View Full Version : Painting Portraits are DANGEROUS!
Ive had several people tell me that a portrait is best done from life...Well that works great on grown ups and older kids but not so well on 7 year olds and younger!
I went to a ladies house once to do a portrait of her little girl and all the little girl would do was scream like someone was killing her and try to get away from her mom. When she did get away she would hide and wouldnt come out for anything!..wouldnt have made a very nice portrait...anyway after 4 returns her attitude toward sitting still for even a minute didnt change so I gave up on the idea.Even her mom bribing her with M&M's didnt work!
About 8 months ago I went to another house to try a portrait of a little boy and was bitten on the arm when his mom told him to sit still so I could draw! then he threw wooden building blocks at me for an hour!All his mom would do is threaten him! (At least she could have stood by me and made an effort to catch the blocks!)
Dont get me wrong!I love kids and have a couple of fine boys myself but Ive found everyones kids dont act the way you would like them to when your trying to draw.. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/frown.gif
(You know what I mean!)
If I try it again I'll have the following in my paint box
1.Leather shoulder length welders gloves
2.A good supply of Bactine!
3.A case of junk food!
4.A good quality hardhat and face shield
5.For when it gets really bad a few hemostats and a tourniquet!
12-17-2000, 05:54 PM
How about bringing this for the kid http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/biggrin.gif.
6. A sedative
7. A straight jacket - and if you are doing a cutsie get a jacket with some lace
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[This message has been edited by henrik (edited December 17, 2000).]
12-18-2000, 07:12 AM
Next time (if you dare) - take a camera with you and explain photos will work as long as you take them yourself, after having seen the child first hand anyway. Kids usually like to ham it up for a camera - http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif Carol
12-18-2000, 03:43 PM
I'd suggest an electronic shock collar from Innotek, with a variable remote that goes from warn to fry. Tape it to your easel for immediate access.
In fact, it might even give you some interesting facial expressions to liven up the pose!
"Art attacks can skill!"
12-18-2000, 10:04 PM
LOL.... I love this family
12-19-2000, 01:43 AM
Hmmmm....it does not matter if you paint from photos or real life, it's the result that counts. I don't paint from snapshots taken by friends or relatives, I take the photos myself (a lot of them). If you know a bit about lighting and how to pose a subject, photos are ok. I know bad portraits artists that paint from life and some very good ones that use only photos.
12-19-2000, 04:55 PM
I once had a real squirmer. It took 3 photo sessions to even come close to capturing all the material needed to include what the client was requesting.
I recommend shooting in the child's own environment (home, yard, etc.) rather than shooting in your studio. Meet with the parent(s) child once without your camera to get to know the youngster. And if possible, ask mom not to be present when doing your shooting. That way the acting up is minimized.
Oh, and lollypops don't work http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/wink.gif
Do some quick color studies live, particularly to get the child's skin, hair, and eye colors correct. Photos never give you this information faithfully.
Paintings by L. Diane Johnson (http://www.LDianeJohnson.com)
Workshops for 2001 (http://www.LDianeJohnson.com/workshops)
Great Laugh Beau, can just imagine it,
Great tip re getting accurate skin tones,Diane ,cameras do let you down there,
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12-23-2000, 04:27 AM
Artistry had the solution at the start of her second paragraph :- " I suggest shooting the child"
12-23-2000, 06:36 PM
Thanks for posting this, I have had such fun reading all the replies.
On the question of taking photos for portraits, has anyone got any tips for me on the best shots to take for reference photos for portraits (eg side, front, above or below)
At the moment, I'm trying (unsuccessfully) to get a natural photo of my 10 yr old son.
Katie you may want to try a little bribe LOL..but I wouldnt try the rest of these! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/biggrin.gif And yep its been a lot of fun!
Thanks for the replies everyone!
Leslie M. Ficcaglia
01-08-2001, 05:33 PM
Karen, it all depends on the look you're after. I usually go for full face rather than profile, and try to have someone else there that the child can relate to (this works with adults, too.) If the subject can be reacting to someone off camera it distracts them and allows a more natural look. Sitting a kid on a swing, on a jungle gym, in a tree, or in some other situation where it feels normal to remain in the same spot (for example, a high chair for a very young child) can be helpful. I tend to try for action shots, and often take the expression from one photo and the pose from another. Requires a certain amount of forethought to get the lighting the same in all the reference photos you end up using, otherwise you end up with the light coming from the left on the face and from the right on the torso and whatever background you've got. Of course it's a lot easier to fudge the light on the torso than on the face. Hope that helped.
Leslie M. Ficcaglia
Minnamuska Creek Studio
Portrait Gallery at http://www.igc.org/mauriceriver/riverpeople.html
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