View Full Version : Evening light -- Portrait -- WIP (X-post fig)

09-03-2013, 09:57 AM
Hi all --

This is a pastel portrait done on Colorfix, 18" x 24". It's a WIP so please don't hold back with your comments. I feel like I've got a decent likeness, but not sure if the portrait, including both the head and background, are attractive. Does it all look too muddy? The drawing has less contrast than the photo of the drawing; nonethess, there is a definite sense of raw, intense color in the drawing. Does that work or do I need to dull the intensity and blend more?

I have mixed feelings about this one. Sometimes it looks quite attractive to me. But other times the face looks like plastic or wood, almost like a ventriloquest's doll. There's something stiff about the piece.




09-03-2013, 12:22 PM
I thik this is very nicely done! I think the background works fine, too!

It could be that the "wooden" appearance has more to do with the smile. In the "old days" it was normally recommended not to show teeth in a smile on a portrait. Reason being that a big smile is a momentary happeneing and that people do not hold that expression. Since a portrait is frozen in time, so to speak, only expressions that could be held were recommended. Personally, I think that photography has made that recommendation somewhat obsolete as many if not most of us have photographic portraits on our desks or walls with people showing big toothy smiles!

So, to make a long story short - beautiful portrait!


09-03-2013, 01:52 PM
It looks to me like iris of the nearest eye needs more curvature at bottom and perhaps moved forward a bit. And one of the closest teeth seems a bit too big or not angled properly. Not sure about the dark horizon line across background. Perhaps move it down so its not so close to top of head. And also move down water/sand line so it doesn't form tangent with top of her right (our left) shoulder.

However, this a great portrait! I like your colors and mark making. And also the warm highlights that tie in the shirt well.

09-03-2013, 02:04 PM
I like it ! But I find the blending around the girl a little distracting.

09-04-2013, 10:32 PM
Great painting.


09-04-2013, 11:49 PM
I think this is very good it looks fresh to me not wooden. I agree about the blending of the background but being a WIP I'm guessing you will fix that

09-05-2013, 04:02 AM
It might help you to have a look at the pastel portraits of Alicia Sotherland, just google her name, you will find them. Take a look carefully at her colour choices, in relation to the temperature of the light. Also look at transitions from one tone to another.

Then, look more carefully at the model's right shoulder (her right). It is coming towards us in your picture, but in the photo, it is not.

09-05-2013, 07:09 AM
Thanks, all, for your great comments! In response, I made a number of adjustments. What do you think?



09-05-2013, 03:11 PM
Much stronge.r My only concern is the blending around the hairline. Your backround seems to "blur around" the model's head which always is a bit jarring.

you might find that some simple wisps of hair (with the side of a pastel or a pastel pencil) is all you need to break up that "smudged" look as right now she looks like she's been pasted overtop of the background.

Otherwise though, I really like where its going. Well done.