View Full Version : Maria - Portrait

12-28-2008, 04:38 PM


Title: Maria - Portrait
Year Created:
Medium: Acrylic
Surface: Canvas
Dimension: 18 x 11
Allow digital alterations?: Yes!

my first attempt at a portrait ...

Im just really interested in the panels thoughts, on likeness, brushwork, tone etc

12-28-2008, 06:17 PM
wow! First portrait? This is excellent for a first go! You have placed her features really well! And this is not an easy pose with the open smile and 'dreaded' teeth!

I think there are some things that might help you take this to the next level.

If you look at the eyes, you will see you have got the scale right, the placement correct, but the shape of the whites and irises, less so. Look again at the whites and how they relate in shape to the rest of the eye. Notice, too, the upper lid casts a bit of shadow on the eye and is straighter across than what you've drawn. Tiny tweaks that will help with the eyes!

The nose is really tough to draw in this pose and you have done it very well!

The teeth are a bit dark and a little too textured. If you think of them as a softly dented mass of whitish tone that turns in at the corners of the mouth to shadow, you will avoid having them look like tic tacs, although these don't look like this here. But they do look flat. If you look, you will see the side teeth appear darker than the front ones. And the shadows between teeth are so fuzzy and soft, they must not appear to be gaps. Look for the dark along the bottom lip where it meets the teeth, and also the dark inside the mouth. This will define the teeth shapes too.

The lower cheek on our left might be a tad flat?

I think the actual placement and drawing of this is good. The shading on the skin is a little too harshly dark. If you look at the way the highlights are shaped, then you will be able to place them to indicate the underlying planes of the face. I think the shapes of the balls of the cheeks are especially off here.

I did an extreme contrast on the reference to perhaps help you see the shapes of the highlights. While I wouldn't make them this extreme, the shapes are important and their relative shapes and values to surrounding shapes will give you the right feeling of form.

I hope these suggestions help!

12-29-2008, 09:48 PM
As usual Lynnís comments are spot on. Let me add that I too am impressed with your first portrait! I especially like the composition on this oneóthe negative and positive spaces youíve created with the subject and the background. Something that really helped me as I was learning to paint in general was to train myself to use bigger brushes. It was very uncomfortable at first but really forced me to focus on the big shapes to build form, and big brushed are great for softening edges too.

12-30-2008, 04:09 AM
Well I just wanna hate you if that's your first! grrrrr :lol: :lol:

Lynn as ever spot on and Tali's point about the brush size.

My tuppence is for a dramatic element since your subject has lovely shiny blonde hair, could you bring down the value of the background to better 'pop' the image?

Are you going to leave this as is or put a colour wash or sumfin? I will sit back and wait for installment two - even tho I am still annoyed you can do this with your FIRST portrait.. :)

12-30-2008, 05:08 AM
Brooksie, first of all, this is beautiful for your first portrait! Keep on doing portraits.

What I see in the painting (to optimize) is the position of her left eye (right side). Her right eye seems perfect, the left is not in the perfect position and angle. Compare with the reference.

01-01-2009, 07:00 PM
Hey .. Many thanks for all your input :)

Yes it is genuinely the first time i've tried to paint a portrait, most of my other work tends to be abstract .. its only the 5th picture i've painted in my life. My comfort zone is graphite pencil drawing, where i can go into great detail such as this WIP picture of my son : -


Moving to paint has been a huge adjustment ! .. simply because i can't get the detail im used to .. if you know what i mean !!

All your comments are spot on, in particular one of the eyes is off, so i will return to the painting and attempt to correct.

Once again, thank you so much for your input


01-01-2009, 07:04 PM
Are you going to leave this as is or put a colour wash or sumfin? I will sit back and wait for installment two - even tho I am still annoyed you can do this with your FIRST portrait.. :)

Hey greensyster ... im going to leave it b&w .. main reason for this is im colourblind so colour is way scarey !!! I am learning to experiment with colour but i really don't feel confident enough to attempt skin tones.