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MY ART THOUGHTS | Portraiture Made Easy

Creating commissioned works in painting or drawing, particularly portraiture, provides a steady avenue for artistic expression and revenue. Many individuals aspire to have their faces immortalized on canvas, paper, or even monuments. To secure such commissions, a mastery of realism drawing or painting is very essential, as most people prefer their portraits rendered in a lifelike manner , most prefer hyper realism and not in abstract form.

In the Renaissance era, renowned artists like Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael were highly sought after by royalties and the Catholic Church for their expertise in realist painting. One of the most iconic portrait paintings, Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa,” now housed in the Louvre Museum, exemplifies the timeless appeal of realistic portraiture.

Becoming a proficient portrait painter requires a solid foundation in the basics of drawing and painting. Mastery of proportion, color theory, and paint mixing is crucial to capturing the right form and hues. Understanding the interplay of light and shadow, where color values play a pivotal role in defining form and creating spatial illusions, is also paramount.

Before the advent of photography, live sittings were necessary for portrait painting. Today, however, artists can work from a photograph, eliminating the need for the subject to be physically present. Various techniques, such as the grid method or tracing, are employed to achieve an accurate likeness.

The grid technique involves dividing both the reference photo and the canvas into equal ratios, creating a grid for accurate replication. Tracing methods, using tracing paper, carbon paper, or even overhead projectors, offer additional options for transferring images with precision.

While these tracing techniques are invaluable for achieving accurate proportions, the challenge shifts to replicating the exact hues and values during the painting process, requiring significant amount of time in practice. Nonetheless, mastering freehand drawing or painting remains a valuable skill, ensuring the ability to undertake commissioned portraiture even without the aid of tracing instruments.


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