Here's one of my portraits in oil. It employs an extremely powerful technique for painting shadows and gray tones and it's called "optical grays". This technique if used properly will create powerful realism in any painting and there are several other secret pearls to this that I will get into at another time. Not that it's a secret...I will share these techniques. We can't overload anyone here.
This portrait was an experiment for me as pretty much all of my paintings are experiments. I'm always striving to conquer some new challenge or paint something that is greater and more challenging than the last thing I did. I haven't yet got around to doing velvet like I always said I would. Anyway, I was trying out this technique for the first time and was absolutely amazed by the results. Optical grays happen when you glaze a warm tone over a cool tone or visa versa. The viewers eye, when they look at it, mixes the two tones and perceives a gray. This techniques produces lively shadows and tones. As apposed to painting a mixed flat gray. There is a lot of other information about this technique and will cover this in more detail later. Most of my painting after this one use it.
This portrait is from 2005, as the tacky date in the corner shows. The date was a mistake and this is the only photo I have. I didn't have a digital camera at the time I completed this piece and borrowed my friends camera. Which, unknown to me, was set with the date. This oil portrait has been in the posession of the subject and have not yet had a chance to retake the photo professionally.
Also, this portrait is referenced from several photos I took of the subject. I wasn't going to be able to get him to pose for me for any lasting periods of time so I took several reference photos. This composition is actually a composite of many different photos.