View Full Version : Woman in brown

03-31-2008, 02:01 PM

Title: Woman in brown
Year Created: 2008
Medium: Oil Pastel
Surface: Paper
Dimension: 12 x 16
Allow digital alterations?: Yes!

This is a portrait I did from a photo I found on the net. It is my first oil pastel portrait. Tricky medium when it comes to blending darks.

How does it compare to the original? How is the likeness? What are your thoughts on the transition into shadow on her left side? Anything else you may want to comment on. Should I darken up the background?

03-31-2008, 03:55 PM
Im not too well versed for portraits, but Helen Van Wyk once said a background can make or break a portrait. That scary advice aside what she suggested was warm grays are the safest they can be anything from light tan, eggshell, or beige (to name a few), to deep tones like ivory black mixed with white, burnt umber, or Sienna etc. as long as the grayed colors are warm. Combining the warms in light and dark areas, to correspond to the light source, can add atmosphere. Your beautiful portrait suggests great feeling and mood.

03-31-2008, 05:01 PM
diquattrom, this is sooooo nice! I am taken by the solidity of the figure and how sure your shaping of facial features and recording the flow of light directly on to the face. Very nicely done. The figure is so good, the background does not do it justice. pardon my saying so but it has a very amaturish feel, flat and patterned. Use that flow of light you have so beautifully rendered on the face, on the background. Take the dark of her robe that is in shadow and place it on the left hand side where the light flows into the painting. This allows her face to be emphasized as lit by the light against the dark background. Then take the light on her face and place it on the right background. After all the light would naturally fall there, not on the left side. This allows the shadowed side to stand out against the light and logically provides the reflected illumination to give some detail to her shadowed back side. Excellent work!


03-31-2008, 08:56 PM
You have a lovely portrait of this beautiful woman. I can see where changing the background really takes it up a few notches. Wow, good work.......Lenore

03-31-2008, 11:38 PM
Okay per suggestions I warmed up the background. How does that work?

04-01-2008, 01:33 AM
it works beautifully, what an improvement! Her beauty is much enhanced. The rule still applies though as to how the light falls:


04-01-2008, 11:36 AM
I agree. The new background looks MUCH better, but a little variation would be a further improvement. I love this painting. Great work.

04-01-2008, 06:32 PM
The new background transforms it. It's amazing for your first pastel - wonderful strong contrast of light on her face.