View Full Version : 'Dreams Never End' - oil painting of a prisoner

05-22-2012, 04:57 PM
Hi all, my first posting in this section :)


This is a 2x3ft oil painting, done in a sort of "classical" or "photorealist" style...i.e. layered up thinly, toned ground, a sort of dead layer - although I chop and change between colours and experimenting with ways of modelling to find whatever looks best.

Any tips on modelling/layering/colouring would be greatly appreciated.

I aim to glaze the face and all flesh after completing it in green tones, however I fear I may have done it too dark to begin with. Have never actually got to any final glazing stages, so this will be my first time.

I'd also love to know what people's immediate reactions are, regarding the mood or narrative of the pieces, as that's very important to the series of works with the "prisoner" character I'm embarking on.

CHeers, Charlie - there's a bigger, much higher res pic of it on my flickr link

05-23-2012, 01:47 AM
A wonderful pose, coming along fine.

Welcomevtomthe forum.


mark brazney
05-23-2012, 02:16 PM
I love it. I am a big fan of not so detailed backgrounds. this is great so far. are those shadows of trees? would love it if you added some perspective to the background all in the color you already have going. What did you have in mind for the background?

05-23-2012, 02:18 PM
I took the shadows to be from barbed wire. Is this the Bird Man of Alcatraz?


05-26-2012, 11:46 AM
ha! Love this!
what a character and you're doing a marvelous job

part of me likes it just as it is - crazy incomplete i know, but strangely appealing none the less

tips on layering - take your time and back up often = )


05-27-2012, 02:21 AM
I keep looking for screaming faces from hell in the shadows of the background

05-27-2012, 11:23 AM
The birds center of gravity seems off a bit, and the prisoner seems to be floating.

05-27-2012, 11:57 AM
I like the harsh, dreary emptiness of the background. Seems appropo. I think you could ground him a bit with shadow. I agree the bird's stance seems a little off. His left hand seems too round or plump pinky side.

Great job painting this haunting image!

05-28-2012, 04:56 AM
What a great painting this is already! You've got great technical and artistic skills. Branches and bird represent freedom?
There's something about the perspective. Though I understand your choices, the hand in front of this poor prisoner seems too big to me. His feet, being the most far away could be less streaked to me. I hope this makes sense to you.
You're a great artist, once again, I love your painting!

05-31-2012, 02:42 AM
This is amazing
I like it just the way it is
It glows with an inner light

Reminds me of my Father....really beautiful work Charlotte


06-02-2012, 11:35 AM
The face is quite spectacular! Sounds strange but I see a combined look of hope and despair at the same time. And then there seems to be a silent resignation in there too. Very thought provoking scene and mood, I don't see much beyond the face, the rest seems somehow unimportant. The face says it all, and the simple palette is perfect in my opinion. very well done. Cheers. Debs.

TX Rose
06-04-2012, 01:25 PM
I spent time studying your very intriguing, well done piece and then read the other reviews. I learned much from them that I had missed and went back to spend more time really trying to make sense of your message. That is when I saw that your background is actually many faces and figures of people. Is it regret or longing that puts them there? I am so impressed.

06-05-2012, 12:10 PM
I find interesting/like:
colours never mix (except in the background) each one stands alone in its own segregated monochromatic area: a blue area, a flesh area, repeated and separated. This echoes the theme of containment.
The blue tit has markings - it's black stripes repeat the black lines of the prisoner yet they mean something entirely different. Flight vs. caged.
The close, wide-angled perspective you've used gives a sense of him being 'in your face.'
The painstaking detail no painterly blurs on the prisoner shows a hard reality, everything exposed.
The shadows I could interpret the barbed wire (?) as love hearts... this is the only place where there is vagueness, ambiguity and it comes from the light on the outside I love it.
Things I don't like:
I find there is something about the position of the bird, there is a lack of connection to the overall picture, like it's been stuck on. But you must keep the bird, so...
you are a very talented illustrator.

06-05-2012, 03:12 PM
It's almost as if he's sees freedom just outside his grasp. He can view it from affar, never being able to feel as free as the sparrow. But that seems to be good enough for him. He seems to have embraced his fate, or is devising a way to change it. Either way; I see a look of excitement, comfort, reassurance, yet a strange, but cohesive, look of despair. Then you think about what exactly is he looking at? What is he seeing beyond his bars? Is it freedom itself, or something more? Really powerful piece! It truly speaks to me. As far as the layering, take it nice and slow. I look forward to seeing more of this character!

06-05-2012, 03:17 PM
Now I see faces in the background!! Brilliant my friend, brilliant!

Moises Menendez
06-14-2012, 12:42 PM
This painting is so realistic that I could swear this man has COPD, and you can see the difficulty he has to gasp his breath! As a physician I have seen many patients like him: strong and deep wrinkles, large nose, short neck, big belly and small chest, all signs of smokers and patients with emphysema. I can tell you with certainty that this man is or was a heavy smoker and he shows the signs of lung disease. I will to the extreme medical inspection: Even his finger nails which are so well rendered show the typical curvature of people wiht chronic lung disease. His eyes also tell me some anguish or hope. Is he looking at a window, I guess.
From the artistic point of view, among other things, the tone values are great. I would like to see the final painting. This is a great portrait!