Art Lesson 43, Part 4
How to Paint a Girl Portrait
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How to Paint Hair in Oil
Before starting to paint individual hairs in color, try to do them as one big mass. At this stage, outlining the main mass of hair and headband is enough. Choose a dark mix of colors with a prevalence of dark blue (in this case, French Ultramarine). In painting the hair and headband you could experiment with the thickness of the painted surface. The face of the girl is relatively flat; but you could do the hair with more texture. This technique is called impasto – lay the paint on the surface thickly enough that the brush strokes are visible. When dry, impasto provides texture with the effect of paint coming out of the canvas.
Now you are starting to apply the color. The original color of the girl’s hair is dark brown. For this purpose you could mix earth brown and yellow pigments. Prepare the mixed combination of paint and apply it in highlighted places. You could also mix your ready paint on the canvas with the dark blue paint you applied before. In this way you could easily get the necessary transition from one color to another while the paint is still fresh. The marks that remain after brushing give additional character to your painting.
Because the first layer of painting in “dead colors” was made on a white background you can see it shining through the headband, which was done in semi-opaque Ivory Black plus French Ultramarine. You can take advantage of this effect. Leave the highlighted places untouched; the rest you could fill in using a mixture of Lamp Black, which has opaque characteristics, and French Ultramarine.
As with painting the hair, you could create extra attractive features on the headband by using the impasto technique. Scoop up more paint on a brush and lay it on in the characteristic manner to make the hair accessory texturally interesting.