Self image: basic materials and techniques (3)
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the smell of the grease paint
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 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
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.
by Frances Borden
© the artist / BP 2000
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.
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.
Pen and Ink
Traditionally printing is a collaborative process: often a master printer will assist an artist with plate making and pulling prints.
Sir Anthony van Dyck
by and published by Jan van der Bruggen, after Sir Anthony van Dyck
by Gertrude Hermes
by Richard Hamilton
See also: Mirror Mirror
Do, draw and make!
Do, draw and make!
From building dens to food faces – enjoy our Playful Portraits activities and find out about some brilliant people!
Activities for children and families inspired by three healthcare heroes from our Collection.
Downloadable and web based resources to support learning at home linked to art, history, citizenship and literacy.
- Sir Nathaniel Bacon (NPG 2142)
- Phil May (NPG 3038)
- Bernard Howell Leach (NPG 6017)
- Leon Underwood (NPG 6472)
- Alfred Wolmark (NPG 4884)
- Ithell Colquhoun (NPG 6485)
- Arthur Hayward (NPG 5825)
- Gertrude Hermes (NPG 6002)
- Sir Alfred James Munnings (NPG 4136)
- Patrick Heron (NPG 6540)
- Allen Jones (NPG 5911)
- Lucian Freud (NPG 5205)
- Richard Hamilton (NPG 5278)
- David Hockney ('The Student - Homage to Picasso') (NPG 5280)
- Leon Kossoff (NPG 5772)
- Wenceslaus Hollar (NPG D3268)
- Sir Anthony van Dyck (NPG D4552)
- Philip Mercier (NPG D5677)