View Full Version : Portait of Mom

05-22-2007, 02:02 PM

I don't know what to think of this but it was an interesting experiment. I just used 4 colors and white in different mixtures, so the pallete is subdued except for the highlighted side of the face. She is supposed to be sitting with the tapestry behind. Maybe it's too loose? I hope she looks alive! I welcome feedback.
11 x 6.8 in gouache

Portrait of Mom


05-22-2007, 03:03 PM
... I hope she looks alive! I welcome feedback.
Actually, my first thought was "Oh, is she dead?" Closed eyes, bare shoulders, missing expression...
Apart from that I think it is a good pastel. Maybe you could add some reddish tones to her cheeks, would let her look more "alive".


05-23-2007, 02:57 PM
I think this is very well done. The tapestry is definitely behind (under?) her. I like how you treated her hair. Because there is no movement, the eyes are closed, and we cannot view the rest of her body, it's hard to tell if she is sleeping or passed away. It may just be the fact that it's a portrait with the eyes closed--don't know what else you could try.

05-23-2007, 09:44 PM
I certainly didn't want her to look dead, Salad! My mom has such pale skin, a rosy cheek just wouldn't look like her. The portraiture forum suggested toning down the darkest dark shadow. Maybe smoothing her face out will help.
Thanks for your feedback Eileen. Maybe this is a "live and learn" portrait.

05-23-2007, 09:53 PM
Well done! Looks like she is sleeping to me.

05-24-2007, 08:28 AM

I like this portrait. Great composition. I agree with warming her up to help liven it up... but just a bit so that it doesn't get too "rosy." I know you want to be true to your subject.

My only comment is that she looks sort of mad! I know people who scowl in their sleep, but it may help this look more peaceful if the eyebrows weren't pointing down and there wasn't as much of a vertical crease in the forehead. But again, being true to your subject, you might not want to change those things.

Overall, it's a good piece. I love how you did the wrinkles in the skin and the background. Great job!


Old Tex
05-25-2007, 12:25 AM
Seleen, I think you've done a really nice job here. I would agree with warming her up just a tad. You want a portrait to be a complimentary portrayal, and it doesn't always have to be totally true. If you have a good likeness, you're not going to hurt it. Good job!

maggie latham
05-26-2007, 08:55 PM

Hello Selene

I really like it. I like the composition and placement to one side, and the juxtaposition of the pattern against the pale skin, and the fact that you have used the same colors in the skin tone and lips as in the background. The colors remind me of Lucian Freudís (sp) figurative work. I have seen a lot of work of his that is very pale with neutral tones, in very cool tones.
It scares me to think about painting portraitsÖIím stuck in seascapes and atmosphere at the moment. How did you hear about the Glass House Gallery in Penzance? I had a good look at their website, and they have some very interesting work by accomplished artists.
Love to see more of your gouache/watercolor work when you post it.


05-26-2007, 08:57 PM
Thanks Ralph and Meg for your input. I warmed up the shadow side of her face and softened her expression. I think it is an improvement.


Old Tex
05-30-2007, 09:19 AM
Boy, I've really gotten behind. I apologize for the time delay, Seleen. This is, to my eye, a tremendous improvement. You didn't sacrifice your Mom's naturally pale skin, but gave her some life. Now she just looks like she's just dozed off in her favorite chair. Good job!

05-30-2007, 09:54 AM
I agree, those warmer shadows really help! They're subtle enough to give her more life without taking away the pale skin quality. Great improvement!

Alachua Artist
05-30-2007, 05:31 PM
yes, your touch-ups have really improved the overall tone of the painting. Nicely done.

05-30-2007, 09:10 PM
This is so cool to get such supportive and immediate feedback! It's just what I need after working alone the last year and a half. I can't get to art classes because of my disability, so the internet is my tool to connect. thanks Wendy, Meg and Ralph for looking and responding.

I somehow missed your post last time I looked. Thanks for your comments. Yes, Lucian Freud is a painter I've looked at and should study more. I came across the Glass House Gallery mentioned here at WetCanvas and saved it because it was such an interesting way to use gouache. I did some test patches using the ideas you told me about layers of watercolor with white gouache and now I'm trying that as a background for a portrait. I'll post it when it's "done."


06-04-2007, 10:40 AM
I like the adjustments you've made. Not too much--actually, just right. Well done!

06-05-2007, 03:50 AM
Hi Selene,

I've been watching this through your changes, all of which worked well. This is a great portrait with a wonderfully different point of view (as was your self-portrait). Thank you for showing us!


06-06-2007, 11:32 PM
I love the improvement u made to ur mom's portrait! Makes the first posted picture look like a WIP :p

06-09-2007, 12:37 PM
Now she is just taking a nap - good idea when posing. You do have good control of the colors. Hope she likes it.