View Full Version : Portrait WIP

03-15-2008, 01:17 AM
Been away working (gotta support the art habit:)) and I'll have to check out all the neat stuff in the Pastel threads. Anyway, I am working on a portrait and since there were a few requests for a "WIP," I took some photos of the progress. I'm not really sure what info folks are looking for so bear with me. Also, being a self-taught type in pastels, I use methods that (eventualy) worked for me and may not be "by the book." In fact, there are probably much better ways to do it, but I'm too old and stubborn to change;).

I am using a 14 x 18 sheet of "Sand" color La Carte and started with a pastel pencil sketch from a photo to establishe some "landmarks" for the facial outline and features. Any shading/values will be lost with the first layer of pastel. The sketch was sprayed with W&N fixative.

Sorry, these pictures were taken indoors with a flash so the color is a bit off. I will try to fix that later.

The next step was to fill in the face with a mid value (or thereabouts) color. Rembrandts were used for all of the 'large area' work.


And then lightly rub it in until the surface feels smooth.



With this foundation layer on I can begin to put in values and begin to blend the colors with very subtle shading, BUT- there is only so far you can go with this. The major part of it has to be done before the tooth is gone and the surface becomes smooth and hard. Once that happens, no more blending.

First "layer" of values applied.


Then a darker value was blended with the first.


Not worried about the "skewed" shoulders at this point and she needs a nose job, but hopefully things will work out as it progresses.


03-15-2008, 01:22 AM
always love a wip ... esp on a portrait !! ... this is great !! ... many thx for doing it ... it's coming along really well ... do you know the names of the colours that you're choosing? ...

03-15-2008, 08:36 AM
It is always so nice to see how others work....and I can tell already that my approach is very different...Can't wait to see what you do next.

Thanks for sharing.

03-15-2008, 10:01 AM
Thanks for posting a portrait WIP. I haven't done portraits before, but am getting the desire to do some (now that I have a grandchild!:D ) so this is very helpful to me.

Will keep a close eye on this one! Looks great so far.

Deborah Secor
03-15-2008, 10:05 AM
Oh good--I need to see this happen! And on La Carte, too. A favorite of mine. Thanks Don...


03-15-2008, 12:05 PM
GREAT WIP.. I love the way you are explaining this as you go.. am fairly new to pastels, so this is great to see! Will be stopping back in to see this develope.. Looking great so far!!!

03-15-2008, 01:38 PM
Unfortunately I have been using 'remnants of Rembrandts' and the wrappers are long gone. I will try to match them down at the art store to get the names of the colors.

Pretty much all pencils from this point on. Added color to eyes and mouth and started shaping the nose.

Finished some of the detail, added lighter values and did more blending of the shadowed areas. Also blocked in the darker values of the hair (lightly 'rubbed in' as before with a finger). Also blended in some Derwint Pastel Terracota and Spectrum Orange into the facial shadows.


Lighter values blended into the hair then some initial unblended pencil work on top of that mainly for highlights. Right side (her right) of the hair didn't show much in the photo so it is a bit sketchy at this point.
Also darkened neck and chin shadows. The 'tooth' of the paper is almost gone at this point.

Background will probably be lighter than this initial go at it.


Thanks to everyone for your interest and encouragement.
Should wrap it up this afternoon.

03-15-2008, 01:57 PM
Unfortunately I have been using 'remnants of Rembrandts' and the wrappers are long gone. I will try to match them down at the art store to get the names of the colors.

goodness !! ... please don't go to that trouble !! ...

you've done a marvelous job, both with painting a lovely portrait and doing so in a wip ...

David Patterson
03-15-2008, 02:26 PM
This is looking great Don...thanks!!


M Douglas
03-15-2008, 02:56 PM
Wonderful so far, I haven't had the nerve to attempt a portrait (YET), i'm grateful for the opportunity to see how other artists proceed. THANK YOU DON.


03-15-2008, 09:41 PM
Added some blue to the neck shadow and to the whites of her eyes. A little more detail in the hair and added more Terracotta to the face with very light pencil strokes. Roughed in ribbon.

Just about done. Fixed/changed the hair a bit on her right side; finished the ribbon; filled in dress; blended a dark violet (?) and the color that was used for the mid-value of the face for the background.


This is the pallet I used.

Next one should be the final ?:o

03-16-2008, 02:34 AM
awesome !! ... the sheen on her hair is fabulous !! ... the ribbon is great and the little girl is beautiful ... someone's going to be thrilled to have this hanging on their wall !! ...

03-16-2008, 04:39 AM
This is wonderful WIP.. I love watching others work and their progress..
You have done a very appealing portrait here..Thankyou for your steps, it has been good to see...
The background is lovely... nice depth.

03-16-2008, 07:17 AM
A beautiful portrait, thanks for the step by step, very informative.

03-16-2008, 09:28 AM
Thank-you for the awsome step by step

03-16-2008, 09:33 AM
Great Job! I love watching step by step demos. I love seeing the portrait come to life.

03-16-2008, 12:17 PM
Did some minor detail stuff and then darkened the shadows on the right side of her head and both shoulders by spraying with fixative. I think it is done. Thanks for dropping in and for the encouraging comments.



03-16-2008, 02:46 PM
Lovely painting of the cute child! The ribbon is the dot over the "i". Thank you for WIPping it, I too love to see how other people work a painting. I'd love to see a couple of details, too, if you took any close shots.

03-16-2008, 03:54 PM
Oh this turned out beautiful!! & you make it LOOK easy!! Thanks again for the steps.. I will have to give it a try :))

03-16-2008, 06:11 PM
Beautiful demo. I'm so impressed that you were able to get such volume in your shapes when painting from light to dark on the skin but it sure works nicely.

Well done! It's also very generous of you to take the time to bring us step-by-step. I know that takes time.

Congratulations!!! BArb

03-17-2008, 04:32 AM
:clap: :clap: :clap: wow:clap: :clap: :clap:
Hi don, im in awe, your work is brilliant..you are one talented man..
:thumbsup: :thumbsup:
Thankyou so much for sharing and showing us how you do your WIP..
:D :D

03-17-2008, 05:17 AM
So this is where you have been Don when you strayed from the Marine Forum!! ..... but it's Ok .......we forgive you :wink2: How could we do anything else?
This was wonderful to see how you worked your way to painting such a beautiful portrait. :clap: :clap:

03-17-2008, 07:09 AM
very nicely done! great work!

eagle owl
03-17-2008, 07:37 AM
A very impressive portrait, full of life.

Thanks for the WIP.


03-17-2008, 07:44 AM
Oh dear! :o Sorry Don about all the posts ...... at the time it didn't seem to be posting any replies! .... :confused: :lol:

03-17-2008, 07:54 AM
wonderful finish !!

K Taylor-Green
03-17-2008, 01:41 PM
LOL I took care of the extra posts. Seems we are having mucho problems.

03-18-2008, 03:31 AM
Thanks Katherine! :thumbsup:

WC Lee
03-22-2008, 02:48 PM
good work :)

03-23-2008, 09:03 AM
Stunning! I love to watch other artists work. Thank you so much for sharing the process.

Frank Walsh
05-31-2008, 02:08 AM
So this is where you've been hiding.:wave: I wondered what happened to you, we've missed you over at the wet side. Your WIP was very informative and it turned out beautiful but so is the model.:thumbsup: Remember you owe us WIP in the marine forum. You can thank me later for putting you on the top of the page.:D


Mary Brigid
05-31-2008, 12:54 PM
I am so glad I did not miss this. How very generous of you to do such a detailed wip. It is a stunning portrat. Thank you so much
Mary Brigid