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How to Paint an Acrylic Portrait

Picture of How to Paint an Acrylic Portrait
In this tutorial I will show you how to paint using my 7-step method that I sometimes call Rainbow style. You can follow along and learn how to paint without the nuisance of having to mix any colors or shades. We are going to be using acrylics, and only 7 colors symbolized by the acronym YVRGBOW: Yellow, Violet, Red, Green, Blue, Orange, & White. For this exercise I painted a portrait of the infamous photographer Diane Arbus. This painting turned out to be very special to me in a way that words can not describe, but I can only say that it is my favorite one out of all the portraits I've painted. Above is the source photo, a film test shot by her husband Allan Arbus in 1949.
 
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Step 1: Yellow & Violet - outline and intitial shading

Picture of Yellow & Violet - outline and intitial shading
I took the first photo at step 2 actually, as step 1 is just a vague yellow outline. Yellow is the ideal starter color because it's the lightest one, easy to cover up. I prefer to start with a vague outline in order to set up the purple step 2 that solidifies it. It gives you a chance to perfect any initial mistakes. You can be very sloppy with the yellow layer. Here I actually slopped on more yellow after getting the outlines solid.

Before proceeding I want to explain my selection of this model. From the first time I saw the above photograph of Diane Arbus, I knew that I had to paint her. She simply has the most compelling face I've ever seen. I am also a huge fan of her photography career and everything she stood for. What Diane Arbus was was a bonafide occultist, exposing things that society would never have seen or known if it wasn't for her. Her presence in this world has enriched us all and will continue to effect society in ways that we can not even comprehend. This is a pivotal person in history who I believe can not be appreciated enough.
diannek1011 year ago
I love it!  Thank you SO much for posting this tutorial! I can't wait to give it a go using your technique!
lampkin (author)  diannek1011 year ago
Thanks. I'd like to see what you come up with, if you wouldn't mind posting the result.
Nice instruction :-) thank you for sharing. Now could you pass on a little of your hard earned talent as well :-D
lampkin (author)  Marcaine Art1 year ago
Since you asked so nicely, here's a little talent for you then. Now you just have to paint a portrait to realize how good you are.
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