• Cris Gordy

Painting with the Masters:Portraits

Updated: Apr 17

Charles Reid's high key paintings. Paint people in a loose, expressive style.



Lesson Objectives: sketch a dressed figure, paint high-key washes, interpret loosely

Size: a quarter sheet of Fabriano, 11x15”. Painted on the reverse side of a discarded painting.

Palette: Cobalt blue, alizarin crimson, yellow ochre, cadmium yellow, orange, burnt sienna, sap green. Brush: quill for washes, round brush for control and details.



Sketch: I do not worry too much about the likeness of this man. The size of the torso must be about two times the size of the head. The hand must be as long as the face, from forehead to chin.


Step 1: Wet the paper lightly with clear water. Washes are high key (very light tones). Use cobalt blue, a mix of yellows and a touch of burnt sienna. Mix the blue with the yellows to get a gray green to paint close to the right side of the face. Paint the face, neck and hand with a mix of yellows and a touch of alizarin crimson on the cheeks and ear. Connect with color the shadow under the hat brim. Paint hair, beard and moustache with burnt sienna.


Step 2: Define the vest with the same mix of yellows, wet on dry; add a few strokes on the sleeves to connect with the vest. Paint the shirt stripes, using directional strokes. Paint the walking cane.



Step 3:Prepare puddles of light red and green. Paint the plants and flowers on both side of the figure wet into wet, wet the paper lightly first. Save the whites!! Use pure cobalt blue, burnt sienna and a mix of both with a alizarin crimson to get a dark gray for the pants, wet on dry.



Step 4: Add darker colors on the face and ear, wet the paper first to add more alizarin and purple (mix cobalt and alizarin), observe the photo. Define more the hair, beard and moustache with burnt sienna. Add some purple to the shoulder, a shadow on the hand. Paint the hat top and the band. Make a mix for a dark color of the band. Do not use black. May use a touch of Payne’s gray. Add some darker local colors to flowers and greenery. All wet into wet, paint with clear water or use the mist bottle to wet the paper before you paint this step.


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