View Full Version : Portrait on the River -- Help Requested
04-25-2008, 10:30 AM
This is a x-post from the Open Critique forum. I got some good comments on the first version and tried to incorporate them in the second version. This is still a WIP. As you can see, I've just begun to work on the background and subjects' clothing.
What do you think? Is the second one an improvement over the first? For some reason, the photos keep making the man's face a touch longer than it is on the drawing.
What do you think about the contrast on the faces? The colors in the background? The temperature of the colors? Subjects' resemblance to the reference photo? I'm not attempting a photorealistic rendering. I'd like, though, for the subjects to be easily recognizable and their emotions apparent. Any thoughts would be GREATLY appreciated. Rip the piece to shreds if you'd like.
04-25-2008, 01:04 PM
OK, I am not a portrait artist at all but some things jump out at me. The Dad's teeth do not fill his mouth in the photo nor do the whites of his eyes really show up in the photo. I see his nose in the photo is almost as wide as his mouth. The Mom is not as dark as she is being painted and her teeth are also less in the photo, her sunglasses off in the painting right now. The little boy is coming along well, his likeness is the better of the three so far.
I hope this is helpful and as I would be struggling myself if I were attempting this, I wish you all the best with the painting. Judy
04-25-2008, 01:30 PM
Hi, Looks like you have the woman & boy to a pretty good likeness. The thing on the guy that is most obvious to me is his eyes. You have them much bigger in your painting, too wide open & needs those shadows...Also his face is longer in your painting, maybe bring the collar of his shirt up & the hair not so high would help some without having to re-do him entirely... Keep going. This is a big challenge with 3 figures.. I will be checking in for finish.. have fun!!
04-25-2008, 07:12 PM
This is quite an undertaking!! I commend you on your bravery!!
There are lots of things to consider in this piece...I think the main thing is to keep in mind that the family is the center of interest...I am a big believer in backgrounds as just areas of suggestion and a support for the main characters...I would soften the background ..gray it down and keep the viewer focused on the people...also remember color temperature in light as opposed to shadow....if you are to have a cool light area, a warm shadow can be used...or if you choose vicea versa....as long as you have opposites
this will help you to give the feeling of being outside....I hope i am making sense!!
Keep going your doing a great job !! and once again I commend You!!
04-25-2008, 07:13 PM
You took on alot to do 3 people and it's looking good. .... When you do the things alrady recommended, it'll make a big difference. .... I'll add my 2 cents. The little boy's cheek, on 'our' left, is wider than the reference. Making that more narrow will be a closer likeness. .... Great job for a big challenge! :)
04-26-2008, 10:57 AM
Taking into account several of your comments, I've made changes to the drawing. What do you think? There's still a long way to go. But, in particular, what do you think of the proportions of the father's face and the relationship of the background to the figures? I've tried to dull the background while preserving its appearance as a rock wall.
Again, rip in.
04-26-2008, 01:10 PM
Bongo! great! the back ground looks more like supporting shapes and does not distract from you cast of characters...the viewer does not need everything spelled out for them..great job!
04-26-2008, 01:28 PM
HI Bongo!~ That bg is much better.. you did a great job implying rocks with nice painterly strokes! ALso the guy is coming along much better.. the mouth is much improved & the likeness is there. Shave a little more off top of hair on his left side & widen his nose a little more.... good work!!
04-27-2008, 10:22 AM
All: Thank you so much for your great comments and encouragement. Since the last version of the drawing, I'm developed the drawing in several ways. Among other things, I've added highlights to the water; developed details in the shirts; pulled in the boy's right cheek and flattened the man's hair.
I tried to broaden the man's nose, but that made him look ugly (probably a flaw with the subject not the drawing)!
What do you think? Do the figures still resemble those in the photograph? Most importantly, do you feel like the the drawing captures a sunny day or does it feel like nightime, the figures lit up by a flash?
04-27-2008, 12:51 PM
This is a difficult subject, and you're tackling it boldly, great!
Good you toned down the bg, as that cliff is way too fascinating with those two colours of such high value-contrast.
Honestly, the figures do resemble those on the photo, but are not really likenesses. What size is the painting? The smaller it is, the more difficult it is to catch the likeness. Personally, I don't like to paint a face that is smaller than my hand (from heel to fintertip), as it is so very hard to catch the likeness otherwise. (Hard enough when big enough...)
You got the modelling, or actually the light, on the man best of the three. He feels most 3D. The kind of light that is falling on him is good to work with -- clear lights, clear shadows. The kid is the most difficult, as he has a smooth face, all in shadow.
Here's a trick I learned from Chris Sapier (great book): If the light is warm (as in your ref), use warm colour in the light, and cool colours for the shadows. In the shadows, or for a face all in shadow, use a cooler and a warmer version of similar colours like this: a cooler colour for all the planes in a face that face upwards (are lit by blue sky), and the slightly warmer cool colour for the planes that face downwards. That will build form.
While your painting definitely does not looke like a flash-photo during night, you could 'up' the light a notch. As you lit the light on the man's shirt with a few touches of yellows, you could lit the face with paler versions of yellows, pinks, peaches. And you could cool and shape the shadow parts of the faces by lightly scumbling (and I mean *lightly*) for example a bluish purple for the up-planes, and a reddish purple for the down-planes. (Or two blues, or two greens. If you want to try this, test it on a scrap of paper first.)
Some of the things you did real well is the man's shirt -- it has volume and light, and is free and painterly. Generally, the clothes of them all are simplified and doesn't steal attention from faces -- good! The reflections in the woman's glasses are great, better than in the photo. And best of all, you've painted a happy loving family having a great time, and really caught the holiday sense.
04-27-2008, 01:43 PM
Well, looks like charlie covered it.. great crit... I learned something too!
Bongo,... way to stay with it with advice above.... Great work on the shirt! I would put grey strokes over that red on rocks (maybe you just havn't finish that area yet) Shape of guys head is much better!
04-27-2008, 01:46 PM
Well, looks like charlie covered it.. great crit... I learned something too!
Bongo,. stay with it with advice above.... Great work on the shirt! I would put grey strokes over that red on rocks (maybe you just havn't finish that area yet) Shape of guys head is much better!
04-28-2008, 08:37 AM
I think your painting tells a good story. I particularly like the contrast in the expression between the adults and the child. You have captured the child's expression in his eyes very well. I think that this would be further accented if his mouth said the same thing as his eyes. Right now his mouth is neutral with corners of his mouth turned up somewhat. If you look carefully at the reference, I think you'll see that the corners actually turn down somewhat which takes out some of the fullness of his top lip. Although you might say that this is a painting of a great family outing, the message for me is the contrast in expressions. Changing the child's mouth a little would really send that message home....
Bravo for tackling a really complex reference...I always seem to pick this kind of reference to paint as well. It makes for a steep learning curve but I find it worthwhile in the end...
04-29-2008, 01:12 PM
congratulations on your perseverance and willingness to develop your skills. This is coming along very well and it is surely a tough one to tackle. You've gotten excellent guidance above from folk who do portraits. The one thing I notice is the man's mouth. compared to the phot the opening is more oval. I would like to see the lower lip on our left angled a bit so the mouth has more appearance of receding at the corners. portraits are such challenges, but so rewarding and you are off to a great start.
04-29-2008, 02:31 PM
Charlie hit the nail on the head as far as advice goes...to capture the sense of light outside, i personally choose predominantly warm areas where the sun hits and predominantly cool where the shadows are..also remember as the shadow comes towards its core..(where the shadow comes to meet the light)
it will start to get warmer....this will help in the transition..
Otherwise this is coming along quite well!!!
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