View Full Version : WIP Kaitlin

07-04-2013, 07:12 PM
Hi all,
This is my daughter Kaitlin. I have been learning to paint portraits. Obviously, I am just beginning! My goal here was to have her look human, as opposed to the Alien Women I usually paint. Any advice is greatly appreciated! I am using the methods taught to me by teacher and the Charles Reid portrait book, which I like a lot!


07-04-2013, 08:36 PM
Nancy, there are all kinds of portrait demos and tutorials over in the Handbook - maybe you could take a look at some of them and get some ideals. :wave:
Here are a few of my favorites:

Jean Haines' Step By Step Portraits (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=356684)
Jean Haines' Portraits Around the World (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=364515)
The Maestro by Atlee Harmon (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=566659) (Atlee has several other demos)
A Portrait of Denis by Ona (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?p=8283911&posted=1#post8283911)
Portraits with Purple UnderPainting

07-04-2013, 10:05 PM
I have actually looked at them all already. I guess I am just a bit thick!

07-04-2013, 10:22 PM
Final attempt tonight

Somehow, she got really blue!!
This is not easy, at all!

M.L. Schaefer
07-04-2013, 10:27 PM
Hello, Nancy! You daughter, Kaitlin, is beautiful and you have the perfect pose for a portrait!

So, one thing to keep in mind, paintings need both hard and soft edges. Begin to pick out your hard edges...I think once you do that, you will get some form in the portrait.....

Be sure to leave enough lights. Before adding the shadows, I would have lifted some lights. With many paintings: Light/Medium/Darks. I think that may be especially important for Portraits. You may have jumped right from Medium to Darks, thus the "blue" look from adding shadows?

But keep at it...Portraits are notoriously difficult...you may have to give it a couple tries until everything starts to fall into place.

:heart: Margarete

07-04-2013, 10:49 PM
Thank you, Margarete. Yes, I keep losing my lights. And I am overworking it. Reid just puts down his color, I keep fussing with it. This, if you believe it, is a huge improvement from my first attempts!! :)

07-05-2013, 04:39 AM
Hi Nancy, What a difficult task you placed on yourself. Your uploads are very small and hard to too see clearly, although the reference of your beautiful daughter looks like a good one to paint.

I too love Charles Reid's portrait's, all though I don't paint portraits in his style. (if curious, you can see my style on my website) I think the hardest thing about painting portraits is in the drawing stage. I'm a firm believer in learning how to draw an accurate portrait before attempting to paint one. I suggest, until you learn how to draw them accurately, to trace the general outlines lightly and then really get a good likeness by really looking at your reference before adjusting. You gain a wealth of knowledge by observing closely and that helps in the painting process.
You might want to draw several of your reference eyes, nose, mouth, and practice painting just the features. Good luck.

07-05-2013, 07:16 AM
Hi Jan,
I love your portraits! They are so alive!

I have been practicing drawing faces and features, obviously a work in progress. I did trace this photo, and somehow lost her in the translation! I appreciate your help and advice, I will definitely take it.

07-05-2013, 11:36 AM
Portraits are hard, especially getting the likeness of your subject. I think you may be painting what you "know" (since it is your daughter) and not necessarily what you "see."

Check out this monthly class we did a few years ago: Portraits with Purple Underpainting (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=490082&page=13) for some really good info on approaching a portrait.

Another thing you can do is print out a copy of the reference photo you are using in grayscale and pay really close attention to the value shifts.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Jul-2013/9833-Color.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Jul-2013/9833-GrayScale.jpg

I find when I am tracing a subject, I use the grayscale image while closely observing the color one. This helps you capture the essence a bit easier.


07-05-2013, 11:59 AM
Thank you, Sylvia. I think you are right about painting what I think I know, and about the greyscale.
You are very kind to help,

07-05-2013, 02:35 PM
portraits are a lot of fun and shhhhh!! dont tell anyone but they are really easy once you have grasped some simple techiques. :)

dont be afraid of really dark values to being with. Its easier laying in the shadows first or you can very easily end up with grubby skin tones and dont be inn a rush to paint. Spend the time on the drawing . If it doesnt look like the person before you start painting it wont look like them when you have finished.

and the main thing.... have fun :)

07-05-2013, 05:22 PM
Thanks, Ona! I love your portraits, and appreciate the encouragement!