A Group of Portraits

Stuart, Helen, Ben and Emma at beach

This portrait commission is for a special collector. I did medical illustrations for Dr. Wilkins many years ago before Jack taught me to paint in oils. So it was a treat when Kaye contacted me to paint a birthday present for his wife Sidney, a portrait of their four grandchildren. They first thought of doing one painting of all four youngsters together. Then Sidney got to thinking it might be better to do individual portraits, then they could leave the pieces to each of the grandchildren in their will.

Emma Portrait ImageSB0713 Emma Step 1

Let’s get started with Emma. The basic elements of her face are lightly drawn up on the canvas in pencil. If you would like to see any of these images larger, just click on the picture.

SB0713 Emma Step 2

Then I begin blocking in the planes of her face and hair with a thin oil wash of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Liquin.

SB0713 Emma Step 3

At this stage I’m not concerned with getting a perfect likeness, the main objective is to get the light and dark patterns established. I’ll have to make several little adjustments when I begin painting.

Stuart at Zion CanyonStuart Protrait Image 2

Sidney loved the picture of Stuart on the left, taken at Zion Canyon. Unfortunately the file size is so small I don’t have enough detail to work from. BUT….They had several other pictures and we found one of Stuart in almost the same position.

SB0613 Stuart Step 1

After penciling in the key features on the canvas I block in Stuart with the thin oil wash.

SB0613 Stuart Step 3

The plaid shirt is going to be fun to paint. The pattern is lightly drawn in, the details will be added when I begin painting.  I can already see the collar isn’t right, I’ll change that later. As with Emma, the exact likeness is not essential at this point. Two drawn and two to go. Hope you’ll come back and follow the progress of the birthday portraits. Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

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6 Responses to “A Group of Portraits”

  1. Angela Says:

    Brilliant! can’t wait to see the next steps. I really give a lot of credit to portrait painters, I think it has to be the hardest subject to conquer..

  2. ottiliawach Says:

    Hi Mikki,
    I am SO GLAD you are doing portraits. The pencil portrait of Emma doesn’t appear to have been primed with gesso or white acrylic paint. Is this correct?

    • Mikki Senkarik Says:

      I primed the canvas with several thin coats of white acrylic. I want to preserve the tooth of the canvas but still have the surface slightly slick. This way I can easily rub off, or erase, the oil wash when I’m blocking in the portraits. Hope this helps. Mikki

  3. Steve Abramson Says:

    Thank you for the way you do your blogs. I still consider myself a beginner to drawing and painting but the way you show your steps really helps. Thank you from a South Texan

  4. Kathy Leigh Berkowitz Says:

    Amazing, Mikki, you do portraits too!! How God has blessed you with such talent. Beautiful …

  5. Nina Says:

    Super! I have always probleme how to get the similarity?!

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