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RaniH
12-07-2009, 06:55 PM
Please check out this outstanding video from several portrait artists in Paris :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8debCAIzLc

robertsloan2
12-07-2009, 08:33 PM
Thanks for the link! That video is wonderful. I loved the variety of expressions and the different artists' examples.

It brought me right back to my street art days too. Back in the 1990s I was professional for a while doing exactly that, street portraits. I'd do them in sanguine or black with white on toned paper or for $10 more in pastels with full color (still sketches).

All of this was fantastic though. Every artist chosen would have been one of the "A" list group of artists in Jackson Square itself, justifiably charging more for greater skill.

I learned one thing mentioned the hard way. If you are brutally honest with your sitter's flaws, wrinkles, facial expression and things they don't like about their looks, what comes of it is a portrait that they sit back and go "You made me look so young! This is so flattering!"

Putting them in good light that's coming in from the side is a big part of how "honest" turns into "flattering."

They're used to seeing their face flattened by snapshots with flash or in the harsh direct glare of a bathroom lighting fixture that has distorted color. They know how awful their driver's license or passport photos look. The average sitters have no idea how good they look in real sunlight at a 3/4 view angle with the light coming in from above and to the side, so it comes out flattering.

So that's just one cool side effect of doing street portraits -- good lighting is free and your sitter's excited to be there getting drawn.

Phil Bates
12-08-2009, 12:04 AM
Wow, what a different attitude than when rendering a landscape, where we are moving trees, emphasizing reflections, adjusting hillsides, all to make a more pleasing image that tells the story WE want to tell. Maybe the honesty in that case is being honest with ourselves rather than honest with what's in front of us.

P

RaniH
12-09-2009, 12:15 PM
Thank you for the insightful comments