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portraits - the artists sons by leah kristin dahlgren

Portrait: "The Artist's Sons"
Oil on linen, 14" x 14"


spacer Portraits are intense work for me. Not only do I want to capture an excellent likeness in the painting, I want to create a striking composition. The play of light, moving over the planes of the face, needs to reveal the individual's unique beauty. I also desire to paint who the person is.

"The Artist's Sons" is an example of a successful portrait. Notice the intensity of the eyes of the eldest son and the marked set of the mouth. Then, contrast the serenity of the younger son. This portrait is the portrayal of two remarkable individuals.

portrait - oil painting - first born by leah kristin dahlgren

Portrait: "Firstborn"
Oil on linen, 19" x 24"

To create oil paintings, I usually begin with the aid of photography. Even so, photography is used as a point of departure. Photographs simplify capturing the light, which changes in minutes during a sitting. It captures a pear at the peak of perfection and certainly saves the portrait subject many hours of sitting. My painting process is time consuming. I utilize techniques of the Old Masters, beginning with an underpainting of raw umber and white. Once this is complete I begin the color. There are many layers of color and these are finished with glazes. Occasionally, I will ask a subject for a short sitting once the portrait is in progress. Usually, one or two hour-long photography sessions will suffice. I am very particular about light. I prefer natural to studio lighting and indoor to outdoor. The success of a painting depends largely on the quality of light.
family portrait of mother and two daughters in the garden

Portrait: "Lisa and her Daughters"
Oil on linen, 36" x 50"


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