How to paint a portrait using only four colours in a limited palette

You can also learn to Paint a Portrait on your own time at your own home with your own virtual teacher. Go to:

Part of learning to Paint Portraits is also learning to copy the style and techniques of the Old Masters Painters like, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo Buanarotti, Durer, Caravaggio, Rembrant, van Eyeck brothers and many more. 

One of the tried and true techniques of classical art training is to copy the work of the Old Masters, those who painted before the 18th century. While this isn’t as much a part of current art school training in many places it is still a highly valuable undertaking.

Contemporary society is much more concerned with originality  so this kind of training doesn’t take place as  much anymore, but copying the work of a master or, in fact, any other  painter whose work you admire is an invaluable and highly instructive  practice. Some people, called copyist artists, even make a legitimate  income from copying the work of famous artists.

The Venetian painting technique of artists like Titian and Giorgione during the Italian Renaissance was derived from the painting technique of Northern Renaissance artists. Strongly influencing Venetian artists were the oil painting techniques developed by the Van Eyck brothers, Flemish painters working around 1400. Van Eyck’s painting technique combined the use of egg tempera and oil painting. The underpainting was done in a grisaille technique, with pure coloured oil glazes applied on top. This combination painting technique worked well for their small panel paintings, producing the luminous, jewel-like tones for which they are so famous. Underpainting gets its name because it is painting that is intended to be painted over in a system of working in layers. There is a popular misconception that underpainting should be monochromatic, perhaps in Gray-scales.

A Limited Pallette, essentially means limiting the amount of colors you use in the painting to the bare  essentials. ... Color harmony - with fewer colors to mix together in  your painting with a limited palette, there is an added harmony between the colors 
  • Find a good reference
  • Make sure that the composition takes into account the look and feel you want to evoke from the viewer.
  • Start by drawing the head out in pencil or charcoal or on the canvass
  • Don’t rush this stage. This is the most important part of the painting. get the proportions right. 
  • Do all the shading as you would normally do in a pencil or charcoal sketch
  • Make sure all the detail is correct
  • Re-draw the pencil sketch on the canvass with a thin brush and Burnt Sienna (BS) or Paynes Grey (PG).
  • Once the line drawing is done, do a thin wash of BS over the whole painting including the background.
  • Don’t be too neat, make the wash quite watery
  • Once the wash is dry, start washing in a second layer on all the shadow areas.
  • Mix a string of colour: BS and white.
  • With the darkest tone BS and the lightest tone in white.
  • Use this string to work in the darks and the light into the painting.
  • Imagine the darkest colour (the pure PS) as a no 10. 
  • Imagine the lightest colour (the white) as a no 1
  • Now numbers all the shades in between from 2-9
  • Look at your painting as a paint by numbers project. Fill in the numbers as u see in. Maybe a 3 on the cheeks a 2 on the forehead etc.
  • This method of painting is called GRISAILLE – meaning painting in dark and light.
LifeArt School

Author: LifeArt School

Leonie has been painting for 30 years. she has a degree in Art as well as a Teaching diploma. Her dream has always been to help other reach their full potential, in art as well as in daily life. LifeArt School has been in operation since 2004 and has managed to help various students become full time artists. Leonie is also a well know local and international artist. She paints three days a week and her work is available in various galleries.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll Up Optimized by Optimole