Smiling Old Man Portrait Painting in Acrylic on Canvas: Step by Step Demo by Debojyoti Boruah

Smiling Old Man Portrait Painting in Acrylic on Canvas: Step by Step Demo by Debojyoti Boruah

This painting in Acrylic is very close to my heart. He was a very kind person in our town and I used to call him Bordeuta in Assamese, which means Grandpa. It was commissioned by his son to give respect to his soul on his death anniversary. It was quite challenging to draw the painting because the reference picture was very low in details. 

First Stages of The Painting Process:
Old Man Acrylic Portrait by Debojyoti Boruah
Painting in Progress. Acrylic on Canvas

As it is clear from the above picture that the reference photo that I have with me for this painting is less in details. It was the only best picture with them, so I have no choice.

In this painting, my approach to skin tone mixing is quite straightforward. Unlike in other paintings, where I have confined myself to the limited palette, but for this painting, I have started my first coat directly with Burnt Sienna and Burnt Umber.

My color choices for this painting was Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Blue, Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Yellow Medium, Cadmium Yellow Lemon, Scarlet Lake, Crimson and Zinc White.

Stage 1 and 2:

I always prefer to paint the eye first for a portrait painting. The reason? It gives me an immediate feel of liveliness to the painting.

I have started with the darkest dark areas of the face with Burnt Umber and gradually lightening towards the highlighted areas with the help of Burnt Sienna. I am not using any white at this time. I always prefer to apply a thin coat of paint over the underlying drawing marking to prevent it from smudging. You can see, the underlying drawing is still clear and works as a guideline in the process of painting.

Stage 3 and 4:

In this stage, I am using White with a little bit of Crimson and Yellow Ochre to cover most of the face. I am not bothered about drying out underlying paints at this stage. In acrylics, as it dries quickly this type of situation will arise frequently. But believe me, I always took advantage of it.

Unlike Oil, you will not prefer to make the whole bunch of skin color at one go. I make a small amount of color at one time. The underlying color always helps me to compare and achieve the same color again and again.

Working with Background:
Old Man Acrylic Portrait by Debojyoti Boruah
Old Man Acrylic Portrait on Canvas

In this stage, I have done some works with the background and clothes just to give myself an idea of the color value. For the background, I have used Ultramarine Blue with Burnt Umber and White. For this time I have used the same color for the hairs as well.

Let’s Do Some Blending:
Old Man Acrylic Portrait by Debojyoti Boruah
Old Man Acrylic Portrait on Canvas

Using some in between colors, I have started blending the darkest areas with the rest of the skin tone. In this stage, I have used some Ultramarine Blue and Crimson with Burnt Umber.

More Blending:
Old Man Acrylic Portrait by Debojyoti Boruah
Old Man Acrylic Portrait on Canvas

I realize at this stage that the background has little bit more contrast with the overall painting. So, I decided to add some of the skin tone colors to the background as well. I am applying glazing with Burnt Sienna to the background.

I have tried to enhance the skin tone color towards more pinkish with a light coat of Crimson and Yellow Ochre and White. The same colors are thinly applied over the darkest tones to make it desaturate further so that it blends with the rest of the skin colors.

Fine Tuning the Shadows:
Old Man Acrylic Portrait by Debojyoti Boruah
Old Man Acrylic Portrait on Canvas

If we closely observe, we will found lots of yellowish and greenish blue tint all over the face of the painting. In the shadows area below the jawline, there are lots of bluish green tint. It is actually the environmental reflection from the shirt and sweater. Both the sides of the faces have shown reflected light. I have painted it with White, Cobalt Blue and a pinch of Yellow Ochre.

The sweater color is achieved using Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Yellow Ochre, and White. The shirt color is a mixture of White with Cobalt Blue and a pinch of Yellow Ochre.

Finishing Touches to The Painting:
Old Man Acrylic Portrait by Debojyoti Boruah
Old Man Acrylic Portrait on Canvas

Before putting my signature into the painting, I have some final things to do. I have decided to put a final glaze using Crimson, Yellow Ochre and White to the whole face of the painting. It gives the whole painting an instant brightness and a fairer look to the face.

Finally, the painting is done. I was happy. But as usual, it is not my ideal profile to paint with. But I have no choice this time. I will show some interesting profile paintings in my next session.

Leave a Comment