How to Paint Realistically in 4 Easy Steps

(Self Portrait, 2017)

(Self Portrait, 2017)

 Step 1: I begin each painting with a basic sketch. The sketch is done with a burnt umber or a burnt sienna. The purpose is to tone the surface so my eyes can see the proper values in relation to the background. I then allow the piece to dry.

 

Step 2: I use a limited palette made up of Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Red, White, and Black; which I use to fill in the basic shapes. I don’t focus on details or color accuracy in this stage.

 

Step 3: Once I have a basic outline, I begin working on the proper colors. I generally shy away from black at this stage and switch to Van Dyke brown. I mix in all sorts of colors to get the proper tones.

 

Step 4: Finally it’s all about working in the details.

 

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