Portrait painting: Scott Breton's procedure

Here is a series of photos that were taken over the course of a recent portrait.

Beginning with pencil studies of head and hands, and composition (the composition sketch chosen for the painting from several that were executed is seen below above the painting in the gridded up stage).

Head and hand study:


Followed by a small colour sketch from life:

Based on these sketches, it was possible to block in the picture in thin, transparent burnt umber (the lights are wiped out). The medium was half odourless solvent plus half linseed oil.

The canvas was covered with a thin tone to remove the whiteness.  This wet layer could still be wiped back.

The compositional sketch was gridded up and blocked in to the now toned large canvas (large canvas is 92 x 122 cm)

As the tones for each area were established, the grid lines were removed




Blocked in background colours from colour study


Figure filled out from life and photographic references


Adjustments made for final picture from life:

Nick Leavey