Paint a por­trait

An­nie Stegg shows how to cre­ate a fan­tasy por­trait us­ing tra­di­tional oil paints, work­ing from back­ground to fore­ground, and us­ing other clas­si­cal tech­niques

ImagineFX - - Contents - An­nie has been paint­ing since child­hood and en­joys cre­at­ing work in­spired from folk­lore, mythol­ogy and na­ture. She strives to cre­ate im­ages that evoke emo­tion and imag­i­na­tion. Her clients in­clude video game com­pa­nies, fine art gal­leries and pri­vate col­lec

Be in­spired by the clas­sics.

The por­trait artists from the Ro­coco pe­riod greatly in­spire me. In­deed, these painters have al­ways had a large in­flu­ence on me, and their work has im­pacted my own meth­ods.

The por­traits of this pe­riod were both imag­i­na­tive and fan­ci­ful. Works were cre­ated us­ing beau­ti­ful vi­brant pal­ettes, ser­pen­tine lines, elab­o­rate or­na­men­ta­tion and ro­man­tic at­mos­pheres. Clas­si­cal myths were of­ten ex­plored in these paint­ings, us­ing a play­ful­ness that was unique for the time.

I’ll be show­ing you the tech­niques I’ve learned from study­ing these clas­si­cal paint­ings. I’m go­ing to be de­pict­ing a por­trait of Keto, one of the daugh­ters of Oceanus from Greek mythol­ogy. She’s a na­iad nymph whose name means sea monster in an­cient Greek.

For this por­trait I want to stay true to the clas­si­cal por­traits of the 18th century, while adding a fan­tas­tic el­e­ment – the baby sea dragon – as a twist. You’ll learn how I cre­ate a fan­tasy por­trait us­ing these meth­ods in one of my favourite medi­ums. While I’ll be work­ing in tra­di­tional oils for this paint­ing, keep in mind that many of the prin­ci­ples I’ll be show­ing here can also be ap­plied to other medi­ums, too.

Once the idea for your im­age has been es­tab­lished, I find it help­ful to cre­ate a value sketch on toned Can­son paper. This will act as the base foun­da­tion for the rest of the piece. Af­ter seal­ing the draw­ing with a layer of acrylic matte medium, I’ll be ton­ing the piece with a thin layer of oil to es­tab­lish a warm ground for my paint­ing. This ini­tial toned layer will help es­tab­lish an over­all mood for the piece, as well as unify the colours. It also has the ben­e­fit of giv­ing you a warm pal­ette to start with.

Work­ing from back­ground to fore­ground, I’ll show you how you can con­tinue to use glazes to en­hance the colours of your im­age, tone back high­lights and cre­ate over­all at­mos­phere. Fi­nally, I’ll demon­strate how to ap­ply de­tails that bring your char­ac­ters and their world to life.

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