My approach for creating oil portraits shares several similarities with my watercolor work; for example, I use a similar palette for both-yellow ochre, cerulean blue and alizarin crimson (substituted for rose madder), to which I may add cadmium red and ivory black; However, there are four important differences: In oil, I deal more with shapes than lines,I Work dark's to light, my color applications are opaque rather than transparent and I don't use the progression of three key techniques that I use for Watercolor.
I work on toned canvas-usually raw umber thinned with turpentine which provides a solid neutral tone and I start each portrait by doing a drawing with ivory black.
As with my Watercolors, I start adding Color in the face, which I block with four values. I start by mixing my shadow color, then take a portion of this mixture and lighten it with white to create my halftone. Next I lighten a portion of the halftone mixture to produce my lights. Finally, I adjust a portion of in light mixture to produce my highlights. My brushes are all bristle filberts and I usually start the head using a different No. 6 for each tone. This keep the color clean and allows me to work the tones together.