View Full Version : try an eye

05-26-2003, 07:49 PM

Title: try an eye
Year Created: 2003
Medium: Oil
Surface: Canvas
Dimension: 4x6
Allow digital alterations?: Yes!

I am trying to learn about portrait painting. This time, I figured I want to learn about the eye, since to get that right I think I'd go far in creating a good likeness (regardless of style).

to the portriat artists, does anyone work from photo's? And if so, how are you able to capture the detail of say the iris from photo's? I seem to loose the detail - as can be seen in the picture.

05-26-2003, 08:12 PM
your placement is right on
(skin tones are dark,
but I don't think you were concentrating on that)
but, if it were that dark a setting...
the iris would be bigger.

Photos are difficult...
but, if you are a people watcher
studier, really...
you can take the reference and
add what you know

also a trick I use is to enlarge the photo
(at any copy center)
so you can see it better

there are others who have done
more "commissioned" portraits than I,
who may have other suggestions...

again...your instincts are very good!

05-26-2003, 09:09 PM
Thanks alot. I have to be more of a people watcher as you say. Actually, the subject is a darker person. He's indian man that I work with. nonetheless, the color's a little off. I have to struggle with color a little more.

What I've been doing is taking slide photo's of the model as transparencies are so much more clearer than prints. Then I project the photo on a screen and sit back and try to draw the best I could. I project the slide so that it is large enough for me to see it - it's like looking at a person - and I don't need to strain. I don't trace the image - as I know some artist do. I have to keep the lights off but I fould a way to bring light to the canvas and pallette without effecting the image on screen.

But, slides don't seem to capture color correctly, and colors get washed out and details are lost. IT'S VERY FRUSTRATING!

05-26-2003, 09:23 PM
there are some very good articles here...this one pertains to the eye free online classes (www.geocities.com/~jlhagan/advanced/grape.htm) Hope this helps!
You've done a fine job with this...just a bit more needed.

05-27-2003, 03:13 AM
I like it! Not just the eye but the overall piece :)

05-27-2003, 04:36 AM
When you get around to observing people, take note that there is reflected light on the innermost section of the area just above the eyelid.

I think this is a good study. THe proportion is certainly accurate. There are just a few more things that you can learn from observing how the light bounces around the eyes, especially when your subject has very deep set eyes.

You're right, capturing the eyes will make or break a likeness...I'm glad that you are taking your study this far with it. A few graphite or charcoal sketches will allow you to see what I mean about the light change around the eyes.

Good work...keep at it.

Painted Melody
05-27-2003, 02:04 PM
very nice :) can't wait to see your future portraits.

as for as likeness, i always believed the likeness is not in the detail, but in the measurements of the features -- specifically the "triangle" of the face: the measurement of the eyes from one eye to the other, to how far it is from the nose. if you get those right, the shapes of the features would be right too, and there's where the likeness is found.

added proof would be class yearbook photos, where they have the whole class stand in a big auditorium. so imagine, 600 people standing on bleachers, everyone's head the size of a pin, and you're still able to locate yourself. it's all in the measurement and shapes :)

all IMHO of course :}


05-27-2003, 07:07 PM
quite exciting for its incompletion and realism

05-27-2003, 11:17 PM
there is a ton of pictural information available on the web for close up studies of eyes. google's image searce comes to mind. Personally I feel you have learned quite a bit from this study and think that you will proceed quite well.

nice work,


05-28-2003, 12:35 AM
thanks all - I appreciate your input. I found it odd though, I drew a very good likeness of a coworker a few weekends ago -everyone said it was an excellent likeness, yet when I applied color to it the likeness disappeared. It was strange to see my friend turn into Zoro. I used a very detailed drawing as an underdrawing and I know the proportions didn't change as I followed the underdrawing. All I can say is that when painting the features, slight deviations - in say the angle of the eyelids - or the bump in his nose was moved down perhaps a bit - had a negative impact on the overall likeness. That's why this study was important for me.