Jodie with Azalea - Learn Portraiture


Painting from a Photographic Reference

This article is a short prequel to a detailed tutorial to follow on painting from a photograph. I will share my methodology on getting your preliminary drawing accurate, scaling up, applying oil paints, choosing colours and finishing details. The sitter is my daughter Jodie and she starts her career as a tattoo artist this year. To commemorate her achievements I wanted to paint a portrait that reflects her determination, beauty, strength of character but also her introverted vulnerability. Entitled ‘Jodie with Azalea’ as this was my late mum’s favourite flower, and Jodie wears it in her hair.


A portrait should not merely hold a likeness of the sitter, but should tell a story about them. Many say, ‘it’s all in the eyes’, and this is true, but pose, colours and symbolic motifs can also add depth and meaning to the image. In a time of ‘selfies’, why would you invest time and effort to paint a portrait? I would answer that the act of painting is enjoyable and fulfilling and the end product is so much more than what any filter can achieve. In a world where ‘instant’ is in demand, painting is a skill where each meticulous brush stroke records an investment of time and effort. I guess I am of the generation that places value in learning a discipline and honing a skill to achieve an end product.

If you’re a beginner or have an interest in portrait painting, then keep watching this space as you may find the techniques and tips on offer useful.



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