As an example of the technique I use to paint a classical portrait, I show the process for a customer’s pet dog named “Roo”.

roo_photo_technique My first step is to compose the portrait. My customer sends me a number of photos, and we work together to choose the best representation of the subject. (I do prefer working directly from life, but that is not always practical.)
roo_wash_technique My second step is to draw the composition on the canvas. I do this with graphite, which I affix with turpentine. After that dries, I block in the basic tones with thin washes of grey.
roo_grisaille_technique My third step is to paint the grisaille – the underpainting done is tones of grey. I create a faithful likeness of the subject, gradually adding form and detail over many sessions. I balance the tones, anticipating the effect of the color glazes applied in the final step.
roo_final_technique My fourth and final step is to apply thin glazes of color. I begin with pale glazes as I adjust the relationships of the colors, and over many subsequent sessions I increase the intensity and vibrance of the colors.