Baby Wyatt Portrait in Oil

by Lisa Larrabee

oil  6" x 6"
Richeson 75 International
Small Works finalist

I was looking forward to working on this painting for several reasons.  First, I loved the picture and I was excited to create the painting for his parents. Second, I wanted to play with the process and try out some variations on a technique that is fairly new to me.  I thought I might try be able to use this technique on an upcoming painting on a much larger scale.  It was time to play!

My intention was for these mid-values to show between the lights and darks in the finished painting.  With this in mind, I used warm colors behind the face and hand and cooler colors in the shadows and blankets.

I began painting using the same process I mentioned in my previous post: Monochromatic Portrait Painting.  I used titanium white and allowed the colors underneath to show through by scumbling.

At this stage, in my previous post, I would have begun adding the dark values.  Instead, I opted to let it dry and glaze a layer of translucent colors.

I used minuscule amounts of alizarin crimson and cobalt blue mixed with Gamblin Gamsol (OMS) and Galkyd (oil glazing medium).

With the colors adjusted (and dry), I went back to titanium white to brighten the lost highlights.

At this stage, I added dark values.  I didn't push the darks to their extremes because I didn't want to loose the soft pastel effect.  I was very tempted to end the painting here, but I was caught on the idea of adding a very soft golden glaze to some of the highlights.  Also, I wanted to push the lights and darks just a touch.

I went with my instincts and tried it.  Let me warn you: a little goes a long way!  (and I mean very little).  I moved the tiniest bit around over key highlights.  It was so subtle, at one point I wasn't sure if I was seeing the yellow or if it was an optical after-image.  I made a few more adjustments and I am really happy with the result.  You can bet that I will be playing around with this technique some more!

~ Lisa