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Grotius
01-03-2007, 01:07 PM
I'm painting a self-portrait, and the part that is currently vexing me is my close-cropped, gray-and-brown beard. This is only my third oil painting, based on a drawing I did. (To my astonishment, the painting is a better likeness than the drawing.) As a placeholder, I blocked in gray and brown hashmarks, but they look flat and two-dimensional.

I did a search on "beard" here and I found Turlogh's delightful self-portrait in this thread:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=339182&highlight=beard

Turlogh, may I ask, how did you render your beard? Do you or anyone else have advice on the best way to realistically portray a close-cropped beard? (Mine is closer-cropped than yours, currently; my beard's length varies with the tides.) Does one paint individual hairs with a round? Many thanks in advance.

turlogh
01-03-2007, 07:01 PM
Turlogh, may I ask, how did you render your beard? Do you or anyone else have advice on the best way to realistically portray a close-cropped beard? (Mine is closer-cropped than yours, currently; my beard's length varies with the tides.) Does one paint individual hairs with a round?
There are lots of ways to paint hair. I was pretty happy with how this came out. I worked with a small round brush, not trying to render each hair, but to get the sense of texture and the color of brown and gray patches. There are more different colors there than it may appear.

Grotius
01-03-2007, 07:12 PM
There are lots of ways to paint hair. I was pretty happy with how this came out. I worked with a small round brush, not trying to render each hair, but to get the sense of texture and the color of brown and gray patches. There are more different colors there than it may appear.
Many thanks for your reply. You certainly should be happy with how it came out! It looks great. Anyway, I'm encouraged to hear that you used a small round brush, because that's what I had in mind, too. And even my untrained eye can see that there are a number of subtle color changes in my beard -- not to mention the depressingly un-subtle incursion of white hairs. :)

I found one source that described using a fan to render hair (as opposed to a beard), but that seems more appropriate for curlier, softer locks.

jstpnt
01-03-2007, 07:31 PM
First rough in the face below the beard while painting the rest of the face. Then let that dry. then you are free to experiment until you find a method that suits.

LanK
01-04-2007, 11:56 AM
I faced the beard dilmena recently when I decided to give paintings to everyone on my Christmas gift list to help with financial issues this year. I made that decision mid December, so I had no time to address the beard in any way other than quick. That being said, I am happy with the effect this quick treatment resulted in. It was a short cropped beard also, with many colours and many white bits (though no blue and purple which is what came out in the painting!)

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Jan-2007/96693-ed.jpg

This is a small painting 6"x6" so it is almost life size here.

Funny enough - when I presented the portrait, I noticed his beard didn't have so much white. Feeling guilty I apologized - and he admitted to "enhancing" its natural colour earlier that week!

Hope this is of some help to you.

randolf
01-04-2007, 02:00 PM
To paint a beard convincingly you really have to do what you would with the hair on the top of the head - paint the shape and form of the chin, get the three-dimentionality and the surrounding space (as you would paint the form of the head underneath the hair on the crown). The colours of the beard are incidental - a means of rendering the form. In fact, this is how you should paint all things. Once the form, the drawing, is accurate - and by this I mean truly felt - then the colours will look right.

Randolf
website (http://thomasindewhurst.artspan.com/)

Grotius
01-05-2007, 01:03 PM
Thanks for the further comments. LanK, I quite like the beard you've painted there. I wish mine looked as good. :)

Randolf, your point is well-taken. This is only my second painting; my only prior experience is a few weeks' worth of drawing with graphite, in which I learned to draw shapes (especially negative shapes) first. No doubt I have not shaped my chin area as well as I could.

But I also wish I'd taken the advice of an earlier poster to draw the underlying skin before putting in beard hair. I'm half-tempted to paint over the beard I've got and start again...