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Drawn To Love: oil painting

This is the first oil painting in the series Drawn To Love. Up to point, I have only been doing portraits in pencil on paper. But, the photograph I studied had such intense lighting that I felt paint would better tell the story rather than pencil. (photo credit: Daniel Smädný Mních Jurčo).

Below is the progression of this portrait. At the end of each day, I took a photo of the development thus far. Some days saw 4-5 hours worth of work. Other days saw as little as 30 minutes. I start with a pencil outlay. I work in diluted paint to get the basic tonal values down. The darkest areas first. It's about getting as much paint down as possible. Cover that blank white canvas! The features are painted in roughly. Areas of block color. No depth.

Then I work in mid tone values. I adjust any proportions that are glaringly askew. I make adjustments and sophistications to the flesh tones. Notice the photo with the dark green contours! Yes, there are green hues in our skin; maybe not that vivid though!

I then start comparing the portrait so far with the reference photo. Having them the same size instantly highlights the proportion slip ups. This saves me hours of studying between photo and painting.