View Full Version : A face

WC Gipsy
01-17-2008, 05:01 PM
I came home last night, and intended to soak in a hot luxurious bubble bath for a while, so I didnít have much time between arriving home and dinner, but I wanted to try something. So I did this face. It was done without a model, just trying to place the right complement of things in approximately the right places. Itís far from perfect, but itís not a complete disaster either!

Iím happy with the texture in the shirt. Iím also happy with the skin tone, particularly the first wash. Iím not so happy with the collar of the shirt which leaves to be desired. The eyes are a bit ghoulish. The neck is too narrow, giving the impression of a ďfatterĒ head. Ears? What ears? I was too impatient to let the hair dry enough to really add to it and increase the darkness, which I think would improve the image (I hesitate to call it a painting, too pompous a name for what it really is!). I might do that tonight.

Itís very loosely based on me!

What could be done to improve this?

P.S. Having to do an attachment because photo upload doesn't seem to work from behind the firewall at work!

01-17-2008, 05:30 PM

I congratulate you on rising to the challenge of drawing and painting a face. I didn't touch faces for about 2 years after I began painting. And, lots of artists, avoid painting people and faces in their pictures.

There are many things that you can feel good about when you look at this work.

Your subject's skin tone is nice and warm, and I like the way you attempted to give the head contour and shape by adding shaded tones. And I really like your painting of the neck. You also did well, in highlighting your subjects hair.

If i may add this - strive to make each painted stroke or area have definition and purpose.. You lost the shadow along the right side of your subject.

Speaking personally, I took a few classes which were dedicated to painting heads by defining zones. They really helped me. Drawing a great head is half the battle.

Best of luck in your endeavour. Keep this picture as a reference and as you develop this will provide an important benchmark for you to see your progress.

WC Gipsy
01-17-2008, 05:43 PM
Thanks Baggy. the shadow on the right was most definitely lost, trying to be clever and do some kind of an effect, which didn't work out. Again, impatience in letting the paper dry enough (I just can't wait to be patient!).

I'll definitely keep this as a reference, along with just about everything else I do. It's the main reason I've started my watercolour/drawing blog (link in signature), actually.

As for classes... There's few of those in my wee city. There is one introduction to watercolour class that starts next July! Ah well, practice makes perfect, and the crowd here give good feedback :)


01-18-2008, 07:16 AM
Hi Nic,
You are doing good just exploring subjects and using your paints to see what works and what doesn't work.

For just painting out of your imagination, you made a pretty good job of the face. I'm not a portrait painter so can't give you any tips, but if you click on the Learning Demos link in my signature line, scroll down to the Portraits and People section, there are several threads there that might interest you including one called Drawing the Face from the Inside Out.

Learning to be patient when working with watercolors is something we all go through. It is just so tempting to add more paint in an area that isn't dry yet.

One way to overcome this is to work totally wet into wet, which means quickly putting additional paint on while the original paint is still at the same level of moisture as what you will be adding. One of my instructors does this all the time with her demos.

Another way to do it is to work in sections, while one area is drying, you can be painting in another section. While that dries, you go back to the first area which should be dry by then.


01-18-2008, 09:13 AM
Nic - What a fun painting.:thumbsup: As Baggy said there is lots good about it and Sylvia is correct in you are going about everything the right way. The fastest way to learn is to have fun painting. Don't ever lose that joy.

Two tips that might help your portrait. The whites of our eyes aren't actually white. If you add a little very pale flesh colour to the eyes it will make them less goulish and if you add a little blue in the corners of the eyes it will give them some shape. Eyes after all aren't flat. Also if you add some cool colour (i.e. blue) to the shadows on the side of the head and under the chin and eyebrows it will push those areas back and give some more shape to the head. Warm colours tend to bring surfaces forward and cool colours push them back. Have fun.

01-18-2008, 11:07 AM
Good for you stretching and experimenting! This is not bad and you've found qualities that you actually like.....it's a start. Keep painting, as that is THE MOST important thing......it's true what they say "practice makes perfect." Loosten some of your hard edges with water and that will help too! Keep up the good work.

WC Gipsy
01-18-2008, 03:26 PM
Thanks Sylvia, John and Darla :)