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Entries in Babies (1)

Monday
Dec242012

Painting Baby Ben


Recently, I have been really into giving art as gifts for special occasions.  So when my college roommate had her first baby, I knew I wanted to paint her something for mother's day.  What better subject to paint than her beautiful baby boy!

I thought I would share a tutorial for this painting.  I really enjoyed the process.  I used oil paints for this portrait so it took a LONG time (about a year all together). I used their announcement card as a reference photo.

The early photos are pretty poor quality, so bear with me.

Once I had a sketch down on the canvas I started filling in color.  By placing dark colors down early, I was able to build the shadows and details.



 At this point I really start going in with dark colors to highlight the shadows.  Pay attention to all the nooks and crannies! I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Don't be afraid to go too dark with oil paint! You can always lighten it by layering. That's the beauty of the medium.

I chose to use a thinning medium to change the consistency of the paint as the face progressed.  I use Turpentine. The Winsor & Newton Oil Painting Solvents are affordable and effective.  You can find them at your local craft store or Dick Blick online.


Thinning mediums (like Turpentine) are solvents that are mixed with oil paints to change the consistency. Basically changing the paint from fat to thin.  When you see oil paints that are glossy and shiny, chances are the paint was mixed with a thinner.

For the hair, I used a fan brush like this Royal Langnickel Sofia Fan from Dick Blick.

 This type of brush allows you to "fan" color on to the canvas, while creating a hair texture.

Here are some close-ups:




I went to Michaels to have this little guy framed. Their custom framing department is always helpful and they have a decent selection of frames and mouldings.


It was so special to give this portrait to my friend and hear now 2 year old Bennett point and say "that's Bennett!"

M.