Nia’s Portrait

Posted on August 24, 2013 by Thomas | Artworks | Tags: , , , |

Had this painting for nearly a year before I did the finishing touches. Always helps to have a fresh eye.

Nia Oil Portrait

“Nia”, oil on 50×40 linnen canvas.

Here is the palette before I started painting. I’m typically trying to reduce the amount of colors, here I stuck with four colors and white. For the very last brushstrokes then, that highlight some areas, I add a tad of extra colors.

Oil Pallete Mix

The palette mixed before starting to paint. The colors used are: Cremser White (Oud Holland), Winsor Blue (Red Shade), Indian Yellow (Winsor), Permanent Magenta (Winsor), Transparent Oxide Red (Rembrandt)

  1. I am finding my eye being pulled to the blue strokes on the bottom right. it is competing with the face, maybe try softening the strokes so they don’t stand out. the blue on the left is good it helps the shoulder have definition but the other side is not working for me. beautiful portrait.

    • Thank you Beryl, very interesting to hear. I added those for some color contrast, but I see what you mean. I won’t change this one anymore, but it’s helpful to keep in mind for the next picture what the real focus is, so to be more subtle about these accents.
      Thanks for the input.

  2. Lovely face, well executed portrait. I agree with all comments about the blue at right shoulder. Perhaps a lighter background and blue (or green) dress would have been preferable.

    • Good idea – a blue dress would have done the trick. I already tried to keep the background with low contrast. But the eye seems to adjust and it stays busy, something to pay more attention to next time. Tough to get good critique – so thanks a lot.

  3. Really beautiful job on the portrait Thomas! I love your choice of palette colors. If I could be really picky about it, I think that the gray strokes in the upper left corner are distracting as well. There is too much busyness which distracts from your lovely portrait. Maybe smudge it up a bit (a highly technical term, I know) to make it less defined. “Like she’s coming out from a fog” is what a couple of my painting instructors have said. I look forward to what you do next!!

    • Thank you for the comment. I really don’t think though, that this is the case – one can reach 95% of all tones with this reduced palette. Pure colors rarely show up in nature.
      This approach is a bit inspired by John Singer Sargent and Anders Zorn – that got sometimes stunningly colorful results even when using only two pigments and white.


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