Painting a Lace Dress


I spent most of the day today painting the lace dress for the Portrait of Lina in Lace. Last night I tried to find some tutorials with tips on painting lace and found there is not much on oil paint method and technique. Hopefully this blog will help the next artist paint a lace dress.

The first layer of the dress was done loosely with oil paint thinned with turpenoid, The lights and darks of the body of the dress are placed to give volume and form to the figure. The skin on the light arm was painted. Some of the darks and lights on the skin are painted to give the arm volume. The dark arm is painted and little of the lace is visible in the darks. This is allowed to dry.

The second layer of the body lace dress is painted.The lace design is defined with dark oil paint thinned with half turpenoid and linseed oil. I used permanent alizarine crimson, ivory black and ultramarine blue for the darks. Thicker lights using permanent alizarine crimson, terra rosa, cobalt blue, and titanium white added the details of the lace. Care was taken to not lose the overall lights and darks that defined the shape of the figure.

The lace design is carefully added to the sleeve. The design on the sleeve is more specific than the dress. The lace design has to follow the curves of the arm. Skin tone color is used for the negative spaces in the lace to fine tune the design of the lace. The end of the sleeve helps to define the shape of the arm. I worked on the arms and hands while working on the lace at the bottom part of the dress. This allows me to soften some of the edges on the arms and hands. I added some blue background color to the edges of the the dress. I use the background color to gently define the lace pattern on the dark arm and some of the dark parts on the bottom of the dress.

I will let this dry and then evaluate what further work needs to be done on the Lace dress. I will also have Lina return for a second sitting to work on color on the dress and skin.

Once dry, the final layer of detail is added to the lace sleeve. I used a small round brush to add many dark details at the edges of the lace flower petals on the sleeve. Some dark details are added to the body of the dress but these are few and occasionally are gently wiped and blurred with a q-tip.

Lighter specs are added to the lace on the sleeve sparingly. The thin gentle lines between flower designs on the sleeve are made with alizarine permanent, ultramarine blue and a spec of black thinned with medium. A pointed q-tip is used to wipe away some of these lines. The finished painting Lina in Lace below.

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