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Portrait Painting Article

Portrait Painting From A Photo

By: Michella Ames

Portrait painting is now an amazing and gratifying process. What begins as a favorite photograph swiftly becomes a cherished oil portrait to be passed down through the generations. Portrait painting is now an enjoyable process for both the portrait artist and the subject. The portrait artist is presented with a picture, which he or she will then view and create a beautiful oil painting.

Traditional portrait painting consisted of an extensive long drawn out process that may have acquired months and required hours of uncomfortable sittings that stressed both the artist and the subject. Today hand painting and creating an oil painting from a photo, relieves the burden, reducing the time constraints on the subject and allowing the portrait artist to work in peace at the privacy of their own studio.
With the creation of the photograph, portrait paintings took a back seat to the term portrait. What used to be the only method of capturing an image, quickly lost it's popularity due to time constraints and costs.

Today more and more people are recognizing the value and elegance of hand painted portraits. Portrait artists are now utilizing the tools of technology and the paint brush to bring back the old traditional art of portraiture.

Photo portraits capture the perfect moment and perfect expression. An artist who specializes in painting portraits from photographs can now take this perfect or not so perfect photo and create a beautiful masterpiece.

Many times a photograph still requires some type of touch up. Red eye, poor exposure, subject is off center, poor lighting, background problems, this is just to name a few of the things that can go wrong in photography. A good artist can overcome all of these objections plus many more. An artist who creates portraits using the photo as their subject, uses the best of two worlds. Technology and imagination.

Pets are an important part of many families and deserve their place on the family portrait wall. Pet portraits make great gifts, are cheerful additions to any room, and the perfect memorial portrait for a passed friend. 

There are many types of portrait paintings. Business and corporate portrait paintings are professional and attractive in any front lobby or office. Political portrait paintings are a must in classrooms and bring sophistication to any personal library, while wedding or family portrait paintings make perfect gifts for any special occasion.

Written For AnythingPaintedOnCanvas by Michella

 Mediums and Supports

There are many types of mediums. while these types of mediums can be a personal like or dislike,  oil painting is by far the most popular of mediums. Anything Painted On Canvas suggest the following types of mediums/supports for use with the following subjects.

 

Anything Painted On Canvas recommends the following.

 

OIL

ACRYLIC

PASTEL

WATERCOLOR

GOACHE WATERCOLOR

PENCIL AND CHARCOAL

Person

YES

No

YES

NO

YES

YES

Animal

YES

YES

NO

NO

YES

YES

Landscape

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

Detail Vehicle

YES

NO

NO

NO

YES

YES

Detail House

YES

YES

NO

NO

YES

YES

Canvas Support
Yes Yes
No
No
No
No
 Paper Support
No
No
 Yes Yes
 Yes  Yes

 


Anything Painted On Canvas recommends the following supports.

 

People

Animal

Landscape

Detail Vehicle

Non Detail Vehicle

House

Cotton

YES - Preferred

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

Linen 

YES – Provisional

Below 16x20 - No

16x20 1-2 subject bust - Yes 20x24 1-2 subject half - Yes

24x36 3-6 subject half - Yes

30x40 4-8 subject half - Yes

above 30x40 contact us.

YES

YES

Yes

suggest minimum size 20x24

YES

YES

Notes: Even though there are big debates over which support to use. Cotton canvas is the most popular support of today's age. Cotton is a lessor expensive product than linen but don't base this on any decision for your artwork. When you are sizing up the cost difference in a small piece of fabric, the price is really not a huge factor. Where you should base your choice on is what type of material best fits your needs.

 

When to use cotton:

 

Cotton has a very even and mechanical weave in comparison to Linen. Linen threads are very thick and uneven. Therefore the surface of the linen canvas is not nearly as smooth as the cotton canvas. When choosing a surface medium a person should carefully weigh out the differences. A choice of linen in a full body figure painting below a size 16x20, could present detailing in the facial areas that you may not care for. As an example the eyes, nose, teeth, and other fine details in a full body 12x16 or 16x20 may have details that are too small for the weave to support an even finish. In fact the entire face may only be the size of a 50 cent piece or silver dollar. This makes the eyes and teeth about the size of a BB. The nose, fingernails, etc., not much larger than a small peanut. With the stitch of linen being a larger and more uneven stitch, then the finer details will be at a minimum. For these type portraits we strongly urge the use of cotton canvas.

 

When should I use linen:

 

With a bust portrait of a single individual in a size 16x20 or 20x24 The facial areas are enlarged. Therefore, linen may be a good choice of support for this type of application. Still a person should note, even though linen has a longer history than today's cotton canvas. In fact. For longevity purposes linen has been in use for several hundred years and has proven itself time tested. Still a person should not base their decision on this factor alone. Cotton has now been in use for close to a century and it has also proven itself the test of time.

 

Which one do you suggest I use?


You have just read a few important opinions. The rest is really a matter of personal opinion. There are many artists, including myself, who exclusively use cotton canvas. I suggest the cotton canvas because I feel it produces a better painting. Other artists don't paint on cotton and will only use linen. If the surface is correctly prepared, then regardless of your choice, your painting will be well protected from rot and will last a long time. So when deciding between linen or cotton. We know that Linen will last 300 years and cotton will last at least 100 years.