View Full Version : woman in mountains

06-22-2012, 11:17 AM

Title: woman in mountains
Year Created: 2012
Medium: Oil
Surface: Canvas
Dimension: 18x24
Allow digital alterations?: Yes!

I based the woman's face/head on some of L Da Vinci's sketches and paintings - the general expression with eyes down and tilted, then added body and background - building t the picture with imaginations and memories of holidays.

Any useful thoughts and general comments are appreciated.

Avena Cash
06-22-2012, 02:03 PM
The face and head are very well-rendered. The neck and shoulders and drapery seem disconnected with less clear edges and shadows, and less anatomical accuracy. Note that there are no strong darks in or around the drapery or the necklace--really the only ones are in the face.

The background looks really nice at the top, but the brightest area in the entire picture seems to be the background around the figure's right side. That nearly-white area is distracting and confusing to the eye and on the left makes it hard to distinguish the top of her shoulder because her skin and background are the same value.

Overall, it's a pretty picture, but it jumps out that the parts were done separately. I guess the face had a reference image and the rest did not. I suggest that it is better to develop the background at the same time as any figures so things fit together.

06-24-2012, 07:50 AM
thanks Avena, for your useful comments.

06-24-2012, 08:29 AM
I think Avena has given a terrific crit. Before I read her comments, I immediately felt that the painting was over saturated, especially in the background and especially with the intense blue on the left. Da Vinci would never work with intense colors like that and the idea is to draw attention to the woman's face, not to the surrounding hues. So I offer a photoshop which desaturates a lot of the painting other than the face and also darkens the high value area to the right of the face as Avena also noticed.


06-24-2012, 08:47 AM
Your canvas certainly looks like a DaVinci! Well done.
Avena Cash and tgsloth give excellent suggestions to even improve your work .

06-24-2012, 09:08 AM
Thanks for all comments.
I do have to add that there are problems with my photo you see - the blues are far brighter than they are in reality!
Your photoshopped toned down version actually looks more like the original than the picture I have posted (my partner confirmed this)! For example, the folds in her cloth are as dark as the face shadows here. I'm going to look at my camera settings and see if i can fix this.
However, I agree with your comments and really appreciate them. Also, future paintings will be started as a whole - this was really mashed up as I went along, there was no intention to look like a da Vinci - just use him as a starting point to get me going.

06-24-2012, 10:24 AM
Nice work, Johhny. Maybe the gold surrounding the jewel at her neck could be touched a bit to distinguish it from her skin color. There is almost a sense that it is embedded there like some alien organ. Sorry for the bizarre description, just my observation.
Wouldn't want you to ruin your painting because it easy to do but have you ever tried to achieve a sfumato effect? Here is my method: When the paint is not wet but still tacky, use a very soft (think sable or squirrel) brush and gently whip the surface of the painting, horizontally, back and forth ever so lightly with just the tips of the hairs. Be very gentle at first, until you know the amount of pressure necessary to blend the paint. If the brush becomes dirty, clean it with turp or oms, wipe it dry and begin afresh. It works best if the brush is slightly moist but not sopping. A broad flat, or a large blunted round like a womans makeup brush works well for this. A painting in this style would look nice with sfumato. It creates a diffuse, soft effect.

06-24-2012, 11:05 AM
thanks revilo - sfumato is something i'll definitely look in to.