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Painting Portraits in Oils is Rob Wareing's first book with Search Press. Rob has built a formidable international reputation as a portrait artist, and in his new book he draws on over 40 years' experience to provide a complete guide to painting portraits in oils. We caught up with Rob to find out a bit more about his new book, his inspiration, and his Search Press journey!

How are you Rob? For those that don’t know you tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born and have spent the majority of my life in South Africa. I have been a professional artist for more than 40 years and worked in various locations across the globe but for the past 15 years have lived & worked mainly in South Africa and the UK.

Painting Portraits in Oils is your first book, how did that come about? How did Search Press discover you?
Katie French the Editorial Director at Search Press, approached me while I was exhibiting and demonstrating at the annual Patchings Art Festival in Nottinghamshire.

Can you tell us a little about the book?
As I have been painting portraits for most of my life, the book is about my approach to painting portraits – hopefully with some helpful tips and suggestions to inspire readers on their own personal journey in this exciting endeavour.


What is it about portrait painting you like the most?
Portrait painting is an exciting and all-consuming activity. As we are portraying a fellow human being at a particular time in their life where the subtlest changes of expression can convey so much, not only are we dealing with the practical problems of proportions, value and colour but also movement and our own personal emotions towards our subject.

Have you always worked with oils? What do you like about it?
I have worked in either oils or in pastels for most of my painting life and was asked to produce a book on painting in oils which I felt I had something to say about. Hence I accepted the challenge.

What is your favourite part of the process of painting a portrait and why?
Capturing the light that illuminates the subject is always exciting and likeness is an elusive thing which comes and goes during the painting process. It is always rewarding when it is captured.


Do you have any tips or wisdom?
Enthusiastic learning and passion will bring about continual growth – both must be kept alive. Working from life (as much as possible), workshops and mixing with like-minded people will help a great deal in this regard.

What are you working on at the moment?
At the moment apart from completing commissions I am working on a few still life paintings. Lockdowns have made working from live models impossible. Let’s hope it ends soon.

Do you have any exciting plans for 2021?
Mainly to develop and improve and hopefully get back to some kind of normality where I can invite live models and students into my studio on a regular


As artists we live in an exciting time where access to view amazing paintings from all over the world is easy via the internet. There is a definite swing back to representational painting and painting from life as seen in the growing numbers of plein air painters and drawing and painting academies worldwide.

Painting Portraits in Oils is available from Search Press, RRP £19.99.

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