Self image: basic materials and techniques (3)

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Oil
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the smell of the grease paint

Materials:
Oil paints in tubes or tins
Canvas, board, paper, card or wood
Range of brushes
Linseed oil, Turps or other painting medium in 'dipper' or receptacle
Palette
Palette knife for mixing paint
Jars for mixing paint
Drawing board or easel
Masking tape (if attaching paper to board)
Rags and white spirit for cleaning brushes
Pencil for underdrawing
Varnish (optional)
 

Oil paints are made of dry pigment blended with an oil-based binder such as linseed oil. They come in ready mixed tubes, jars or tins or it is possible to make your own paints by mixing together the raw pigment and oil ingredients, available from most art shops. Most brands have two ranges, Student colours, and the more expensive Artists range which are of a superior quality.
This painting has a haunting fragility despite the coarse texture of the paint. This is achieved through the concentrated focus on the sitter's eyes and downturned mouth which have been exaggerated slightly for impact. Her head is supported by a slender neck which is elongated, pushing it beyond the top of the painting. The dark enlarged eyes seem to gaze past the viewer into the middle distance hinting at an air of sadness or wistfulness. The choice of colours, although realistic, is controlled and sombre and the cold blue background enforces the overall feeling of isolation.
Frances Borden by Frances Borden - © the artist / BP 2000

Frances Borden
by Frances Borden
© the artist / BP 2000




James Hague by James Hague - © the artist / BP 1996

James Hague
by James Hague
© the artist / BP 1996




This intense painting is a good example of glazing technique as the oil paint has been considerably diluted with a medium and laid in almost transparent coats of flat colour. Even though the painting is made of a number of combined layers, the paint is so thin that the weave of the canvas is still clearly visible. Great care has been taken to soften any visible brushmarks so as not to interfere with the smooth surface of the painting. The features have been stylized and presented in a series of angular shapes and lines rather than soft curves. The combination of smooth finish and semi-cubist style make this modern portrait reminiscent of Deco paintings of the 1930s.

 

These examples show the variety of effects achievable with oil paint.


Leon Kossoff, by Leon Kossoff, 1981 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

Leon Kossoff
by Leon Kossoff
1981
NPG 5772


Arthur Hayward, by Arthur Hayward, 1933 - NPG  - © reserved; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

Arthur Hayward
by Arthur Hayward
1933
NPG 5825


Sir Nathaniel Bacon, by Sir Nathaniel Bacon, circa 1625 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

Sir Nathaniel Bacon
by Sir Nathaniel Bacon
circa 1625
NPG 2142


Lucian Freud, by Lucian Freud, 1963 - NPG  - © The Lucian Freud Archive / Bridgeman Art Library

Lucian Freud
by Lucian Freud
1963
NPG 5205


Allen Jones, by Allen Jones, 1959-1960 - NPG  - © Allen Jones / National Portrait Gallery, London

Allen Jones
by Allen Jones
1959-1960
NPG 5911


Patrick Heron, by Patrick Heron, 1951 - NPG  - © The estate of Patrick Heron. All Rights Reserved, DACS, 2013

Patrick Heron
by Patrick Heron
1951
NPG 6540


Pen and Ink

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Alfred Aaron Wolmark, by Alfred Aaron Wolmark, 1926 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

Alfred Aaron Wolmark
by Alfred Aaron Wolmark
1926
NPG 4884


Ithell Colquhoun, by (Margaret) Ithell Colquhoun, 1930s? - NPG  - © reserved; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

Ithell Colquhoun
by (Margaret) Ithell Colquhoun
1930s?
NPG 6485


Sir Alfred James Munnings, by Sir Alfred James Munnings, circa 1950 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

Sir Alfred James Munnings
by Sir Alfred James Munnings
circa 1950
NPG 4136


Phil May, by Philip William (

Phil May
by Philip William ('Phil') May
1894
NPG 3038



Prints  
Traditionally printing is a collaborative process: often a master printer will assist an artist with plate making and pulling prints.
Etching  
Bernard Howell Leach, by Bernard Howell Leach, 1914 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

Bernard Howell Leach
by Bernard Howell Leach
1914
NPG 6017


Wenceslaus Hollar, by Wenceslaus Hollar, 1647 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

Wenceslaus Hollar
by Wenceslaus Hollar
1647
NPG D3268


Leon Underwood, by Leon Underwood, 1921 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

Leon Underwood
by Leon Underwood
1921
NPG 6472



Mezzotint
Sir Anthony Van Dyck, by and published by Jan van der Bruggen, after  Sir Anthony Van Dyck, 1682 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

Sir Anthony Van Dyck
by and published by Jan van der Bruggen, after Sir Anthony Van Dyck
1682
NPG D4552



Philip Mercier, by John Faber Jr, after  Philip Mercier, 1735 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

Philip Mercier
by John Faber Jr, after Philip Mercier
1735
NPG D5677


Wood Engraving Silk Screen/Collotype

Gertrude Hermes, by Gertrude Hermes, 1949 - NPG  - © Simon Hughes-Stanton & Judith Russell

Gertrude Hermes
by Gertrude Hermes
1949
NPG 6002



Richard Hamilton, by Richard Hamilton, 1970 - NPG  - © DACS 2013

Richard Hamilton
by Richard Hamilton
1970
NPG 5278


See also: Mirror Mirror

 

 

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