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Roan
09-24-2000, 07:56 AM
I originally posted this in the Critiques Forum but didn't get a lot of feedback.
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This is a quick head study for a larger piece I'm doing:

<center><IMG SRC="http://www.wetcanvas.com/Critiques/User/studydad3c.jpg" border=0>

16" x 22" on Sabretooth paper.
</center>



I have some questions:
1) I'd like to know what everyone thinks of this study style-wise.

2) this man has very distinctive yellowish to pink skin. Even with careful overlaying, in places I'm having a hard time making it look natural without getting a mud pie. Suggestions?

3) Glasses. I've put as little emphasis as possible on his glasses, but his are tinted and it's posing a problem with the eye area. Suggestions?

4) Background. What do you think? Too bright? Too linear?

Thanks!

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Mar sin leibh an-drąsda,
Roan
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"Am fear a ghleidheas a theanga, gleidhidh e a charaid."

4vincent
09-24-2000, 08:39 PM
Roan,

I agree about the background; it IS too busy. You could gray it, have it darker at the top softening to a lighter value at the area around the face. Just keep the background as background.
Generally, caucasian skintones run from ochreish colors on the forehead, redder skintones around the eyes and nose area (because of blood vessels being closer to the surface in that area) and grayer tones in the lower facial features. These could vary with subjects.
A lot of painters paint the subject's eyes and then "put on" the glasses. Softening some edges along the frames will make them less prominent. Also softening edges, say around the top of the head, etc, will bring more attention to the eye area, which is your focal point. Hope this helps. Ken

Roan
09-24-2000, 10:34 PM
Originally posted by Sandi:
yeah, what Ken said. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif
Looks like quite a character you have there. Can't wait to see it when finished.

Heh, character indeedy-do! That's my dad -- well, that was him in 1985. He's 78 now.

Hugs!

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Mar sin leibh an-drąsda,
Roan
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"Am fear a ghleidheas a theanga, gleidhidh e a charaid."

Roan
09-24-2000, 10:53 PM
Originally posted by 4vincent:
I agree about the background; it IS too busy. You could gray it, have it darker at the top softening to a lighter value at the area around the face. Just keep the background as background.

Hrm, hrm. Hrm, yet again. What I do like is the way his suit moves into the background, I wanna keep that. Greying it will work. I do that a lot with clothes so that I get the color but not the intensity. Nothing worse than the clothes competing with the face.

Generally, caucasian skintones run from ochreish colors on the forehead, redder skintones around the eyes and nose area (because of blood vessels being closer to the surface in that area) and grayer tones in the lower facial features. These could vary with subjects.

How come there are never any books that simply state this? I only got the pink around the eyes and nose from staring at a zillion pictures.

Okay, greyer tones in the lower facial features -- so, an older person, like above, would be even "greyer" because they are thicker down there. I think I see the yellowish ochre because of the combination of a) bearding b) cast shadow c) reflection from the brown (it's not blue, so I found out) suit.

Dunno. I find it extremely irritating that I have such a problem seeing color in someone's skin. Light skins are the worst. Gimme a horse and I can paint that with a zillion colors. I see them. Gimme a person and I'm at a loss. I think it has to do somewhat with familiarity with the subject. No?



A lot of painters paint the subject's eyes and then "put on" the glasses. Softening some edges along the frames will make them less prominent. Also softening edges, say around the top of the head, etc, will bring more attention to the eye area, which is your focal point. Hope this helps. Ken

Do the eyes look okay the way they are -- if I clean them up a bit? See, I can't really see them. I'm doing this from a really small contact sheet photo. The photo is 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 but there are 4 people in it. Dad only has a 1/2" of face space. Blown up, it's really hazy, but workable.

Will soften up stuff, thanks!

This was just supposed to be a study, but my husband and I kinda like this particular one and want to frame it for our walls. This is why I'm asking for advice. I've never really painted in this "style" before. Dunno what you call it, expressionist?

I'm doing the larger piece right now for my parents -- less OOOOOMMMFFF! More realistic, you know -- BORING!

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Mar sin leibh an-drąsda,
Roan
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"Am fear a ghleidheas a theanga, gleidhidh e a charaid."

Roan
09-24-2000, 10:56 PM
One more question:

When you look at this painting, what is your impression of the person in it? What does the painting say to you?

I want to see if I accomplished what I set out to do. If I did, mistakes be damned, I'm ahead! :P

Thanks!!!!!

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Mar sin leibh an-drąsda,
Roan
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"Am fear a ghleidheas a theanga, gleidhidh e a charaid."

msue
09-27-2000, 06:57 PM
I wish I could give you the color names for portraits that were recommended in the workshop I attended, but unfortunately the instructor favored Nupastel and only gave us numbers. If you have access to Nupastel's or a color chart for them maybe this info will help.....yellow tones in skin #277, pink tones #366., #324 works on shadows and creases. For the base skin tones we were taught to use #333 and Rembrants # 235 and #9. Sorry I can't be more specific but this is from cryptic notes I took about three years ago. I've note kept up my practice with portraits but I did one of my grandmother after this workshop that came out pretty darn good.

As for your question to reaction, mine was "this is the style I used for grandma's portrait." The background is a little too distracting to keep focused on the subject. But when I focus on the face I think, distinguished, but country at heart.

arteitaliana
09-28-2000, 02:56 PM
This is a very well drawn portrait. The painting part has some problems. I agree with other posters : the background is too busy and too light, especially at the top.
For the eyes, may I suggest that you paint them as you see them, eyeglass reflection and all? If your dad wears tinted eyeglasses then they have become part of what he is and a portrait without them would not work.
The way it is now, the eyes are unnatural and too dark.
Skin color is difficult to paint and no formula can help. Most of the time skin contains a reflection of the background color...in this case the shadowy parts of the face could contain some blue instead of brown....it seem really strange but it works!!

Roan
09-30-2000, 12:13 AM
Rita,

I've posted this in Critiques as well, I like to get as many opinions as I can. This is the actual, ah, "format" I went with. I decided that rash color-sloshing isn't my forté :P

It's detail from the 24x24 piece -- just my Dad at the moment. I took your words to heart and lightened the eye area considerably.


Do you feel there is too much detail in the glasses?

<IMG SRC="http://www.wetcanvas.com/Critiques/User/dl_9-29-004a2.jpg" border=0>

Btw, as for your comment in the older study about adding blue? It's when I added the blue that I ran into the "mud" problem. The blue did not like the ochre I was using at all :P I think I've solved that problem (in this piece) by using purple-brown and then adding touches of blue on top. It's not close to done, but what do you think so far?

Thanks!

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"Am fear a ghleidheas a theanga, gleidhidh e a charaid."

Roan
09-30-2000, 12:25 AM
Originally posted by msue:
. . .As for your question to reaction, mine was "this is the style I used for grandma's portrait." The background is a little too distracting to keep focused on the subject. But when I focus on the face I think, distinguished, but country at heart.

Quite right! You got my dad alright :P

I did the painting so busy because as I started to work on it I got this feeling of wanting to paint my dad in colors and line movement that make me think of him. Strong blues, some red, some soft colors, lots of anal-type diagonal lines and then some vertical lines for a little contradiction :P The likeness is definitely there, the colors are how I feel about him.

Ever have one of those paintings that is totally wrong but feels right to you? This is one for my bedroom where no one can see it but me :P

Hugs and thanks!

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"Am fear a ghleidheas a theanga, gleidhidh e a charaid."

arteitaliana
09-30-2000, 03:14 AM
as for your comment in the older study about adding blue?
It's when I added the blue that I ran into the "mud" problem.
The blue did not like the ochre I was using at all

Well...I know it's difficult to make skin color with addition of cool colors instead of darker flesh tones. The blue that you added at the temples works quite well though...
The problem lays in calibrating the colors so they works with each other. If an object is close to a strong color it will be suffused by tones the have some of that color in them.
It helps to look at the work of the great portrait painters: Sargent, for example.
Portait painting, like all things, takes time and effort. After 30 or so portraits, one begins to understand...that there is lot more
to be learned!! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/wink.gif

[This message has been edited by Rita Monaco (edited September 30, 2000).]

Ohju
10-04-2000, 09:48 PM
I'm a new member here, but a 20 year vet on pastel protraits. I think you are doing an excellent job. The glasses look good to me and if you are concerned about the colors, well don't be. As soon as you get the base colors done, detailing it with highlights and depth will make it an excellent piece! I like it! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

LDianeJohnson
10-08-2000, 07:29 PM
Roan,

I think I've come in a little later on this, just got back from a trip. I looked at your first and second posting on this portrait. You've got a great start. A couple of things...

The blue in the eyes appears the same and as intense as the background and almost as if I am looking at the background throught the eyes. I know you are not finished with this yet, but work some in the eye to break the blue a bit. Since the eye area is where most people go to first in viewing a portrait, the eyes also compete with the background. Adjust the background as well so it does not take away from your figure.

The glasses are well executed. The only adjustment would be to do a bit of feathering along at the bottom of the glasses in a couple of places to minimize the appearance of the glasses hard line all around. They will look more natural and more natural on his face.

As always, nice job.

Diane

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LDianeJohnson.com (http://www.LDianeJohnson.com)
Workshops for 2001 (http://www.LDianeJohnson.com/workshops)

djstar
10-09-2000, 05:48 PM
Hi Roan,
Found our pastel corner and wanted to put in my two-bits. I LIKE the looks of your original. I like the feel of the sketch and there are two things I want to share.

1.)CAPUT MORTUUM. It seems to only exist in pastel and it is the gray to end all grays. I has a purple brown cast and comes in all sorts of confusing values, but it makes my shadows sing. It puts a lot of color in a dull value so I feather it a lot over my shadows to cut shapes in. I am intimidated by your paper since it rips an holds so much color, I would be afraid of it turning to mud. BUT if you need a dark, try that. ALSO Deep violet-blue is my favorite DARK DARK, it seems blacker than black in a lot of my stuff and keeps a feel of blood under the skin.

2.)Ok for the glasses... the little cartoon trick of a slash of light, maybe even just an erasure, across the plane where the glass is on both lenses, can convey the surface in front of the surface and let you know there IS glass, but still see the eyes.
I will TRY to be brief.
I LIKE the energy in your strokes, it feels lively and I sense a lot of affection for the sitter.
Hope I a helping.
Debra Jones