Thursday, October 17, 2013

'Portrait Study of Jim McVicker' by Rachel K Schlueter

Oil on 12x12" panel.
Lately I have been doing a lot of portrait work and study getting ready for a workshop I'm facilitating in Nov., through Eureka Studio Arts.  I've always had a fascination with portraiture and figurative work, it's the most exciting and personal work, for me. Painting from life and photos, the process  is about rendering and painting simultaneously. I call it direct painting although I did not invent the term. It was developed around the fifteenth century out of a need to produce results in painting more quickly. Traditionally direct painting of the portrait and figure is done on a Venetian red ground and used as a mid tone for the flesh. I've seen this method demonstrated step by step and it's a very exciting concept. This painting of Jim was not done that way. I'll be doing the study again today using the Venetian Red technique! I will add the results to this post below. Thank you for visiting our blog!

                                         Portrait on Venetian red.

Oil on 4"x4" panel. This version although done quickly shows the effects of the red ground. I found working this way made value and color choices click much faster  because the mid tone has been established. Also a harmony is created. In this painting of Jim I started by rendering and blocking in the darks using black acrylic on white canvas. After a few minutes the acrylic dried and I applied a rather opaque glaze of venetian red oil over the entire surface. I was surprised how well the black acrylic showed through, I then proceeded wet into wet. Thank you Jim, for allowing me to photograph you!


  1. Very interesting, Rachel, and thanks for sharing the process. I always love your portraits!

  2. Rachel is back with a bang. Beautiful portraits and we are fond of the subject.
    Great work and I forgot you took the photos. Jim and Terry

  3. You captured Jim perfectly. I like both paintings quite a lot. You're a master!

  4. This piece looked great at the RAA show!