I was inspired today from a video by Max Ginsburg where he paints a portrait of a model. This led to me trying my hand at my own portrait sketch but with much less success.

I haven’t done a portrait in oil for a long time so I’m a bit out of practice here so it’s good that I get back into it today. Honestly I need to do a portrait at least once a week to keep in practice.

I chose an image from New Masters Academy. The have a ton of images of models doing expressions, most of which are exaggerated expressions but I was more interested in the very subtle nuances of the face. Much like a portrait by Rembrandt the models don’t have extreme expressions but the emotion is profoundly deep and present.

After getting the basic shape of the head done I focused on the eye and spent a lot of time getting it as accurate as I could. After about an hour and a half of painting I realized that if I wanted to get the same detail and accuracy in the rest of the head I would need about 9 hours on this painting. Honestly my motivation in doing this portrait would not exceed more than 2 hours at this point so I switched focus to just trying to get the general planes of the face placed.

If I had spent a few more hours on this painting I could have completed something much better but I was more concerned with the start of this portrait. I feel that my skills could be better served by getting a clear process in place for starting a portrait rather than working on rendering high detail.

Portrait Sketch, setup


  • Session: 1211
  • Work: 1037
  • Width: 9"
  • Height: 12"
  • Medium: Oil
  • Location: Home
  • Art Time: 2.5
  • Creative Time:



4 Responses

  1. I am curious as to what YOU think you focus on the most? Do you like figure, portraits, landscape, still life, simple objects, or another subject?
    Your daisies were great, and so I tend to think you enjoy still life/flowers the most. But then I see some of your figure drawings and I think THAT must be what you enjoy most, since you spend time outside of studios working on it. Just curious…

    1. Actually I’m leaning more towards the figure every day, but with that comes portrait and the space the figure occupies. So focus of figure, but that will dictate that I have at least a good knowledge in all the other aspects of art.

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Chris Beaven

I am an Artist and a programmer currently living in the amazing state of Washington. I have a passion for art, but I'm stubborn as hell with it. My day is complete only when I do some piece of art each day, no matter how small. "There was a dream that was Rome. You could only whisper it. Anything more than a whisper and it would vanish, it was so fragile."