Adam Ant

A small portrait that I did for a friend, it’s painted on Strathmore Illustration Board, using oil paints.

The friend, absolutely adored, Mr Ant when she was younger. She actually used to date him at one point, so this has even more meaning for her. The two of them are still really close  friends til this day. I didn’t know all this til after I painted this, so it was an extra surprise for me, when I handed her the framed picture.

A little of the process, once I put down a few layers of white gesso. I found Bob Ross` gesso primer is amazing. It has the perfect consistency of paint to plaster. Most gessos` I’ve used in the past have too much paint ( usually acrylic ), so it makes the paint a ` skately`, it has a plastic sheen, and adding more paint on top, there`s a barrier of the plastic between the two layers, so the paint can skate about. The Bob Ross primer has a real ` chalky ` feel after it`s dry. So it has a better paint to plaster ratio. Meaning paint, ` especially ` oil paint, will dry quicker. A good way to test the primer, is with a waxy coloured pencil. If the pencil has difficulty leaving a mark then there’s too much acrylic paint.

So, yeah the painting………… I slapped dashed the gesso on, leaving it really rough and gave it loads of texture, this would help with the punkyish style. Laid out my base image, and then used oils like they where inks or watercolours. Building up layers, thin over thin. This is where the beauty of the gesso comes in. The oil get soaked up, very quickly with the plaster and dries super fast. For oils that is…..

Anyways, I hope, if someone reads this, and is having trouble with gesso. That this helps. I started using it all the time, once I found it. I`m not really a Bob Ross fan…… but his gesso is great. I was having trouble with gessos` as I was wanting to use a similar styling to Drew Struzan. Where he uses acrylics and coloured pencils for most of his work. And it seemed to have worked for him.

Image size – 51cm x 38cm


What do you think?

Written by RichardHarrison


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  1. That’s an amazing painting. I thought it was a photo at first as well! You are so talented. I gather that Adam Ant has kind of retired from public life these days as he has mental health problems, which is sad.

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