Oil Painting Portraits

About Portraits in Oil

The selection of the medium is completely personal, and depends on what the buyer wants. Expense factors into this as does the look that the buyer is after. All things being equal, an oil portrait is the most expensive of the three types of medium, more expensive than charcoal and pastel. Oil uses the same pigment as pastel with a delivery agent of linseed oil. The oil allows the pigment to be applied by brush and it is usually painted on linen canvas. Oil has a longer production process; there is drying time required between layers and a final coat of varnish to preserve the piece. Oil paintings are framed, but unlike charcoal and pastel, they do not need to be framed behind glass.

While I will experiment with other oil paints, I primarily use the Winsor Newton product. It’s what I began using 25 years ago as a student at the American Academy of Art in Chicago and have stuck with ever since. It is important to me to have consistency with the medium I am working, and Winsor Newton offers that. In terms of canvas…again, I do experiment, but I prefer painting on Fredrix double primed linens.