Painting Ron

Painting Progressions for Advanced Class

I decided to paint this photo I had of Ron, taken a few years ago in Fairhope, AL. I chose it because of its clarity and especially the interesting play of light. I was also fond of the subject matter!   🙂


Here are some progressions:

Brown tone: 5-28-14:


This stage helps set the values.  Although many of my students would like to skip it and jump right into the painting, this is a very important step.  For one thing, the toned background will help you to see the true value of the paint when you begin, rather than getting it too light (a strong tendency when applying paint next to white.)

Painting start: Day 1

That said, it can STILL be scary!  (Now, it wouldn’t have appeared so drastic if I had done a detailed value study on the face as well. But it does show that you shouldn’t be “afraid of the dark”!  🙂

sorry face_2


First Scary Strokes…


 By the end of the first day’s Demo, it looked better.  He still looked pretty dark though!  But if you have very carefully matched colors, and you like what you are working from, then just go with it, rather than second guess yourself.  As the painting develops, the initial effect will be altered by the painted surroundings.

Left side of face painted, initial coat:

Left side of face painted-initial coat

Day 2: Other side of face—first coat


Now, my students tell me they want to watch every stroke!  (That’s GOT to be B-O-R-I-N-G!)  But they say not!  So I try to move along as quickly as possible.

They also tell me they WANT to see any mistakes I make…well, trust me, I make them!  But I’m sure it is helpful to see that, and to know that if they go astray, then with diligent effort (and perhaps a little help here and there) they can succeed!

Still, it was difficult looking at this “detached head” all week!  I was antsy to move on!

Painting-Day 3:

I finally added the neck!  Still a ways to go. I did a bit of tweaking on the face, but it will not receive a true second coat until after the background is established.


Painting-Day 4:

My plan this day was to paint the jacket, and to demonstrate that even with a complex subject, like plaid, the idea could be suggested with minimal effort.  I started by blocking in the darkest areas, and then added some lighter areas.  Painting wet-on-wet is important at this stage, as I wanted it to “blur together” somewhat.  I finally threw in some of the smaller woven lines of the plaid, and added shadows representing folds of the fabric. It will receive more attention during the final painting stage, but is sufficient to establish the initial effect.  And the final stage will not be a LOT more detailed.  Just cleaned up a bit.

Detail section from the first coat on the jacket :


Now, this was very quickly done.  It’s really easy to get bogged down in the details, but try to avoid that…and stand BACK to see where it is…frequently!

Having done the plaid, I moved onto the shirt, and having done that decided “Well, I might as well throw in some of this background stuff, to see the overall look of it!”

And guess what!!  His face then appeared a bit washed out!!!   I saw now that the following week I would need to darken it a bit.

Day 4-End of Demo:


Painting-Day 5:

This day I spent revisiting the face.  I wanted to pull it together a little more with the overall values (i.e. darken and brighten it some) so it would pull your attention more than the background.

While doing that (repainting the face), I am always watching for little details that will better capture the likeness.  I saw that the top edge of his left eye might need to be raised a bit…things like that.

Day 5-Revisiting Face


Painting-Day 6:

This day I continued with small corrections I saw, as well as worked more on the hair.  There were interesting lavender lights cast onto it, as well as on the face.

Day 6-Revisiting Face-Painting Hair:


Hair Detail:



Painting-Day 7:

I continued to work on the little details.  Worked more on the mouth, and the important shadows in the corners.  Also brought up more of the cooler colors on the face.

Day 7-Face Detail:


Day 7-Overall Painting:


Painting-Day 8:

Mostly just tweaked things I could see on the face.  Added some more Magenta/Lavender highlights, and worked on the mouth and the neck, as well as feathered edges on some of the light transitions, especially on the chin and neck areas.


And Finally……….here is the final version.

Ron (Completed Painting)  8-26-14


Ron-Face detail (Completed Painting)  8-26-14



2 comments on “Painting Ron

  1. Teresa Ulrich says:

    Amazing Darlene, so interesting and I loved it. thanks see you soon.

  2. Jackie Nash says:

    Darlene as usual never cease to amaze me.. I would love to be there to watch you paint… It always gives me such a thrill to see you work
    Jackie Nash

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