first painting has been executed with any degree of freedom, and left to dry without having been slightly touched here and there with a soft brush to remove any superficial inequalities which might affect the second painting, it will be necessary to examine the picture with a sharp knife or scraper ; but this operation cannot be performed until the work is perfectly dry. This may be determined by breathing on the surface, which, if dry,  will immediately assume a  dull and  misty appearance ; but if still wet, it will remain unsullied.

The surface having been reduced, if necessary, a wetted sponge should be lightly passed over it: when dry, which it will be in a few minutes, a small quantity of poppy oil should be lightly brushed over the work, from which the superfluous moisture may be removed by the gentle application of an old silk handkerchief.

The object of thus moistening the surface with poppy oil is to make the subsequent painting unite with the first, and so embody the first, second, and following paintings that no discordant difference of execution may appear in the picture.

Having passed the silk handkerchief over the surface, it will be necessary to observe that no dust or any of the thin threads of the silk adhere to the work. In finishing portraits, experienced painters omit oiling for the sake of obtaining texture ; but the application of the sponge can never be omitted, because without it the glares will not lie.

All oil colours sink to a certain extent, and, in the progress of a picture, sometimes so much so as to render oil necessary in order to see the real strength and details of the work; this is termed ‘ oiling out.’


About John Payne

Pet Portraits     Art for sale - oil paintings

I’ve been a professional portrait artist for the last 12 years but have been painting for a lot longer . I started out by painting nothing but seascapes and still do the odd one from time to time , I then moved onto landscapes and wildlife paintings before I finally decided to concentrate on portraits.

I get commissioned to paint a lot of pets , mainly dogs – but I also get to paint a fair amount of portraits of people.

more about John                                                                  John Payne       




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