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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The economy of the palette, and the composition of tints, have always been difficulties in the early practice of the student. It is hoped that the arrangement and the tints which we are about to propose will save much time in doubtful experiment, and guard against mortifying failures. It is a common plan to mix but a few tints, and to strengthen or reduce them by adding colour with the point of the brush at the moment when they may be wanted.

The series of tints presented in the following tables are, for the chief part, employed by the most eminent men in the profession. They are the results of the practice and experience of entire lives devoted to painting ; their adoption by the beginner will save him much anxious thought and experiment, and secure a result which he could never hope to attain by his own unaided efforts.

It is very rare to find two painters working with precisely the same colours and tints, preference and feeling having much to do with the selection. If an artist be asked if he employ some certain colours which may be commonly used in flesh tints, he will perhaps answer that he does not, or cannot, use them.

The arrangement and composition of the following colour and tints upon the palette, with the assurance that they will produce delicacy of the carnation hues, is a great step towards a successful imitation of lifelike colour ; but it must not be supposed that it only remains to apply them to the canvas. It will be found that there is yet much to be learnt which no rules can supply, and that nothing but application can teach.

It is also necessary to learn how far these colours and tints are available in imitating the life and warmth of the human complexion, and the various surfaces and textures which occur in nature. With a few colours, a masterly hand will produce the most charming examples of art; but in order to qualify the hand and eye with co-operative powers equal to the production of such results, a course of assiduous practice is indispensable. The degrees of the tints, their relations with each other, and their adaptability to the imitation of transparent shapes and delicate hues, must be closely studied.

If the complexion about to be painted is that of a lady or a child, preference will be given to the most tender tints, broken with pearly greys, softened into shades laid as a ground for a transparent  glaze

If the complexion of the sitter be of a stronger character, tints of a more decided tone-such as will approach the life- may be employed.





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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