This is Maribel's Family portrait. It is a commissioned work. The client wanted me to paint her family from very old photographs. Photographs were monochrome at the time. I remember having old photos from when I was a baby. We have photos from when me and my brothers were babies. Those pictures were kind of black and white but they were retouched to add some color to them.
My customer sent me 4 separate photos since there were not photos of her family in which they were together. You can see the original photos on my video.
Family Portrait Sketch
I played with the pictures to position them in a way that it looked like the photograph was taken in a single sitting for the whole family.
Here is the final sketch I did on canvas before starting to paint.
First Stages of a Portrait Painting
After the sketch was finished, I applied acrylic glazing medium to protect the sketch and prevent it from smearing or mixing the graphite and charcoal with the paints.
Challenges when painting from different reference photographs
Since each reference picture were taken at different time, and probably by different photographers; each photo had different light sources. In some, the light source was coming from the top right, and other from top left. This means that some pictures have the shadows on one side and the other from the opposite direction.
But that wasn't the only challenge! They were not looking at the same direction. Specially the mother; she was looking way to her right as if she was distracted when shortly before the photographer took the picture. So I had to straighten or move her eyes a little to make her look like she was actually looking towards the front while still looking natural.
Now it was time to start the actual painting!
I started applying the first layers of paint with acrylics. This helped me speed up the time spent painting since acrylics dry almost immediately. Once I finished with the acrylics, I proceeded to paint the portrait with oil paints.
Oil Painting Layering Process
For this particular painting, it took about three (3) to (4) layers of oil paint. I had to let each layer dry before continuing with the next layer. The areas of the portrait that took four layers were the faces. For the clothing, I did about two layer; applying some impasto techniques on the girl, since she was the star of the painting (she was actually my client!).
The entire process took about a month or two to complete since I had to wait for the painting to dry between layers. This is the only 'disadvantage' of using oils for this kind of painting. It take much longer than with acrylics. But there is nothing comparable to the look and feel of oil paints!
Final Family Portrait
Her is the final product!
How to Commission a Portrait from artist Janet Garcia
I am currently taking commissions for portraits (people and/or pets). For more information, visit these pages:
Family Portrait Videos
Here you can watch some of the videos I took while painting it.
Family Portrait Part 1
Family Portrait Part 2
Remember you can speed up the video from Youtube video controls.
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