View Full Version : Blue Eyes (X-post Portraits)

07-03-2009, 01:25 PM
This is a friend of my daughter - a real stunner. I'm failry happy with the likeness but am still looking for that "punch" I see in other pastel portraits. The background has a question mark over it too. I haven't finished the body/clothes and the teeth need revisiting. CC always welcome.


Thank you for looking.


07-03-2009, 01:29 PM
hi jools, a good tip for what you call "punch" is to use temperatures against each other..warm vs. cool. If I have predominantly warm shadows I have cool areas in the light. this may help.
nice work here!

07-03-2009, 01:46 PM
In addition to Alicia's comment about warm/cool contrast, there is the contrast in values which often gives more punch. This is a great portrait, by the way, and I wouldn't change anything. But if you are looking for more punch, for future portraits you might look for lighting with more contrast between the light areas and the shadows. This is almost a backlit portrait and does have the lighting of a hazy summer day. I would consider this type of back-lighting to be the most difficult to paint - and you have done an excellent job, but all the values are subtle.

In my opinion, "punch" is great if you are looking to create a great first impression, but sometimes subtlety is better for a great lasting impression.

This is a great portrait!


Kathryn Wilson
07-03-2009, 03:24 PM
I agree - she is a stunner! And your portrait is delicately showing us what a bright, sunny personality she has.

Alicia and Don have given you good suggestions for a future portrait, but I wouldn't touch this one. Lovely.

Selahs art
07-03-2009, 03:27 PM

Well done


07-03-2009, 03:53 PM
Jools, it is very very lovely! You've caught her well, I dare say even if I've not seen a ref photo, she just looks so very right. I'm with Alicia on colour temperature. You've worked on an 'ordinary' paper, right? (Not a textured sanded one.) And blended quite a lot. That method gives this very delicate look, which really suits such a young girl.

As Don is too shy, allow me to recommend his excellent portrait class in Pastel Talk. Not that you need to learn portraits, you're obviously very good at them, but there are some really good stuff in the class, and as you express a desire for something more, I mention this. I've done a few portraits in my day, but his class made me take giant leaps, especially in the 'punch'-department. Here is a link to the first lesson (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=532971). Don teaches a trick or two that are extremely useful.


07-03-2009, 04:49 PM
Thank you all so much for your comments and for your suggestions.

Alicia, thank you for the tip about warm v cool colours. I don't think I have heard that one before. My art education stopped at 18 and although I have a basic feel for colour and whether they are warm or not, I know my knowledge isn't great on this. For example, is lilac cool or warm? It made me think that I need to understand the colour wheel more and, to be honest, when I have seen colour wheels in magazines etc in the past, I haven't been able to see the point in them.

Thank you Don - I know I'm not brave enough with my values yet. I keep revisiting areas, trying to bring what contrast there is out, but I shy away from going the whole hog.

Thank you Kathryn & Retha - much apreciated.

Charlie, you have made me think that perhaps a different paper would make me work in a different way. I might dig some sandpaper out and see what happens then. The link to Don's workshop is a real gem. I have had a quick look (too late at night for me to concentrate now!) and I can see something about the colour wheel there - fantastic.

Thanks you all again.


07-03-2009, 08:14 PM
A beautiful portrait of a lovely young lady.

07-03-2009, 08:38 PM
Wonderful. I agree with the increasing of value contrast, but nothing wrong with what is here, work on that for the next one.

Lynne Vokatis
07-04-2009, 01:31 PM
beautifull,soft and gentle portrait.lynne

07-04-2009, 01:56 PM
Very subtle and lifelike. It has a "retro" feel from the fifties that I really like!

07-05-2009, 10:32 AM
joolee-- I keep the whole temperature issue very simple.
It is really relative.
i have alot of warms in the shadow compared to the cools in the lights
my cools are usually greens blues yellow ochre and buff colors//
so if you put some reds (like brick reds) in the shadows and other colors that have reds in them ...they are warmer..
to keep an area cooler think of blues. purples greens..and warmer think of yellow and reds and oranges..
but like I said ..it really temperature is relative to the color your comparing it to.

07-05-2009, 12:11 PM
Jools, I'm not sure it's something to worry about right now. This piece is stunning and eventually you will get there. I see you painting a lot which is excellent practice. But... are you ever working with a live model? Sometimes having a person in front of you with very strong light is just enough to push you into the next level.

The reason I don't feel you need to change anything in this particular painting is that the values and colors all work, relative to each other.

If you push something very dark or warm or cool, perhaps you'll then have to work against those relative to your initial choices and see what emerges.

You have some fabulous advice here in the other commenters... just keep going.... Barb :)

07-05-2009, 03:40 PM
Thank you Julia, Kenny, Lynee & Jill. yes, you are right, she does have a retro feel about her. I wonder if its because of the pigtails or the green in the backgound.

Alicia, thank you for explaining about the colours. I shall have a practice (hopefully with some new Schmincke pastels, which I have ordered :music: :music: ).

Thank you, Barb. I'm sure you are right about working with a live model. I have only had a few minutes trying to paint a couple of my fellow art club members, but that's all. It wasn't any where near enough time, but I enjoyed it and feel more of this would push me forward. So, I am looking into what life classes are available from September.

Thank you all again.


07-06-2009, 05:31 AM
This is a beautiful soft portrait, and like the others it would only be the contrast that would need to be changed to give it that punch you are looking for. But do that with the next one - this is lovely.

07-06-2009, 03:51 PM
Thank you, Elaine - much appreciated.