View Full Version : Help with Fred

01-11-2008, 02:29 PM
I decided to "gird my loins" and try a wc portrait of someone I actually know. I've done a couple of the portraits in the challenge, but it didn't really matter that much with them because chances are I will never meet any of them...It's different when you know the person and they will see themselves reflected in your work. (At least for me). This is my husband from a photo taken two summers ago. We were on the back patio so the light was diffused, but bright. Please be very honest with the C&C. I want to get better and covet your experience. I don't how to do the eyes, I'm ok with the overall progress, but see many things that could be improved, just don't quite know how yet. I've attached the reference photo and several looks at the painting.



http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/11-Jan-2008/123358-fredwc2.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/11-Jan-2008/123358-fredwc3.jpg

thanks for taking the time to help, you are much appreciated, or in West Texas terminology "pershiatecha":)

01-11-2008, 06:06 PM
you're on the right track, but go deeper. what color is the inside of his mouth behind his teeth? what is the color right below the rim of his hat? I am echoing others on here who have said these same things to me. Find your blacks, then you have your full range. Also, find the lightest spots on the face too. I can see the side of his lip (on his left) you've already gone too dark. Lighten it up, you can do it two ways; one, just wet the paper and dab it, or use a brush to gently rub color off.

have fun, keep going!

01-11-2008, 06:33 PM
Hi Linda,
What a great reference photo of your husband. He has a wonderful smile.

You've got a good likeness in the drawing. I'm not a portraitist so can't give you specific help but if you check out this link (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=267742) it will take you to our Monthly Class threads where there were three different ones on doing portraits. You might get some good help there about skin tones and other things.

I've moved your thread to the Studio for you. This is where we put works in progress (WIPs) and also where we ask for help from the other artists on something we are working on. :D


01-11-2008, 07:44 PM
Hi Linda... You have definitely captured your husband's likeness... I'm worried about your palette, though...

Did you work up a skin tones chart before beginning this project? I think that you also need to be aware of your values...

Here's a sample of a chart that I do before every portrait...


In order to check your progress with your values, you need to greyscale your reference image... then, snap progress pics of your painting and greyscale them...

01-11-2008, 10:05 PM
Thank you, Sylvia for the studio move, I learn something here every day.

Char, I'm overwhelmed by the chart. Do you work up the chart by looking and matching the values to the reference photo? I'm going to the portrait link that Sylvia has up there to get more info. Thanks, ladies.

01-11-2008, 10:06 PM
Mimi, I can only hope that you're not getting tired of seeing me post things in the wrong place, thanks for hanging in there with me!

01-11-2008, 11:05 PM
heck no, i'm happy you're here! I'm learning right along with you and sometimes I post in the wrong places too!!!
I just finished my Janitor today and can't wait to post him!

01-12-2008, 06:11 AM
Youve made a great start...... the drawing looks pretty good to me...... and I can see from the close up of the nose you are laying down areas of colour rather than trying to get the whole thing in one go .... which is the same way I like to build portraits ..... studying the planes of the face in terms of their comparative value as well as colour.....

On the 'room for improvement ' side, there's something that strikes me straight away......

....examine where the darks are in your photo very carefully and compare them with your painting.......

..... if you do this you will notice a number of places where I believe you are painting what you KNOW is there rather than what you can see is there.... :lol:

look at the teeth....you can only really see the front four in the photo... but you have drawn them all in ;)

look at the eyes.... you cannot distinguish so clearly between pupils, irises and whites.. as they are all scrunched up in teh sun and in heavy shadow from the lids... at the moment you appear to have two HUGE pupils, no iris but contrasting' whites ;)

look at the spectacles... you have left all the frames white... but in teh photo there are only 3 or four spots where they look white and lighter than his face........ so you could have continued you face washes down right over them to help them integrate into the final painting so they dont look 'Stuck on' deepening the colour where they look darker than his skin....

I have learnt that it helps me to spend a LONG time looking at the photo and thinking about it in terms of value, planes and the detail around the mouth teeth and eyes before I start painting.......when I do portraits I find it is these that I need to tweak constantly to get a likeness.

I also ( a tip from Aquarelle) look for the Greens in the face... and the blues and yellows... at first you may not see them... but if you tweak the colours up in Photoshop or similar they may apear :)

Char and I work very differently..... I never do charts...( though I might just do a quick basic hue check on three main colours..... but 'correct' as I go with glazes of a different colour .. often dropping wet into wet and blending and softening edges....

.. but how you as an individual gt to the rseult you want is something you will discover in your own way.....

but the things I have mentioned are all to do with careful observation of what you can ACTUALLY see compared with what you KNOW is there.....once that is right you can then use artistic license :D

01-12-2008, 03:03 PM
I think you've gotten some comments that will take you even farther - great drawing!!! - don't fear the darks!!

01-13-2008, 02:52 PM
You really have a good likeness. This could be a great painting since it's such a great smile. I won't make suggestions because I have trouble painting actual faces of people I know too... I'd like to see how you finish.

lyn lynch
01-13-2008, 04:06 PM
Excellent advice from Jaytee. I work by building layers too, and I use green, purple, whatever I see in the face. I had the same comment, too. You have drawn things in that are not in the reference--if you can't see it, don't put it in. The details are all in the shadows so that's why you need correct values--use any colors as long as the values are correct. I never got into the habit of a chart either, just go back the planes of the face structure.

01-13-2008, 04:51 PM
Wow, you've been given some EXCELLENT advice from some very talented "portrait" artists. Just keep on plugging away at this as you have a very good start. Keep us updated as to how this progresses.

01-13-2008, 06:27 PM
It might help to paint this from a black and white reference photo to get the values accurate. Also, it seems you are painting the skin peach colored because we think of skin that way. If you look, though, his skin tone is more red with purple shadows. Also look for places where light is reflected..tip of the nose, left temple, left cheekbone and leave these lighter. For skin, I usually start with a wash of new gamboge over the entire face, then immediately drop in quinacridone rose, permanent rose, or quinacridone red. I mix the red and yellow on the paper instead of on the palette. This makes the skin tone look more alive. If you do this, I would practice this on scrap paper before trying it on the painting.The shadows are made with purple made from ultramarine and quinacridone rose. Check the color of the teeth, too. Teeth are not pure white, often more yellow or gray. A great reference for me is a portrait painting video by Suzanna Winton...It tells these steps in detail. It made a huge difference in how I paint. I also like a book by Jan Kunz that explains portrait painting and skin tones very well. You're off to a good start...great detail in the drawing. Good luck!