Acrylic Portraits: Painting the Folds in the Jacket
The application of dark tones to the jacket.
The underpainting of the jacket was built up with several glazes of sap green to achieve a dark translucent surface. The edge of the lapels and collar of the jacket received fewer coats of the glaze to highlight their outline.
The rendering of folds on the jacket was achieved by following the usual process:
- refining their tone, colour and texture
The dark tones were painted with thicker than usual glazes of Prussian blue mixed with sap green and applied with a half inch filbert brush. It is natural to paint more freely with a larger brush so you must be careful with your drawing. Consequently, the darker tones which establish the structural shape of the folds were worked out in a preparatory study so that little was left to guesswork.
Artists often use a more spontaneous painting technique with looser brushwork when they paint the peripheral garments in a portrait. This creates a contrast with the sharper detail of the head. For the same reason, the tone and detail of our jacket fades towards the edge of the portrait to reduce any possible distraction from the focal point of the face.
The application of light tones to the jacket.
The light tones were painted with a mixture of permanent light green mixed with titanium white and applied with a quarter inch filbert brush. It was important to use titanium white in the mixture as its opacity was necessary to cover the dark underpainting. The light tones begin to establish the highlights in the folds of the cloth. Their colour should be mixed brighter than is necessary because they will lose some of their intensity when they are blended into the underpainting.
Unifying the tone, colour and texture of the jacket.
Refining the tone, colour and texture is the final stage in painting the jacket. The aim is to carefully blend and balance the dark and light tones with the underpainting, smoothing out any awkward looking bumps and filling in any irregularities in the paint surface. This process has the effect of reducing the contrast between the darkest and lightest tones and unifying the form to create a smooth fabric with natural folds.
Close up of the painting technique on the jacket.
The detail above gives a close-up view of the painting technique used for the jacket.
The basic dark and light tones were rendered with larger and stiffer hogs-hair brushes to match the scale of the area being painted and for greater control over the thicker paint. Brushing and smudging was the technique that was most usefully employed at this stage.
The refinement of tone, colour and texture was executed with thinner glazes of colour and mostly stippled with softer brushes to smooth out any irregularities. Some very fine glazes of white and yellow were carefully built up with small brushes to highlight the form, while glazes of Prussian blue and ivory black were applied to increase the depth of the darkest areas.