View Full Version : First portrait attempt
I want to paint my mother's portrait, probably using something like Rembrandt's chiaroscuro, but I've never painted a portrait, and my drainhg is not good enough (I've tried some pencil drawings). Do you any tips that should help me? How I can start planning the work?
05-28-2001, 10:06 AM
By far, the easiest portrait is a profile. If you don't have the confidence for anything else - this is a great place to start.
If you are game for more of a challenge. Aim to express meaning as much as technique. Your technique is going to grow with time - but your trying to capture a moment in time NOW with your mom. Think about the things in your mothers life that make her 'her'. What are her passions. Set up a pose that expresses this. If you need help with compositional elements just post the information you have and you will probably get more help than you ever wanted. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif
05-28-2001, 11:37 AM
Are you planning to work from life or from a photo?
My first thought was to use photos as references, because we live in different states. I do have some, but they are not what I expect. I tried some rough sketches, but I didn't like them. I feel I didn't get "her". But I'm still trying... I'll try to get other photos of her, nad wait a bit more.
Thank you TMoore, I didn't think about a profile, but I'm not sure it's her best angle...
05-28-2001, 06:11 PM
Els, how I would approach this is to try to get reference material that is as close to what you want the final painting to be as possible. It sounds as though it is not going to be practical to set up portrait sessions with your mother with lighting arranged to give you the chiarascuro effect. So, it's going to have to be photos.
If you are after a realistic representation rather than an imaginative or fantastic portrait, I would select one image as your source. Combining different poses is very difficult to make look natural. When you have selected your image, do some studies to sort out in your mind what's happening with the tonal values and the colour. This is especially important if you are planning to change the colour and tones. The more planning you do in advance, the more likely it is your painting will be successful. I never approach a painting not knowing exactly what I'm going to be doing (although things might change during the painting). I do a lot of my planning on the computer in photoshop - it has speeded up the process tremendously.
If your drawing is not so hot, why not cheat and use photocopying or computer scanning to get the image the size you need and trace it onto your paper or canvas. (Is anybody shocked by this suggestion? http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif )
Don't forget you can always post your selected photo, preparatory work or painting in progress here for suggestions and advice.
[This message has been edited by sandrafletcher (edited May 28, 2001).]
05-28-2001, 08:09 PM
For a first up attempt the only thing I can suggest is do a few other people first, strangers are good as I have found doing a portrait of somebody I know well difficult until you have the confidence to say here it is and this is how I see you.
The best way I found to develop my people drawing skills was to start with older people cause if you make a mistake its just another character line then work progressively down through the age groups as babies are one of the hardest due to no solid features
Well thatís my thoughts for what there worth
Thank you Sandra and MarkL, I apperciated very much your suggestion.
Sandra, I'll try to find out a photo that fits what I want, and work with it only. The tip concerning the photoshop is very good...
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