Layered portraits

I took a very interesting class on Domestika with a superb Spanish artist called Ale Casanova.

I like my layered portraits (see for example), working over a purple underpainting or grisaille. But, I am finding it too controlled and I like a bit more sponteneity. Then I saw Ale’s work, and it really appealed.

He uses multiple layers, working first a cool underpainting, then a warm layer. Here’s my end of course project:

The final portrait – this is Ale
This is the phthalo blue underpainting – have to say I just used the colours lurking in my palette.
This is the half way stage, I used Sienna and then quin gold to get to this point.


Sadly there is a big downside to this course. Ale is Spanish and it is subtitled – no problem with that (I can read). They are the worst subtitles ever and I would not recommend the course unless you have a bit of Spanish or a lot of experience in watercolour, so that you can take a wild guess as to what he is talking about. I have emailed Domestika, but presumably they use machine translation and doing it properly is too expensive.

Here are a few of ones I can remember and my guess as to what they should be (there were loads more):

grizzly = grisaille (this made me laugh every time – where was the bear?)

Overseas (colour) = ultramarine?

Toasted Shadow = burnt umber?

Carnations = no idea!

Cavitation of a brush = holding capacity??

Godets = pans??

So if by any chance Domestika reads this, PLEASE sort your subtitles out. There are some really good online courses, I would be interested in doing, but it seems a bit pointless at the moment.

I’m running two portrait workshops this year 15 May and 15 November in Berkshire, so do message me if you are interested.



0 thoughts on “Layered portraits”

  1. …I appreciate how you’ve given us a progressive series of photographs depicting your beginning, middle and end. It is fascinating, and your completed portrait is full of expressiveness and, despite the rather involved process, immediacy/life/freshness.

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