View Full Version : Karianne

11-08-2012, 02:33 PM
Karianne 11x14 inches, oil on canvas
Hard crits wanted please.
reference first:



11-08-2012, 05:39 PM
Crafor - this is an excellent likeness.

I expect you will have more to do on colour tone, shadow etc. so my comments are restricted to shape/form:

1. think her nose needs to be made slightly more bulbous.

2. top lip just a tiny bit too straight and "rigid"?

3. hair covering top of (her) left ear creates a slightly lop-sided effect.

Look forward to seeing further posts


11-08-2012, 06:32 PM
You've definitely captured a likeness, Crafor, but perhaps not the most flattering one. I think the asymmetry of the teeth is exaggerated in the painting, where in the image they are fairly symmetrical--this is probably giving me that unflattering feeling. I wouldn't be happy if my teeth were portrayed that way.

Don't get me wrong. I think you are close and the painting doesn't have to be "flattering" to be good. These are just my personal observations.

11-08-2012, 08:13 PM
Agree with Rev the mouth needs work and the teeth (difficult at the best of times).
The chin and the side of the face on the right needs to be better defined

11-08-2012, 08:36 PM
Mike, thanks for your comments, I strengthened the shadows and lights on the nose bulb, and it is better. She does have a narrow nose, but not as narrow as I had it.
I think I corrected the upper lip.
I see what you mean about the hair over her left ear. I'll give that some thought. Now that you mention it...

Revilo, thanks for the honesty (and kindness) in your comment on the teeth. I had such a time with the whole mouth area and was intent on getting it right, I forgot something I realized a couple of months ago: that I did not want to be so realistic as to present an unflattering portrait. You made me remember, and I hope I have that corrected now.

Andrew, I will work on the chin and cheek a bit more! It needs some drying time.
Thank you all so very much.

11-13-2012, 07:12 AM
Great work so far Ella! All has been said so I will wait for the next instalment. I love to see your work! Cheers =)) Debs

11-13-2012, 09:33 AM
Debs, thanks. I had forgotten this. Here is the finished portrait. It's drying now, to be mailed to them (his and hers) in a couple of weeks for Christmas.
I adjusted the teeth, softened the upper lip, added a bit of shadow line under the upper lip, worked on the nose a bit. I did work on the cheek, but it got worse, not better, so it's staying like this. I did a bit more on her eyes.
Again, thank you all for your comments. Using them made this portrait of my firstborn better.

(Side note, Debs- I'll post that charcoal/watercolor sketch in the drawing and sketching forum in the general sketchbook section, after I get a photo of the watercolor. This morning if I can.)


11-13-2012, 01:52 PM
Well done Ella!

Lovely sparkle in her eyes.


11-13-2012, 04:26 PM
Thanks, Mike.
Well, don't laugh--not too hard, anyway. I have a drawing class on Tuesdays (2 more classes) and took Karianne with me. Both instructors said she needed work Andrew, are you ready for this--NO LAUGHING!!!--on the right side of her face and chin. The difference is, the one teacher told me how to do it. So I'll give it a go. If it doesn't work, I can remove it. I hope.

11-13-2012, 08:40 PM
Well Done Ella! She certainly does have a beautiful sparkle in her eyes! Takes after her mum I bet =)) I will check out the drawing / sketching forum! Looking forward to seeing more Ella! Cheers and keep up the great work =)) Debs.

11-14-2012, 06:04 AM
Hi Ella, Very often when I paint a portrait, I will put my drawing and the reference side by side, as I did with yours. It really shows where a problem lies. With yours, I see that it is in the mouth and lower part of her face. As your instructor pointed out, it is a drawing problem - one that I struggle with constantly. You don't need much. By the way, I probably would have added the hair on the right, it's interesting. I also would have emphasized the light from the shadow - really adds a lot of interest. One other thing, when painting young people, eliminate many of the lines and creases in the face, as they makes a person look older. One last thing, you need more color in her face. Keep the shadows. You are at the stage in the painting where it looks the worst. Take a look at the portrait section of my website to see how color and shadow help a painting. It might help.

11-14-2012, 07:19 AM
Hi Ella! I saw your charcoal sketch "Cactus plants" in the sketchbook forum and I think it would make a very interesting water colour! nice sketch! Good luck and I am looking forward to seeing it come alive with colour! Cheers =)) Debs

11-14-2012, 11:28 PM
Ella, doing portraits it is important to get the drawing correct if you want half a chance at getting something which approaches a likeness to the subject.
The best way of achieving this is to grid your reference and the canvas - the grid on the reference needs to be small enough to capture details and the corresponding grid on the canvas needs to match (number of grid squares across and up and down)


11-15-2012, 03:17 PM
Andrew, Your comments almost always help me to a better understanding. Thank you for your guidance and interest.

Debs, I added the "improved" charcoal sketch and the first WC from it. I plan to add more darks to it, I think.

Thanks for looking. Ella

11-15-2012, 06:26 PM
I am glad to hear that thank you :)
Gridding is not cheating by the way


11-17-2012, 11:03 PM
Her eyes have a great quality to them and I think that is fundamental for a great portrait.

I think for starting portraits you've got a really tricky reference with the shadows and the subjects squinting.

I agree with Jan about her hair having more interest in the photo.

11-19-2012, 08:10 PM
Almost ?????? LOL :)

11-20-2012, 04:07 PM
Yes, Andrew, because sometimes I'm not well enough educated to be able to either understand your meaning or unable to produce the desired result due to lack of training and or experience. I read and re-read the crits and comments with the photo, the photo of the painting, and the painting at hand so I can better understand what is meant, and make a decision, then either do, or not.
IE, You made a suggestion regarding her chin and smile lines. I did what I could to follow your suggestion, because I know you have a good eye. I messed it up badly, and wiped it back. I did work at it again, and again wiped it back. It needs to dry for mailing soon, so it's going pretty much the way it's shown above. I expect I'll do another one of her in a few months, and hopefully I'll know more and be better able to follow the intelligent help given here.

11-20-2012, 08:17 PM
The real secret and it is not a secret at all is OBSERVATION - looking, and looking again. Training your eye to see what you are looking at and not what your brain thinks you are looking at - I know that sounds strange but it simply means seeing then drawing/painting/sculpting that object, and not the object in your head.

For example, everyone knows what an apple looks like, when first learning to draw and asked to draw an apple which is 'posed' for you, most people tend to draw the apple in their head, the apple they know rather than look at the apple in front of them.

Training your eye to look, and your hand to draw what you see is the secret.

If you look now at your reference and your finished work do you see the differences? Look, observe, learn, practice - don't worry it is a life long pursuit, I am still learning too :)


11-26-2012, 06:08 PM
i agree with Andrew, observation means a lot. even if it's just watching someone else do a drawing or a painting, you can learn a lot just by observing. by the way good effort on the portraits of these two, the reference looks quite difficult because of the shadows and squinting eyes. i think the shadows could have been darkened a bit. maybe do some tests on another canvas(a self portrait would be a good way to practice) using naples yellow, burnt sienna, a bit of cadmium yellow, crimson alizarin, van dyke brown and cadmium red. see what results you get. i mainly use those colours for skin tones.

11-27-2012, 10:36 AM
Phil, thanks for stopping by and your comments. Cory's squinting eyes were a big problem. I may work on them during practice times.
Re your color suggestion: Burnt Sienna is the only one one I've used for portraits. I don't have naples any more, never did have van dyke brown. All my portraits till now have been done with venetian red. I bought transparent red earth specifically to use for Gene, tried and liked it for Cory, and planned to use Indian Red for Karianne, but used terra rosa instead. What white are you using?

11-27-2012, 11:06 AM
i use either zinc or titanium white for highlights and mixing white for making colours lighter.