View Full Version : Portrait help needed

Strawberry Wine
05-02-2003, 09:25 AM
Hi All: This is my second attempt at painting Lyn and I can't figure out how to make her work. I think it is the blonde hair and the skin tones that are giving me trouble . Her nose is way too big, which I think I can fix, but some direction is needed for the whole thing

All critiques and advice are appreciated.

Here is the ref.


My attempt so far:




05-02-2003, 09:30 AM
i'm painting a picture of lynn too (different reference though) what i found is more orange in the hair color and more pink in the skin. it looks like you already added your cool shadows to the face but they got smudged. she has such pale skin, i would suggest not adding the cooler colors until very last (and then not very much) that way her face will *glow*. hope some of this makes sense.


05-02-2003, 09:42 AM
First off Gail, a picture taken with a flash lacks those pretty highlights and shadow areas that make a portrait so inviting and interesting; so it is really hard to make a painting like this "work". I don't know if my advice is of any help to you but here are some ideas. You could first start with a preliminary sketch to solve those problem areas and it would help understand them better. In the present case you could also try to just use her facial traits and make up your own light and shadows pretending the light came from the left (for instance). This is a good tool to experiment when practicing portraits. Also for the hair a much bigger brush that keeps a pointed tip would work great. See her hair as color zones and not as hair.

Oups! Am I getting carried away by giving too much advice? I guess you can now tell that portraits are my main interest in watercolor :D

Hope this helps!


lyn lynch
05-02-2003, 10:52 AM
Good comments, Gisele. Portraits are my interest as well, so I appreciate any advice given. Thank you.

Gisele said it all, Gail. Very difficult to work from a lighted photo, must visualize muscle structure and create your own based on same. Not said to discourage you, but to encourage you: I suggest start over and do not use earthtones. I know that others do, but I find clearer results when I do not. Think of zones as forehead area cool [ie, less blood flow], eyes through lips warmer [ie less blood flow], chin area cool [ie less blood flow]. Never see that brown on forehead of person with fragile tones, such as Lynn Cr. You appear to be drawing more than painting. Work wet into wet to avoid this. Use largest brush for overall work, can switch to a smaller brush for eyes, etc. if more comfortable. In general, try to become familiar w/larger brushes [I never use smaller than a #14 round, and am integrating more into the 1" angle shader]. Also, when learning it is easier to work a larger size, try an 8 x 10, for sure. See muscles around the lips, rather than drawing in the lips.

Keep going...yu got grandbabies to do by Christmas.

Strawberry Wine
05-02-2003, 02:10 PM
Thanks Bethany, Gisele and Fookie:

Gisele and Fookie: Thanks for so much for the helpful tips and advice. I can never get too much. That is why I posted protrait, hoping you both and anyone else would pop in and do what you both did.

Bethany: you are so right about the cool colours. I added too much in desperation that something would work the magic for me. LOL I am looking forward to seeing your version.

Lynn: If you peek in here, I am going to try another attempt with Fookie, Gisele and Bethanys advice at my finger tips.


05-02-2003, 02:14 PM
Gail - not bad at all!!! :clap:

I just saw this thread. I think you've gotten some great advice here, and I really can't wait to see the next one. I agree that it seems that you're "drawing" with the brushes as opposed to painting. Just use larger brushes (as suggested), that would most certainly help.

All in all, you've got a great start here! I'm looking forward to seeing more!! :)


Strawberry Wine
05-02-2003, 04:31 PM
Lynn You are toooo kind. :)

Considering the mucked up job I am doing with
your portrait.

:( :( :(

I will perservere, now that you given me such a challenge.


05-02-2003, 04:34 PM
LOL!!! Gail, you make me laugh!!

You certainly didn't "muck it up" - we're all here to learn, and you won't learn any mistakes unless you MAKE mistakes, right? ;)

Don't give up!!! (still scared to see what mine will look like... at least you have the courage to start this project! Yikes!)

Waiting waiting waiting!!! ;)