View Full Version : Inlaw Portrait WIP

02-01-2007, 11:24 PM
I'm attempting a portrait for my inlaws for their 50th anniversary. My ref is a 25 year old photo that is poorly lit and faded out. I've been working on it for a few days now and have come to a point where I need to step back and take a look at the whole picture. There is still plenty to do. Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks cami

Ref photo:


Again Thanks

02-02-2007, 12:25 AM
Hi Cami,

You have a good likeness. I'm sure your inlaws will love their portrait!

There are others here who fantastic at giving portrait feedback, but I'll mention a few things that you could consider:

The man's head seems longer in the ref than in the painting. I'm not sure if that would mean that his forehead should be taller or what exactly has been shrunk a bit. Also the cheek bone and crease marks at the corner of his mouth on our left (his right) seem a bit confusing. I see them in the ref photo but I'm still confused by them in the painting. Maybe it's the skin tone or the light/shadow.

Then, if you wanted to flatter your MIL, you could consider making the woman's left shoulder a bit sleeker/slimmer and smoothing out the crease in her neck. (I've read that some ladies ask their portrait artists to make them a bit slimmer and younger ... so just putting that out there to consider.)


02-02-2007, 09:38 AM
Hi Cami, you are doing very well with the skin tones, I think. Since this is a WIP, maybe you could look at the width of your FIL's mouth. If you lay a straight edge or pencil vertically on the photo, by the edge of the mouth, you can see that it lines up with the center of the pupil (or pretty close to it). Also, the open space of his mouth seems a bit smaller based on the photo. Painting portraits is a lot like puzzle pieces to me, getting all the segments to fit together. Good luck with this and I'll be back to see your updates.

02-02-2007, 11:25 PM
Ann and EP, thanks for taking a look. Your suggestions make alot of sense and will make a difference in the final painting.

Thanks Cami

02-03-2007, 06:28 AM
Cami - you are doing a great job on this :thumbsup: :clap: - I've looked at it and can suggest a few simple changes which may help with the likeness:
FIL - watch out for making his eyes too different in size - maybe by just darkening his righter upper eyelid area and defining the left inner eye area this can be corrected easily
- nostril / bottom of nose should be wider
- lower lip should be lower (his bottom teeth correspond approx to where you've placed his bottom lip)
- right side of his face - the contour is a little narrow - alter it and you'll find his chin needs to then be widened and brought lower at the jaw line on the right side

MIL - you're doing really well - her eye placement looks spot on - using this as a reference - her nose is a little too small / short and narrow and over defined. correcting this will help with her mouth placement which in turn starts a tad too high -
Also her face is a tad narrow on the right hand side

All these adjustments are minor, but will add heaps to getting the likeness.

I've done a minor fiddle with the ref - may help - mainly to try and define the features a tad more for you -


Good luck - you are well on the way:clap: :clap: - I'll look forward to seeing how you get on!
Ps - the sides are as referred to the person (as opposed to side of the painting - hope I haven't confused you:lol: :rolleyes: )

02-04-2007, 01:08 PM
Ruth, thanks. The likeness of my mother inlaw has been driving me nuts. Your comments are dead on, and will be a major help for me. I've come to the same conclussion as you about the nose and with your insight I see the problem with the mouth.

Thanks again

02-04-2007, 01:55 PM
Here's the latest WIP. I painted the background a neutral grey for now.



Leslie Pz
02-04-2007, 02:56 PM
I find portraits to be very difficult. Knowing this I am sure your in-laws are going to be thrilled!

Keep up the good work.

02-04-2007, 06:34 PM
Cami, excellent progress - you're doing good with your mother in law -( there is excellent advice on painting teeth in Nitsa's classroom on portraits in the infromation kiosk - if you need any) Your father in law is coming on really well too - maybe even out the chin skin tones.
I like the background too.
There is an excellent tutorial in the portraiture classroom on eyes which is invaluable for seeing where to place all the delicate shadows in eyes which make them rounded - especially helpful when you can't see these subtlities in this ref. You are doing a great job on this and your inlaws are going to be thrilled!