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Dry brushing for mixed media portraits

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Drawing / Dry brushing / Inspiration / Mixed media / Painting / Painting technique / Portraits / Step by step demonstrations

Dry brushing for mixed media portraits

If like me you like drawing as well as painting, you might be interested in trying out the dry brush technique. Basically a way to draw with brushes.

This technique works well in mixed media paintings and is quite easy to learn.

You will need:

  • Winsor and Newton water mixable oil paint (I am using the watermixable oil paint because I find it dryer for this technique and it makes the rushes easier to clean as well)
  • A few stiff brushes
  • A few soft brushes
  • Clean rags
  • Erasers
  • Acrylic paint
  • Indian ink
  • Dipping pen and ink
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The dry brush technique consist in painting on paper or canvas with a very dry brush that holds very little paint. So you can start by spreading a bit of paint on a piece of canvas that you will use as a palette:

I am a Blick Art Materials affiliate and I receive a small compensation for sales. That does not effect in any way the cost of the purchaser’s order but it helps me keeping the content of this blog free.

Winsor & Newton Artisan Water Mixable Oil Colors, 337 Lamp Black, 200 ml

Economical, genuine oil colors clean up with soap and water. Use with 5 non-hazardous mediums allows all the traditional oil painting techniques and styles. Tubes and sets.

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Then you can rub brushes against that “palette” and use them to draw on the canvas

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My palette

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You can use soft brushes for light areas and smaller stiff brushes for details.

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Small stiff brush on details

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Amazingly you can erase very thin layers of oil paint.

Here is a video that shows a time lapse of the whole painting process:

When I was done with the portraits I started working on the background:

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I used a simple pattern on the sweater with fluid acrylic

I am a Blick Art Materials affiliate and I receive a small compensation for sales. That does not effect in any way the cost of the purchaser’s order but it helps me keeping the content of this blog free.

Golden High Flow Acrylics

Incredibly flexible, Golden High Flow Acrylics have an ink-like consistency that lends itself to a wide range of techniques painting, drawing, staining, glazing, inking, hand-lettering, airbrushing, and more. – High Flow Colors, Set of 10

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And a dipping pen and India Ink

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I added patterns on the background with fluid acrylics and markers

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The last step was to apply a layer of varnish to the painting.

I am a Blick Art Materials affiliate and I receive a small compensation for sales. That does not effect in any way the cost of the purchaser’s order but it helps me keeping the content of this blog free.

 

Gamblin Gamvar Varnish

Gamvar is a synthetic resin gloss varnish developed by conservators at the National Gallery. It can be used on acrylic paintings as well as oils. Gamvar is a synthetic resin varnish with a high refractive index similar to that of natural resins.

 

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Slice of Life III- Sisters

Comments (12)

  1. aino.shperber61046200

    Your work is always amazing and inspiring! Wow!~

    1. Thanks aino.shperber61046200! I am glad you enjoyed this post and the artwork 🙂

  2. Susanne

    You have inspired me to try a portrait with this technique! Gorgeous painting, Sandrine!

    1. Thanks Susanne, I am very happy to hear that 🙂

  3. Judy Brass

    Hi Sandrine
    I just wanted to say how inspiring I find your website and your work. I love just about everything you do and I feel I’m learning lots from your examples and demos – now I just have to find the time to put some of them into practice! I’ve never painted a portrait before but I just love the results you have achieved here so I will be giving it a go hopefully. I have your watercolour book and hope to do one of your online courses when I can find the time! Thanks for everything. It’s so kind of you to be so sharing.

    1. Thanks Judy! I was very happy to read your comment 🙂

  4. Is this done on raw canvas? If so, the oil paint will eventually make the canvas disintegrate. I love the look though. Hoping it is on primed canvas because I would like to try it.

    1. Yes, I am always using primed canvas 🙂

  5. Barbara Atwater

    Sandrine,
    I so appreciate your sharing! It is always so inspirational .
    This is beautiful.
    Thank you. Thank you!

    Barbara

    1. Thanks Barbara, I am very happy you liked the post 🙂

  6. LOVE how this turned out, Sandrine – it’s beautiful! Even though I’m not a portrait painter, this gives me ideas for my own subjects. Thank you for posting.

    1. Thanks Lisa !
      Feel free to post a link to your work if you end up using this technique on a different subject, that will be interesting to see 🙂

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