www.SteveGreaves.com - Photorealism Paintings      Site Map




painting technique

Steve Greaves - Amy Davenport - photorealism portrait painting

Amy Davenport



1.The reference photo 

Steve Greaves - Amy Davenport - photo

I did two photo shoots with Amy, one outdoors

and the other in the studio. This studio shot

was lit with a single spotlight to give the warm

tones, and an ambient fluorescent light which

gives the blue-green tones. She is wearing a

black T-shirt and the background is a wooden

block painted matt black.


The photo was printed professionally as a 9 x 7"

print and then scanned by computer and printed

out A2 size onto photo quality matt inkjet paper.


The final composition has extra width added to

it to give a wide-screen effect - I wanted the portrait

to look like a still from a movie. 


2.Copying & transferring the image

The image was copied onto A2 transparent acetate 

with a fine pigment pen - then from that onto A2

tracing paper using the same pen. Then the

image was redrawn on the back with a soft (2B)



Finally the image was traced through the 

paper onto the gesso primed board using a hard

(6H) pencil. 


Pigment pens are used on the acetate and tracing 

papers but the image is always laid down onto the 

support in pencil. A putty rubber is used to remove 

any excess pencil marks.


3. Painting materials

The board used for this painting is MDF

(Medium Density Fibreboard) which was 

sanded to give it a key and then given 6 

coats of white acrylic gesso using random 

brush strokes. The surface was left unsanded 

though small blobs and lumps were removed 

with a sharp scalpel.


For acrylic painting I use artists' quality paints: 

Cryla and System 3 by Daler-Rowney and Finity 

by Winsor & Newton. 


I don't use airbrushes or other gadgets for painting, 

just old fashioned paint brushes (and sometimes 

fingers for dabbing paint). I mainly use Winsor & 

Newton Sceptre Gold brushes which hold their 

shape well, have a good spring and are resilient

to being scrubbed around on a gesso surface. 


4. Photorealism painting technique

Steve Greaves - Amy Davenport - photorealism portrait painting detail

Amy Davenport - detail

detail of early painting stage


The background was painted in first, and although 

it looks black it is Payne's grey used straight from

the tube and applied with a single coat.


The flesh tones and hair are built up in semi -

transparent layers, allowing the white of the

gesso to reflect through and give the portrait

a kind of inner glow.


The portrait is not as highly finished as originally

planned as it was completed to the deadline for

the South Yorkshire Open Art Exhibition, where it 

was commended by the judges.


5. Picture framing

Rough sawn timber 2 x 2" is used for the frame

and the black finish makes a contemporary 

solid minimal statement.


Small metal L-shaped brackets are screwed into 

the back of the picture and into the frame to hold it

in place.







Photorealism  Art

Paintings Book  



Chuck Close

Photorealism Portrait

Painting Book























Art & Photography - Recommended Books






back to Top

back to - Steve Greaves - Photorealism Painting Techniques



www.SteveGreaves.com - Photorealism Paintings      Site Map