View Full Version : Pretty in Pink - your input please

11-18-2007, 12:37 AM
Hi ! :wave: It's been many moons since I posted a painting....

I took this photo of my granddaughter Breana when she visited us 3 years ago. She was 12, and we took her to Venice Beach. She wanted to get a hair wrap (I think that's what it's called, anyway, she was having beads woven into her hair). I've been wanting to paint this ever since :) (and before she turns 30!! :rolleyes: :p

I'm almost at the finish stage (won't bore you with too many photos, and especially the ones where I thought I'd killed it)... I left out the backpacks, etc. on the right, and then I'm stuck with this open space.


What to do?? I tried this:


Should I go a little darker in the negative painting around the form?? I can already see lots of things I'd change, like the arrow pointing out on the left, so I could crop it a bit... and it still needs some tweaking. Once again, not enough planning in the drawing stage, so I've painted to the edges of the paper.

I need fresh eyes....so here I am :)

All advice, comments, crits, gratefully accepted! Oh - it's a 1/2 sheet, Arches 300# cp, done with a 1/2" flat and #2 & #8 rounds, a zillion different pigments, all artist grade, and a *new* masque pen. :D Sorry for the crappy lighting - I can take a better one tomorrow...

Thanks ! Have an inspiring day!
11 hugs,
Mary Lou

11-18-2007, 05:12 AM
This is going to be lovely. Amazingly for a painting with so many bright colours it looks a little "flat".

I think you should search out those dark areas in the photo and emphasise them.


11-18-2007, 07:28 AM
This is coming along nicely! Watching.:clap:


11-18-2007, 09:54 AM
Look at your reference photo and search out all of the shadowed areas. For instance, look at your granddaughter's face. Under her chin it is shadowed. Look at her arms. You need shaded parts to make them look rounded. Same with the legs. Look at her back, etc, etc.

Keep going! :) :thumbsup:


11-18-2007, 10:16 AM
:wave: HI! Mary Lou, This looks goo, the "arrow" is faded pointing out and hardly noticable...the area in question is another store...with the concrete leading into dark and an awning, mush easier to figure that the maniquin which will confuse....definitely go for the negative spaces whatever you decide for that area....do well Regards, Marianne

11-18-2007, 02:44 PM
Hi all!

Thank you for looking!

You're right Doug - it looks flat to me too, it needs some pizzazz!

Thank you Carl, I hope it takes on some life soon...

Patty & Marianne - I think that's always been my problem - I'm afraid of the dark(s)... I do have *some* shading there, just not enough...

I'll post an update as I progress...

Thanks again!

11-18-2007, 03:57 PM
Hey MaryLou!!! It HAS pizzaz!!! And you know this is true... what it NEEDS are your dark values!!! Without those really darkest darks, your elements will be brightly coloured, but flat...

This is really a great photo... it certainly has a story to tell and your granddaughter is going to treasure the memory...

Keep going... it's worth screwing up your courage and working through *the darks*... :)

11-19-2007, 02:27 PM
I really like this painting. Is it my imagination of do the shadows on the wall to the right outline a female figure in a form fitting dress, i.e. evening gown?


11-19-2007, 04:45 PM
I really like this painting. Is it my imagination of do the shadows on the wall to the right outline a female figure in a form fitting dress, i.e. evening gown?


Hi Kay! Thank you!

No, it's not your imagination, I lightly painted a negative shape there, trying to figure where I'm going with that space... still in the :confused: stage - do I show another shop with an awning like the actual photo, or do I just fade it out and give the suggestion of more mannequins there??? I used easily liftable pigment in that area, so taking it back to white paper will not be a problem....

Hey Char!! Nice to see you! I know, I know... I can hear Pampe in my head saying "more darks"!! LOL!! I think it's time to invest in a sheet of acetate and see how dark I can go in those places.... the bluejeans should be easy, it's just the inside of the storefront that gives me the willies - don't want to go tooo dark in there... I loved the painting of your granddaughter, and I'm going to take some hints from that (and also snagged your fleshtone chart) :D

Unfortunately, this painting may have to take a few days rest over the holiday until I can give it more thought & time... I'm so close, and really don't want to muck it up by rushing it....

Mary Lou - still afraid of the dark(s) :eek: , but going to tackle it!! :)

giddy up
11-19-2007, 04:49 PM
I agree......darks will set this off.........looking great so far though.......
love all of the blue jean variations.......and on jeans......do not be afraid to
give them a wash of ochre or sienna under the blue.........jeans are white
to begin with....then dyed a ochre color, then blue eventually.....so as they
fade you can see more of that yellow color...........slight

looking good
Greg :)

11-19-2007, 05:05 PM
Thank you Greg! :wave:

Great tip about the ochre under the jeans... I'll definitely remember that one! I tried to get different variation of blues - and it's about the only use I've found for my DS lapis lazuli...:rolleyes: As a matter of fact, I toned all the background with it so I wouldn't get lost in all those shapes... :D

I've been watching your Mammoth Menagerie - I'm still totally in awe...

giddy up
11-19-2007, 05:18 PM
I have thought about getting DS Lapis......shhhhhhh....don't tell Linda......
it looks like a great color........and yes, try that trick sometime.....I painted
quite a few jeans a while back with all of those cowboy pics I did....and
the it worked well.....especially with worn jeans, which are the THING now.....

thanks for your kind words...:).....Greg

11-20-2007, 02:21 AM
Hey girlfriend so neat to see you here!! :clap:

Wow what a neat painting..:)

Cheers JJ :heart:

11-20-2007, 03:55 AM
I have thought about getting DS Lapis......shhhhhhh....don't tell Linda......
it looks like a great color........and yes, try that trick sometime.....I painted
quite a few jeans a while back with all of those cowboy pics I did....and
the it worked well.....especially with worn jeans, which are the THING now.....

thanks for your kind words...:).....Greg

Psssst - Greg... (whispering).... it really is a great color-try it with WN caput mortuum violet - an interesting blend.... :)

-- And thank you !! ;)

ps - I won't tell if you please teach me how to do folds!! (oh yeah, and find my darks) :p

11-20-2007, 04:15 AM
Hey girlfriend so neat to see you here!! :clap:
Wow what a neat painting..:)
Cheers JJ :heart:

Hey GF !! Great to see you too !!

yeah, I was pleased with the photo - I was so interested in capturing Breana (she HATES her photo taken), that I had no idea what was in the background = I literally had to sneak in this shot!! What a nice surprise when I uploaded it from the digicam :) Now, if I can only do it justice... :confused:

11-20-2007, 08:43 AM
This is looking good--great advice already given! I definitely know how hard it can be to go darker; I'd love to find a huge piece of acetate for practicing my darks (esp. when I work larger).

Keep going...


giddy up
11-20-2007, 11:16 AM
pssst.....I have caput mortuum violet....love it....did you know it used to be made from ground up mummies.........yikes.......
your folds are looking just fine.......and if you need it darker....turn out the
light.....hehe......or......squint more...:)

Greg :)

11-20-2007, 07:28 PM
Getting in the darks, especially the shadows, is my problem too, but I agree they will help this painting pop! The colors are great.

11-22-2007, 02:57 AM
Hi all :wave:

Michelle, Violetta - thanks for the encouragement...:)

Greg :eek: mummies! ewwwwwwww!!!! it's a great color though...

Okay, I mustered up some courage to enter the dark side :D I didn't do a whole lot, but I can see this is the direction to go... I also darkened some of the jeans, so it looks as if I've got a long way to go on this, but I'm determined to take my time. The more I look at the photo (and the painting), the more shadows and darks I see... Then I'll figure out what to do with the right side :p

Still crappy lighting - I always manage to take photos at night :o


Thanks again... I'll update again this weekend...


11-22-2007, 04:08 AM
Getting better!

The right side is fine, but if you need to do something, put a faded sign there.


lyn lynch
11-22-2007, 10:28 AM
Hey! Nice to see your smiling face. What an ambitious painting! There is so much going on. Forgive me for saying, but it seems that the display of jeans is the focus for this piece, and the more darks you add to individual pieces the more prominent they become. I would prefer to see them done with less detail, blurred, part of the scenery--treat the display as one form. Focus your energy on the painting of Briana, even the lady watching the braiding has more focus than the subject. I'd like to see the image made larger, so the display elements fade off the page and Briana is the focus. Google on fashion illustrators, see if you can find images with a "gallery" behind the model. I know, I know, I couldn't do the scene at all, but I read a lot of books. hehehe. I'm definitely the minority in my thinking, but I think far too much of you to not give you my honest take.

11-22-2007, 10:34 AM
Mary Lou, It looks like your muse has returned and you've got your mojo back. Hoo-Ha!!!!!!!!

This is looking excellent and SOOOO Faalfil! :clap:

I agree with Fookie's assessment, and if it were me (no I wouldn't make some of the jeans orange (or would I?? :D ), but I may just color outside of the ref. photo a bit and break up the sea of blue by making some of them various different colors -- or putting some holes in the knees, ragging some up a bit, bleaching out some colors. In otherwords -- pull out that artistic license. ;)

P.S. Nothing saying some of the shoes couldn't be orange though! LOL!

11-23-2007, 01:41 AM
Hi Doug! Thanks - I agree... I'm not going to emphasize that side of the painting...

Fookie !! Good to see you love! I appreciate the openly honest crit... and I agree, Breana is getting lost in the painting... I could have kicked myself when I went for that neon color next to her, but then it was too late... ahhh, I can always do it again.... it's a real learning experience for me...

Deb !!! Hey woman, Thank you!! I see you're getting your mojo back too in the triad - perhaps our muses are tired of their walkabout... LOL about orange shoes - actually the mannequins are barefoot... don't need no shoes in Venice Beach :D

I'm going to finish this painting, and hopefully from the title, the mannequins will draw your eye around to finally seeing Breana. Kind of fitting I suppose, since she hates having her picture taken. I was kind of going with the idea of not too many colors on the right, and then going with the wild stuff closer to her.... I actually did a 1/4 sheet study, and only used part of the painting, just to get the feel for it... similar to this crop...


Anyway, I'll keep plugging away making changes.... and post an update soon...

Thanks again everyone... you guys are great!!

11 hugs,

11-23-2007, 04:33 AM
Still here g/f front and centre waiting for the next update..:)


11-25-2007, 12:50 AM
Hi JJ!! Thanks for being here :D

Okay, latest update - entering the *dark* side... I think I'll crop out most of the blank expanse on the right. Went really dark inside the shop, and I darkened all the shadows, especially the one behind the mannequin, pointing to Breana, in hopes that will lead your eye to her... and faded out a few of the jeans on the right...

I also lifted some of that hot color off the pants next to Breana - they still look hotter in this picture than they really are... I'm not sure if this is done yet or not.... ????


Thanks for looking!! :D

ps - I sized the photo to 600 x 431 on my pc - but the uploader keeps making it smaller - how do I fix that ?? It looks much bettter in paint shop than here....:confused:

11-25-2007, 01:00 AM
Resize it 600. wide I think it is and 500 tall and see what happens.. Looking good..


11-25-2007, 01:08 AM
600 wide is what I used... I don't get it ???

11-25-2007, 06:33 AM
The size limit is 500 wide by 600 high the uploader will usually adjust the size.

Too late now but I would have moved the left hand girl to the left so that the girl doing the hair was more visible. Sorry:o


11-25-2007, 06:39 AM
Oh Sorry ML I got it mixed up and front to back..:o


11-25-2007, 09:13 AM
I still think Breana needs some more shadowing to shape her limbs and under her chin, but that's up to you.:)


11-25-2007, 07:31 PM
Late to the party but interested to watch this develop... the 'setting' looks VERY good now ... but Briana is still lost... my eye goes to the very flourescent pink behind her and tends to stay there. Why dont you experiment on a scrap of paper and see what you might use to tone down/ darken this colour so that it is her pink top and limbs that stand out more against it ? for me she is almost the last thing you find in the painting......

I might play with photoshop ... I am leaning towards purple :D

edit.. OK so I picked up the purple from the back for the jeans and spiced up her vest a little.. VERY roughly :)


and looking Ive jsut had another thought.. I think the orange blocks bottom right are to isolated...... teh brightly coloured tops lead TO her now... but the orenge blocks take the eye away :)

ao Ive linked those through and used a few more darks for the composition....

just some ideas for you to think upon :)


and looking now I think it needs another little bit of triangular dark in the LH waist of teh pink/purple above her to make a dark shape pointing down to her head :D :D:D

11-26-2007, 01:32 PM
Hi y'all :wave:

I'm still plugging away...

Doug - well...you're right, kinda late to move her now eh? ;)

Patty, I'm trying to softly shadow her face. The actual size of her face without the hair is about the same size as a quarter... and I did add a little more shape/shadow to her arms & legs...it's just not showing much in the photo...

Jaytee!! Wow g/f!! Thank you for all the manip - that really took some time! Good ideas... and now you've got me leaning in that direction.... I did put a light layer of violet over the pants, but the problem I'm having is that the pigment is lifting!! :eek:

This is where I am as of this morning... I took out the confusing shape behind the largest mannequin and darkened the shadows a touch more... and I put a white mat around the painting to see if I can get a better contrast around the painting..

I can't tell you how much I appreciate all your help and advice...perhaps she'll be finally finished this week... :D

First post:

gheesh, I swear I have such a hard time getting the colors correct. My first post was too *hot*, this newest one is duller.... back to the camera....

okay, this one's closer, but still not right... I give up

11-27-2007, 09:52 PM
You are getting there g/f :)

11-30-2007, 02:17 PM
Hi y'all :wave:

The last installment - I'm declaring this painting finished (for now). I've darkened more shadows, taken out a few confusing shapes, done what I can with the right side, and added a light wash of violet over the mannequin's pants next to Breana.

I have to accept that this is the best that I can do with this for now. But I will try it again one day. :D

Thanks for all your guidance and encouragement - it's a much better painting than when I first posted and 'thought' it was almost complete :cat:

11 hugs!


giddy up
11-30-2007, 02:22 PM
It looks wonderful Mary Lou :) Great job......the shadows did help a lot :)

Greg :)

11-30-2007, 03:25 PM
Thanks Greg :wave: I appreciate all the help, esp. getting the courage to put more darks in there... :)

11-30-2007, 04:24 PM
Mary Lou... well done you...... my eye went straight to Breana this time because al the darker verticals you have added to the painting now make her stand out as paler and interesting angles... then it moved on to explore the supporting cast :)

Let us know her reaction :)

11-30-2007, 04:42 PM
Just stumbled across this now, so wasn't able to see the WIP, but it is stunning. Your original post was beautiful and the great suggestions you got here and the changes you made just made this zing!!. Great job and I'm sure it'll be treasured. Thanks for sharing your journey.:clap: :clap:

11-30-2007, 05:40 PM
Mary Lou: I LOVE the finished painting! All your hard work has paid off. I too look first at Breana. The pink in her shirt snagged my eye and only then did I look at the jeans, etc. Well done!

11-30-2007, 10:49 PM
11 hugs back at you. I bet it looks pretty awesome irl.. :clap:


12-01-2007, 12:20 PM
Jaytee, Darlene, Violetta, JJ :wave:

Thanks so much for your encouragement and comments, and advice, I really appreciate it. :)

This is something I've wanted to try for such a long time, and definitely going to paint again. The photo makes the right side look more opaque and darker than it really is, and as a whole, I'm pretty pleased with the outcome.

Couldn't have done it without everyone's helpful guidance :clap:

Jaytee - I've sent Breana an email of the painting, but haven't heard from her yet... I'm so glad we had her visit with us when she was 12, and grandparents were still kinda *cool* to spend time with, because now that she's 15, she's more into boys & clothes, and we're so very *uncool* now... :rolleyes: I wanted to paint this before she's 30, and I'm pretty sure I won't give it to her until she's 30... :p

Thanks again everyone, you're the best!!
11 hugs,

12-01-2007, 01:14 PM
Hi Mary Lou,

You have done very well:thumbsup: ...an intricate piece indeed...not an easy task
Sorry I got here so late...
I hope you don't mind some thoughts:o
May I recommend that you deepen the wall behind the manikins? This shoud push the wall back and bring them out. If you choose to you can add some raw umber in the jeans as well as the walls...just a light glaze...it will do good in her shadows too. Try it on some scrap watercolor paper...you may be suprised.:)

I look forward to watching when you decide to paint this again.
Keep on painting and you go girl!

12-02-2007, 10:12 AM
Hi Roger :wave:

I don't mind at all, that's why I'm here, to learn. I appreciate you taking the time to comment. This hasn't been sent to the framer yet, I'm giving it a rest for now, but I'll try those ideas on some scrap paper... Greg also suggested yellow ochre under the jeans, so those are ideas I'll definitely remember...

I really appreciate everyone's help & guidance on this... :)

11 hugs,