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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:

 

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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

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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.

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Slice of Life III- Sisters

 

  • aino.shperber61046200

    Your work is always amazing and inspiring! Wow!~

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

  • Susanne

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Barbara Atwater

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

    Barbara

  • 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.

    • 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 🙂