QEII Portrait Demo

Portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.This portrait painting demo was made while I painted Queen Elizabeth II. I have been working on commissions so I thought it would be fun to paint something just for myself. I’ve been thinking about painting Queen Elizabeth II for a while, probably because she is an iconic figure. The finished painting is 10″x10″ oil on canvas.

Getting ready for portrait demo painting.I found a photograph of her Majesty on the web and taped it to my easel next to a blank 10″x10″ board with linen canvas. I also printed out a black and white version, I do this to more easily see where exactly the shadows are. Seeing the image in black and white helps with reading values, there is no color to get in the way of the true value.

Line drawing for portrait painting demo.I started with a simple line drawing marking eyes, nose and mouth. I compared the length of her face to the width and the made some marks for the ears, earrings, crown and shoulders.

Adding dark values to portrait painting demo.Now come the darks. I always paint the darks first. I lay them down and try not to get back into them when I have lighter paint on my brush later on. This keeps the darks clear and dark.

Adding flesh tones to portrait painting demo.Next I mixed up some flesh color and started laying that in. The head is usually lighter at the top than it is at the bottom because the head is usually lit from above. I kept this in mind and painted her chin darker than her forehead. Also put in a background just to see how I liked that medium blue grey color.

Adding more flesh tones to portrait.I continued laying in flesh tone using some of the background blue mixed with white for the cooler parts of her face.

Oops, had too much blue mixed into the flesh tones so I scraped some of that away. Her skin was looking a little dark so I scraped some of the darker flesh tones off.

I mixed some lighter pink color for her delicate cheeks and eyelids, and a little patch on her chin. Much better. Put some color in her eyes. And I had to shorten her nose. I have a tendency to draw noses too long and even though I’m aware of this, it still sometimes happens naturally.

I refined the eyes and painted the area above the eyes, keeping some blue in my mixture for the eyebrow area and between the eyebrows.

Still working on her eyes. Decided that dark red I had on her left cheek (shadow side) was too red so I painted over it with some green mixed into my red. The green is the compliment so it kills some of the red.

Her mouth was too far to the left so I moved it over to our right just a bit. Painted her hair using ultramarine blue mixed with a little orange and more or less white depending on whether the hair was in light or shadow. Also put a little green in the mix just to have some variety.

Hair is a great place to really push the color and add some variety. Take a look at the blonde hair on this little boy portrait and notice the different values and colors I used. 

After that all I had left to paint was the jewelry. And there is a lot of it! It’s gorgeous and fun to paint. Different shades and colors of grey with bright white were used for the diamond highlights.  Light yellow seemed like a good color for the clothing and I made sure some of that yellow was reflected in the jewels. I hope you like it.

4 thoughts on “QEII Portrait Demo”

  1. Great to see this portrait Joan. And lovely to see the progress shots. You have caught her “determined” look very well. She is not strict but she is not soft either. I believe there is an exhbition on in London showing various portraits of the Queen done by famous painters over the years but I have not had chance to see it yet.

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