View Full Version : Son

Anita Murphy
04-07-2005, 05:08 PM
Here goes. I'm going to take this really slowly and would love step-by-step comments by all - this is a community project!!!!! Any tips would be welcome too.
So here is the source pic, the drawing you all kindly helped with, and the sketch onto canvas.
Totally terrified! :(

04-07-2005, 10:14 PM
Hi :wave: I logged in just to say I was here to encourage you and let you know that I was proud of you. I'm sure everything will go just fine. You are an inspiration for me. I took a picture of my son also and might do as you when I have time.

You will learn and get so much support here in the WIP with so many skilled artists. :clap: Good decision :clap:

I am going to bed now. So "Bonne nuit" and sweet dreams ..... :angel:

04-07-2005, 11:56 PM
Hi KA..... :clap: ....YOU'VE STARTED ....that's the biggest hurdle.....it'll be a fun ride now......what size is this and are you using oils?....is the last drawing the start of your painting?/...it's looking good already...
cheers kim

04-08-2005, 02:29 AM
Hey KA, 3 Cheers to you :clap: It's started. Like Kim, said the first hurdle is done.
Looking great. Kim gave me a tip last time about spraying your drawing on canvas after with some fixatif or hair spray. So it doesnt get all muddy when you apply the paint. I do it all the time now and it has saved my life...LOL
Well, I have never done a real life portrait, so I am here for the ride and ready to watch and learn ! :wave:

Anita Murphy
04-08-2005, 06:26 AM
Esmeralinda - welcome to my world! I need all the support I can get for this :wink2:

Kim - I am hanging on every piece of advice you can throw my way. The canvas is 16 x 20, and I'm going to be VERY brave and try oils. I will do the first layer this afternoon - any tips before I start?

Lisa - So happy to have you along for this. Needing bags of encouragement!

04-08-2005, 07:32 AM
Hi KA....Your son's right eye looks a tad high....it's hard to tell as I cannot see the images while I'm posting......if you upload your photos through quick links then go to the image uploader...at the bottom of quick links menu.......size no bigger then 600 we can see the bigger image straight away....the rest of the drawing looks very good......and as Lisa mentioned a fixative over the top of the drawing before you paint helps.....looking forward to the next stage...... :)
cheers kim

04-08-2005, 07:59 AM
Hello Ka,

Thanks to let me know you doing this. YOur first drawing looks great! Welll done! :clap: :clap: Well, dont forget to use the fixative for your sketch on the canvas.

Keep going. Looking forward to see your first layer.

Hi Kim!!!

Anita Murphy
04-08-2005, 03:53 PM
I got carried away - runaway train................................. What I see wrong is the mouth (what colours for lips that wont look like lipstick?) and the eyes - probably a whole heap more too but have become immune! Oh and the ear too.
Over to you guys. Loving the oils - which really surprises me!

04-08-2005, 07:53 PM
Boy oh boy KA....THIS IS FANTASTIC AND SO QUICK.... :clap: :clap:you have handled the oils soooo well....I like the lips...and everything about it....you have really captured that expression......you must be very happy with it!!!! the colours are excellent and his eyes are perfect!!!!maybe just a darker value on his ear but that's all I can see.... :D
Hi Rose.... :)
cheers kim

Anita Murphy
04-08-2005, 08:02 PM
Kim thanks - lip colour is way out - he looks like he's wearing lipstick!

Colour not as IRL - artificial light.
Must stop fiddling with it for tonight.

04-09-2005, 02:38 AM
Wow, KA, Great job. Boy you are fast. Yep! you seem to be enjoying the oil and it shows in your handling. :clap:
About the lips, They are really well done, but I kind of agree with you with the colour, re lipstick..LOL...Oh boy, lips are hard to do on a man. For a woman they would be Perfect in the colour! I dont know what to suggest. Perhaps adding some flesh tones (yellow orchre/white to the lips) or white alone....I am sure someone will come along here and help you out with that. Kimmmmmmmmmmmm.....we need you...LOLOL :D

04-09-2005, 07:11 AM
Great job KA. Times uo,but I'll be back.


Anita Murphy
04-09-2005, 01:18 PM
Latest update - any help greatly appreciated. Think lips are less red - found a magazine which suggested skin tones and only using red as highlight.

Anita Murphy
04-09-2005, 08:28 PM
End of Saturday - light is going so I need to stop. This is where I am at now - bit happier with it - rubbed it out and started again! :crying: The skin tone is far too yellow! I need to do a wash of something rosy but think it needs to dry a bit. Think the mouth is a little better. Hair is too dark - he is much blonder (despite what shows in the photo). Comments please! :confused:

Anita Murphy
04-09-2005, 08:30 PM
Would help if I attached the picture! (How do you do it with Quicklinks?)

04-09-2005, 10:14 PM
Hi KA....it's looking good ....the lips are definitely more realistic....now....I think the overall composition is good....if you go into quick links.......scroll down to image uploader and go from there........
cheers Kim

04-10-2005, 05:35 AM
KA this is looking fantastic already! :clap:

Is this the first time you are using oils?

I prefer the colour of the lips now, much more natural.
Don't be afraid to go dark in your shadows...It may feel scary but it adds dimension to the piece.
Composition wise...I would have liked the portrait to fill the canvas more seeing as it's the only subject and the focal point....but that could just be my taste.

I think you have a fab base to build on here and your skin tones are coming along wonderfully. Remember, there are heaps of hidden colours in there...greens, blues, pinks, oranges...To help you find them bump up the saturation on your photograph. ;)

I always use the image uploader, it allows you to view the piece while commenting. Simply click on QUICK LINKS select IMAGE UPLOADER ...a new window will open with a BROWSE button and take you into your computer so you can find the image you want, once found click on it and then click UPLOAD IMAGE. This will give you a line of text, copy or cut the whole line...everything leaving nothing out and pop it into your reply by pasting.
Peasey! :D

Looking fwd to your progress on this, I'll be popping in...Just relax...You can do this! ;)

04-10-2005, 05:47 AM
I have bumped up the contrast on this B&W version for you to help see the shadows.


I often bump the contrast and work from that version to add drama to the piece.

Also bumped the saturation on the original one to show the colours


See the green in the corner of the eye and under the lip?...The lialcy/blue tones under the eye?....

I tend to do this when I work to gain a better understanding of the features, palette and dimensions and thought it may be of some help. ;)

Anita Murphy
04-10-2005, 08:29 AM
Kim thank you for stopping by. Its definitely getting better!

Anita - thank you so much for taking a look. I had it in my mind to use blues and all sorts of colours but somehow terror beat me though I did try adding a little blue - I might be braver today and start going for it. I used to paint in oils, but this is the first in years and years because the smell of turps gave me migraines. My husband bought me watersoluble oils for my birthday and they have been sitting untouched for the past 3 months till now. I am surprised how much I am enjoying using them.

Anita Murphy
04-10-2005, 10:38 AM
Blued the shadows, tried to rosy him a little too.

04-10-2005, 12:58 PM
Ooooh, those shadows have added so much interest. I'm loving the eye areas. :)

04-10-2005, 01:04 PM
:wave: Hi KA,
Painting looking good ...keep going looking forward to seeing the completion... :clap:

04-10-2005, 06:51 PM
Hi KA.......looking.... :clap:
cheers kim

Anita Murphy
04-10-2005, 06:59 PM
did too much kim and now its all gone down the drain - totally dejected :crying: It doesn't even look like him anymore.

04-10-2005, 07:13 PM
Oh no!!! :eek:

Jim Updegraff
04-10-2005, 07:44 PM
Portraying anyone you are emotionally connected to is a horribly difficult job. It takes a fair amount of courage to even start. Let me suggest that if you are dissatisfied with the piece right now that you just walk away from it for a bit, let it day, sand it down a little and start changing the stuff you donít like and salvaging the stuff you do like. The most important part of this free advice is the walk away from it part. Remember, however, the value of free advice.

Quite frankly, I thought it was coming along quite well. Whistler, I am given to understand, didnít think he had done his mother justice and that is why he called it A Study in Grey and not Portrait of My Mother. Hang in there, you will get it yet.

04-11-2005, 05:16 AM
I cannot count the number of paintings that I have overworked.....or in my opinion ruined beyond redemption.....but I 've learnt that apart from scraping back or painting over you can always start again....your painting was immensely successful at every stage KA....and you have a record of that in this thread.....you will go on and paint another portrait that will be equally as good or even better.....one of my self portraits last year gave me nightmares and I ended up calling it the picture of dorian grey (a movie) it even went over the balcony one night....I did learn an awful lot with that painting....never throw your paintings over the balcony....and my next painting was very successful (for me)....you certainly have the technique and potential to paint a great portrait of your son...
sincerely kim

04-11-2005, 05:34 AM
Hi KA, What I saw was super! :clap: I am sure you can fix what you said you over worked...Let's see. Sometimes it is not as bad as we think! :wave:

Anita Murphy
04-11-2005, 08:21 AM
Thank you all for your support.

Kim - I have a pile of those canvases too. As Jim said, emotional attachment to subject matter probably doesn't help.

Lisa - thank you for holding my hand through this.

I did a little - and am not doing anything else until I get feedback from you guys. The colours are bad here as I took this in artificial light - would like to know if I have the eyes, mouth and nose right. Does it look like it might be worth saving? I think the nose might need more definition.

Thank you again

04-11-2005, 09:46 AM
Hi KA....I don't think you have lost the likeness at all....his features look stronger....I would not make any changes yet....I think it would be good to see the overall painting as well....
cheers kim

Anita Murphy
04-11-2005, 09:55 AM
Thanks Kim
I haven't chopped off his ear Van Gogh style by the way - just leaving it for the moment.

04-11-2005, 12:31 PM
Anita!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Girl, you are too hard on yourself. I think its just great. I loved how you warmed up the skin tones...The eyes are his! The lips are even better now....Really, I think you did a super duper job! :clap: When, and if I do a portrait you will be in a for a good laugh!...LOL... :D :wave:

Just curious? Do you like the oil water soluable better than acrylics. I have always wanted to try those...but my drawers are full of paints now...oil, acrylic, water colour, gouache...LOL..I am always wanting to try new things. The thing with oils, i hate the turpentine smell and the clean up..that is why i swtiched to acrylics, but honestly I do find oil paints handle so much better for alla prima, highligts, etc.

Anita Murphy
04-11-2005, 12:45 PM
I love the watersoluble oils Lisa. I used to use traditional oils but the smell of turps made me ill. I was surprised after all these years that I liked them so much - I love that acrylics dry so quickly. What I really like about the watersoluble oils is that it is SO easy to clean up. I use washing-up liquid to clean my brushes - its no different to cleaning up after acrylics. You can get a linseed oil especially for watersoluble oils and also a fast drying medium to add too.

Thanks for your encouragement - it is coming back from the brink slowly. The thing I have found is that so little changes a face so much. I know I am my own worst critic and being a perfectionist doesn't help! I've put the picture in the other room while I work on something else. Only going to allow myself to do a little at a time now.

04-11-2005, 01:53 PM
KA .........................

I'm jumping in late but I think this one is the greatest !


04-11-2005, 09:34 PM
I know I am my own worst critic and being a perfectionist doesn't help!
Aren't we all ...LOL...KA.....you have done such a GREAT job with this portrait... :clap:
cheers kim

Anita Murphy
04-12-2005, 08:44 AM
Gilberte - welcome to my world! Thank you for the lovely comment. Hope you will stay around to see the end!

Kim - I can't thank you enough for your support and help.

Here are latest updates - sudden breakthrough in colours.
Using ultramarine,cadmium red light and titanium white for the shadows and the lips. Also ultramarine and white for the under eye area - in the photo this looks much starker than IRL. I wish I could get a decent picture of this.

04-12-2005, 10:25 AM
Hi KA! Looking might grand there kiddo! You did such a marvelous job with your touch ups. Like how you added the different colour tones under the eyes and to the shadows on the face. You also fixed the eyebrows...Super.
You must be so pleased with yourself. Very proud of you! :clap:

I know what you mean about getting a good pic...it is so hard.. :confused: .and so much better in IRL. My husband often tells me that my photos dont to my paintings justice! Would love to see your portrait IRL...

Anita Murphy
04-12-2005, 02:08 PM
It's coming slowly Lisa. Have taken to putting it out of sight while I am not doing it so I am not haunted by it all the time!
Wish my husband said things like that - all he says is "Humph".

04-13-2005, 02:42 AM
Hi KA.....this is looking ggreat....I like the new blue hues...and his personality is really showing.....I think sometimes it's hard for the people closest to us to be objective about our artwork ...simply because artists themselves find it difficult...I don't think my kids notice half the time what I'm painting...... :D even if it's them...... :D
cheers kim

Anita Murphy
04-13-2005, 10:09 AM
Is it just me or is the far eye too high? Have I made the shadow on that side of his face too strong?

Kim - when it comes to my art and my husband its a no comment zone - he point blank refuses to comment on anything. :p

Anita Murphy
04-13-2005, 10:11 AM
Might help if I attach the picture.

04-13-2005, 10:30 AM
LOL...KA...it does help to put the photo in... :D ...I don't think the far eye is too high and I see you have adjusted the far cheekbone...it looks better....I don't think the shadow is too strong at all..... :cool:
cheers kim

04-13-2005, 12:07 PM

Wow. this is looking pretty good. Your drawing is pretty accurate and the laydown of paint seems to be going well so far!

Just a couple of things.. most more drawing oriented..


Double check the contour of the right hand side of his face (his left, our right). You've given him a slightly larger cheekbone than he actually has.. especially check the angles of the lines used to describe that contour..

I think his hairline (where the skin meets the hair) is more irregular in the photo than in your painting (if thats intentional, cool.. if not you may want to relook.)

His left eyebrow (his right, our left) comes out more on the right hand side (hold your pencil/brush so that it just touches the inside of his eye and the inside of his eyebrow, that line is about 45 degrees to the right.. in your painting its straight up and down.

Value.. I'd like to see a broader value difference between the left and right hand side of his face to get more depth going in the painting. Same goes for his hair.. I think there is a broader range of values in his hair.. and the masses of hair aren't as regular as you have them in the painting..

In the 'take it or leave it' column (more about personal preference.. ): I'd probably go just a tad more saturated in the colors on his face.. just to bring a little more interest/attention there. I really like the muted colors though.. so its more about choice..

I personally think this is really going well! Painting a portrait (IMO) is the hardest thing to do in art.. there are so many things that have to be going right.. You've got a tremendous likeness going, and all the relationships and angles in the face seem to be well constructed (other than the few I point out). Really excellent so far!

And ha! My wife comments on everything.. and she has an excellent eye.. so very little gets past her.. excellent critic.. keeps me honest!

04-13-2005, 07:20 PM
Ooooh KA, you have really coped well throughout this painting so far and I am really enjoying watching your experience...Thanx for sharing it, I know it can be nerve wracking at times.

I love the change in palette, it works sooo well. He has so much character and it's him...Without a doubt.

Aren't you pleased you didn't give up?

This is gonna be worht every second you've spent on it...Betcha! ;)

Anita Murphy
04-13-2005, 07:58 PM
Anita - yes glad I didn't give up. Funny you say it has character - my mother, who is honest critic, does not like it at all! She says it lacks life! Maybe the life will come!

04-13-2005, 08:20 PM
I believe they are two separate issues KA!

The character is deffinately there, in his eyes, his features....
The life?....Well I think you're right, it will come...He just needs warming up a little. I think as you apply more layers and get the shadows out of the way, the surface colours will provide the "life" your Mum sees lacking right now.

Just take your time, it's going so well.
I suggest you don't shove it away when you're not working on it, leave it somewhere you can see it as you go about the everyday things in life, it's suprising how you begin to view the piece as a "viewer" and notice things you hadn't when you used your "artist eyes" I find it very helpful and tend to be bolder and more confident in my following session because I subconsciously have a map/plan built in my mind that I didn't even realise was there until I pick my brush up.
Give it a try and let me know if you think it helped or not. ;)

Anita Murphy
04-14-2005, 09:29 AM
Thanks Anita

I've made some of the changes that rjking suggested and it certainly seems better. I've been using cadmium red light for the warm tones but it is too orange - alizarin is too blue - is there something else I could try to make him more rosy, less orange?

04-14-2005, 12:44 PM

Hair looks tons better.. You've really got the different masses going now, and have more of a range of values going in his hair..

I find cad + yellow ochre + white that has been somewhat greyed tends too look convincing as a skin tone.. just keep in mind that all colors exist in relation to all other colors.. so sometimes what you mix on your palette may look different when put on your painting (since you are looking at the color in the color environment). In other words.. general guidelines on 'good colors' for things like skin generally don't work.. you must adjust to the color environment of your painting. The best way to find out what works is to try it! Wiping off the paint is only one rag swipe away!

Hairline also looks more convincing.. if you are questioning proportions, you can always measure how many eye widths exist between specific features..

So if the question is, how high should the hairline be? Then measure how many left-eye eye-widths exist between his left eye and his hairline in both your pic and the painting. The rule that I follow is: use your eye to detect drawing problems, use your pencil/brush handle to measure when a problem is detected but you are unsure as to what is causing the problem.

Its getting focused in and looking good! Hope this helps!

04-14-2005, 01:46 PM
Hi KA, strictly my opinion, but I think warm colours work best in shadows, with cool for highlights for portraiture, or you could be bold and darken those shadows if you do want them to be cool. It is looking good though.


mark malone
04-14-2005, 02:13 PM
Looking good here anita,
You are definately beginning to breath some life into this piece with the colours you are applying...well done with continuing with this piece...the struggle is all part of the painting.

Anita Murphy
04-15-2005, 09:13 AM
The long journey continues.............
rjKing - any comments as usual very welcome. Happier with hair and hair line - at least for th moment.

Mikey - I understand what you mean about colour in the shadow been warmer and cooler in the highlights - just can't get it right!!

Mark - thanks for dropping by. If Uni taught me anything it was perserverence - not sure learnt anything else except how to make a stretcher! Its beginning to become more alive for me too and feel like it is him looking out at me. Will email him a picture to see what he thinks of the updates.

The shadow on the left side of his face is not nearly as blue as it appears in the picture. I might have to go and face the curiousity of Mexican passers by and photograph it outside!

I tried cadmium dark today to take out the orange and think it did that to a certain extent. Still having problem with right (his left) eye socket area - I don't think it goes round his head - its too flat. Rounded the left (his right eye) slightly opening it a bit which I think made an enormous difference. Still don't have the angle of his head right but think that it is too late for that as that would mean moving everything.

Beginning to feel that this may not be my one and only portrait! Always a good sign. Would like the next one to be more expressive - lots of colour and vigour!


04-15-2005, 10:28 PM
Hi KA......this is looking good.......I tend to stay away from red....(too many disasters with my portraits).....but he has got that nice English complexion......I agree with Mikey...and he has lot of success with the rosier complexions....
cheers kim

04-16-2005, 04:17 AM
Hi KA, :clap: Looking super! The eye is Fine! I admire you for taking on a portrait. And you have done great!

Anita Murphy
04-16-2005, 06:30 AM
Lisa and Kim - thanks for hanging in with me with this! Good to have some company! :D