View Full Version : Portraiture Challenge -- June 2010

06-01-2010, 08:47 AM
I will provide photos for the Portrait Challenge, Wednesday, June 2, for everyone :-)

Kevin, Lauren or Dana, if you guys had something already set, feel free, and I'll use mine in July.


Jocelyn and everyone ! - Ken T has posted for June - see below some great heads for study. Posts are welcome in any media - from graphite to charcoal to ink to oil to pastel and everything in between. We welcome digital paintings as well as long as they are not "paint-overs" and are original works based on the references. Thank you everyone for participating in the portrait challenges!:wave::thumbsup:

06-01-2010, 11:59 AM
Here are four of my portrait references for the June 2010 Portraiture Challenge:


A young man:



06-01-2010, 12:15 PM
Ken these are wonderful!! Thank you for posting and leading the Portrait Challenge for June!!! -Kevin

06-01-2010, 02:48 PM
I'm glad you like them! I look forward to all the exciting growth and art that will come from them. Happy to be of help!

Lauren F-M
06-01-2010, 06:15 PM
Great references, Ken! :thumbsup: Thanks! :clap:
June is off to a great start! I'm downloading all of these and plan to get something done during June.... really! :wink2:

06-01-2010, 07:58 PM
Sorry, I forgot my good camera at work, but you get the idea.

06-01-2010, 11:15 PM
Nice sketch, Jeff! It has all the right things and looks good now- are you going to continue with it?

Lauren F-M
06-01-2010, 11:24 PM
I agree with Ken -- great start, Jeff! :thumbsup:
Good shapes, shadows and structure. Looking forward to seeing this progress. :clap:

06-01-2010, 11:30 PM
Thanks guys. It's already advanced a lot since that pic, but I'll wait till I get my good camera back from the office before posting more.

06-02-2010, 12:21 AM
Well..... I 'm showing this with hesitation because I think it came out awful. She looks strung out. :eek: :lol:

I think pastels are the hardest medium ever! I love the way they look, but clearly I need a lot more practice. Or help. Or should I just stick to oil paint? :D

I used my pan pastels. Maybe I should try using them with the sticks?


lovin art
06-02-2010, 01:44 AM
Hey oil chica,:heart: you did Great Jess, the skintones are looking good, your right its not as easy as it looks hey...try the sticks I Love them....well done for your first try..:thumbsup: :D

Nice Sketch, Jeff....lovely handling so far...:thumbsup:

06-02-2010, 01:59 AM
Great references!

06-02-2010, 02:09 AM
Thanks guys. It's already advanced a lot since that pic, but I'll wait till I get my good camera back from the office before posting more.

:wave:That's a very classy drawing, whether you have the right camera or not!:thumbsup:

06-02-2010, 02:24 AM
Jessica:) , that's the same trouble I have with pan pastels on textured papers or surfaces. (Maybe that velvet paper?) It's a challenge, all right!:eek: I just find it hard to draw with them; those little padded sticks don't give you the control you're used to with a brush, pencil or pastel stick. But I agree with Sandra that your skin tones and colors look good.:thumbsup: And just think, you have a whole month! I'm going to try Erin in oil, why don't you join in?:heart: I won't be able to post anything until next week.:wink2:

06-02-2010, 08:43 AM
Great references, Ken! :thumbsup: Thanks! :clap:
June is off to a great start! I'm downloading all of these and plan to get something done during June.... really! :wink2:
Hi Lauren! My pleasure- I look forward to seeing your work!

06-02-2010, 08:51 AM
Well..... I 'm showing this with hesitation because I think it came out awful. She looks strung out. :eek: :lol:

I think pastels are the hardest medium ever! I love the way they look, but clearly I need a lot more practice. Or help. Or should I just stick to oil paint? :D

I used my pan pastels. Maybe I should try using them with the sticks?


Hi Jessica- I like the color also. You will only make progress with portraits, and pastel for that matter, by doing them! Sometimes focusing on a single aspect, like drawing, can simplify your challenges.

If you were to try another of this same reference, you'll see how much you've already learned from the first!

06-02-2010, 08:56 AM
Great references!
Thanks, Jocelyn!

06-02-2010, 10:53 AM
thanks Sandra, Ken, and Nancy. I really have issues controlling the pastels. Nancy, it is exactly as you said, I found it so difficult to draw. well, i did the initial drawing in pastel pencil and it was fine, but all went downhill afterward. But it's just practice.

I may or may not do another one; I have to get going on a portrait commission (oils, *phew*) and finish Twilight.

This was fun though, and I hope to do more of these projects.

06-02-2010, 11:38 AM
thanks Sandra, Ken, and Nancy. I really have issues controlling the pastels. Nancy, it is exactly as you said, I found it so difficult to draw. well, i did the initial drawing in pastel pencil and it was fine, but all went downhill afterward. But it's just practice.

I may or may not do another one; I have to get going on a portrait commission (oils, *phew*) and finish Twilight.

This was fun though, and I hope to do more of these projects.

Anytime you take on something 'new', even if it is as simple as a different working surface, it is important to recognize the extra difficulty this adds to your expression. Here you have taken on an something pretty big- an entirely new media. Do another sometime soon- change is good for your growth.

06-02-2010, 12:02 PM
Thanks for the wonderful photos, Ken.

Here's my version of "Maria."


06-02-2010, 07:46 PM
Hope to work on it more this evening.

06-02-2010, 09:52 PM
Some wonderful work already... wow! :clap:

Ken, these are fabulous references! I'd love to paint some of these, not sure if that will happen. So these are kind of semi-exploratory sketches from yesterday. Not too happy... <shrugs>

All on A3 size paper.

1. Conte carbone pencil, watercolor for background.


2. Conte carbone pencil, derwent pencil for background.


3. Staedtler watercolor pencil (plus some derwent), with wash.


4. Some deeper make of charcoal pencil (can't read the brand), derwent pencil wash for background.


Thank you so much for looking and commenting! (also, heartiest thanks to all who have kindly commented on my last month's submissions ) :wave:

06-03-2010, 01:28 AM
Wonderful references, I will paint Erin
Thank you

06-03-2010, 03:42 AM
You all are machines!! we just got this posted and wow!! Prosenjit - some good studies ( is that all you did for a whole day ???!!!))

a quick study of ERin.. great photos ( again) Ken!!

about 1+ hours or so.. maybe 2!


and a progress shot - forgot to save the block in..


06-03-2010, 10:01 AM
Lawrence- You are welcome- I can see Maria in your work!

Hi Jeff- Nice developments of the drawing!

Roy- I'm glad the images are inspiring! You are very ambitious to do this much so quickly and your handling of the pencil is terrific- it has clarity and style. I like the proportions of the young man.

Hi Horst! I'm looking forward to seeing it! Erin is an artist and friend.

Kevin I love the digital paintings, and Thanks for including the block-in stage. It looks really great- I can see that the likeness will be outstanding!

06-03-2010, 01:42 PM
Great photos ken. Good faces to work from.
Great work Jessica, Jeff, Lawrence, Kevin and roy.
I did a sketch of Maria. I just bought some new pencils to go with my old Prismacolor and Derwents. And experimented with this picture, by mixing them.

06-03-2010, 01:45 PM
Here's "Portrait of a Young Man."


06-03-2010, 02:25 PM
Still plugging away. For some reason this is easy to draw but hard to photograph.

I'd also like to thank you for great pictures. The better quality of pics is what drew me back into this activity.

06-03-2010, 03:38 PM
40 x 50 cms acrylic on canvas board ( reused ) one hour I decided to post this as is before blending everything to the same value and colour
C and C very welcome but maybe this is not the thread for it?:confused:


06-03-2010, 08:12 PM
I think I'll set this aside and work on one of the others for a while.

06-03-2010, 10:41 PM
Watercolor sketch I did this evening. Jim

06-04-2010, 03:01 AM
Hi, so many works ... Let some space for others :D

Thanks Ken for these challenging models.

jefuchs: great start like the shapes - it is coming well - Thank you for sharing steps - great drawing
stapeliad: pastel or not, great skin colours - one more in oils!:wink2:
LGHumphrey: Nice paintings - the dress is a little distracting
What media are you using or did I miss it?
roy-p: exploratory drawing - I like that and your are productive. Jack got a big head but that goes with his challenging look :)
Kevinweste: quick study coming fine - hope to see her left eye ;) - Great likeness
doctasi : great likeness with Maria - Colored pencils are good for portraits - You caught the challenging look of jack :clap:
Trevors : Nice to see that you catch the tilt of her head - Not so sure with the eyes, she seems to be lost somewhere. and the white on the right of her face is a little to much. I

About my attempt:

First i made a drawing with a colored pencil (does not come thru the oil:evil:) then a blocking using a big brush trying not to blend the colours. A stroke is let where it is. Not so easy to do. I ended with a completely different person :(

I overworked, I missed the challenging look and changed the painter point of view slightly but I like the result, so I move to the next painting.

C&C welcome

"Toughtful Jack" oil on paper 16X21".


06-04-2010, 09:38 AM
Jeff, I like how neat your drawing is and how you started from the skull shape.
Jessica, there is room for improvement, (this is why we're here for, aren't we ?) but you achieved very rich and varied colors.
Prosenjit, I really like your style and the way you define the planes.
Kevin, thank you for the steps. Very interesting.
Doctasi, you achieved a very good likeness with Maria but I really like your version of the man.
Trevor, can't wait to see it finished (you're going to blend a bit more, aren't you ?)
Lawrence, I like your bold colors and shapes.
Yabby, good job, although I'm a bit disturbed by his left cheek color. (just a bit too blue ?)

Here is my first study for this June challenge

The hatching technique is completely off. I drew it too large to hatch comfortably.
His forehead might not be high enough.
Other critiques and comments are welcome.

06-04-2010, 03:11 PM

06-04-2010, 03:12 PM

06-04-2010, 03:13 PM
No matter what I do it doesn't quite look like him. I'm thinking I made some critical errors in proportion early on.

06-04-2010, 04:08 PM
jefuchs, beautiful sketch.

Roy, you amaze, they're all so good. I especially like your "Erin."

doctasi, you've sure got "Maria" there, and your version of "Jack" is striking.

Trevor, look forward to seeing the finished product, same goes for Kevin.

Hi yabby, these are Talens Rembrandt oils on unstretched linen, 40 X 30 cm. Your "Jack" is certainly not "a completely different person."

sizun, interesting crosshatching.

jefuchs, of COURSE it looks like him. Perhaps you've been staring at him too long. Tomorrow you'll look at it and say "Hey, that's a lot better than I thought."

Here's my version of "Erin."


06-04-2010, 04:47 PM
BTW: I've been wanting to do this, and finally did. I put tape on the ends of my charcoal pencils for easy identification. I use the "Peel & Sketch" pencils, which are all the same color, and you have to search the printing on them to determine what hardness it is every time you pick up a pencil.

So I color coded the pencils with tape for quick identification at a glance. A real time saver. I labeled the hard pencils with yellow tape and the medium with gray (duct tape), and did not mark the soft ones (no need).

Why these colors? It's what I already had on hand. No need to spend anything.

06-04-2010, 07:02 PM
This is probably all I'll do with this. The females will be difficult!

06-04-2010, 07:18 PM
Trevor, can't wait to see it finished (you're going to blend a bit more, aren't you ?

Thank you but maybe not I'm only messing about :wave:

06-05-2010, 05:07 AM
Sizun: the blue is there in the real stuff, but the camera (or my tweaking in image software) push it a little bit. In real the jaw is much more lost in the background - very dark blue
Nice crosshatching : your Jack's head is too square (?) but great look!

jefuchs: Very good one. no proportions erros IMHO ;) Just cut his left hair by half and make a lost edge there to lighten the effect. You caught his challenging eyes. :clap:
Thanks for sharing the little trick of marking the pencils.
By the way I had a look to the "Artdemos from around the net" in your signature: very instructional

LGHumphrey: Beautiful Erin. Perhaps soften the chin? she is young and the head is up so no double chin :cat:

trevors: LOL: Just mess around again :D

I am not posting "my" Erin in oil - I'm struggling again and I thought the proportions in the first drawing were good:(.
I hope this painting would reach what I am looking for in a few days:wave:

06-05-2010, 10:31 AM
LGHumphrey : Erin's expression is really close to the model.

Jefuchs, thank you for the demo, I really like your drawing. I think I'm going to draw him again.

Trevors, same as Yabby :D

Yabby, I'm going to make another version of him. Thank you for the comment.

06-05-2010, 02:16 PM
Here's "Jack."


06-05-2010, 02:17 PM
Yabby, I like the result too. Very much.
Sizun, that would great framed, as is.
Lawrence, good work. I like the eyes.
jefuchs, very good strong portrait. Very nice.
This is my third in oil pastels on paper. I have found, in doing these portraits, that I need to order more pencils and pastels. For shadow colors. Jim

06-05-2010, 06:50 PM
You guys are great no point in me being here Bye :thumbsup:

06-05-2010, 08:24 PM
Trevor - that's crazy talk!!

Doc - maybe Ken will chime in!

Lawrence - what medium ?? acrylic ? oil ? "erin has some real "glow" to her!! the red in the older man is powerful!

jefuchs - nice head there ! females are often more difficult for males and vice versa ( though I'm only guessing that you are a male - I have no idea)..

06-06-2010, 07:57 AM
Its Sunday and it raining:crying: , but I get to spend some time drawing :clap: . So here it is. C&Cs please as I am trying to improve.

Caput Martuum Red and white pastel on Grey Fabriano Tiziano paper.

As you can see I have been reading Mr Maughan's book "Drawing The Head" and very good it is to.http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Jun-2010/159551-June_Challenge.JPG

06-06-2010, 03:49 PM
You gotta be joking, Trevor. C'mon.

Kevin, these are Rembrandt oil paints on unstretched Claessens 166 linen.

And Kevin, a question. Am I correct in thinking that this thread is for "serious" attempts (I think it was Dana who asked for that) and should not include something like a "modiglianized" version of Maria, for example, or Erin as Jawlensky might have seen her......or as Picasso's Dora Maar crying? (I enjoy playing around with that sort of thing but will refrain from posting them unless I have express permission to do so.)

Some people never learn when it's time to quit, so here's a monochrome version of "Jack." Titanium white and Vandyck brown, plus the pyrol red bg.


06-06-2010, 05:46 PM
Hi Lawrence, I think the focus is on classical-realist oriented work in general but if you'd like to post something that is less representational, I'm sure we'd love to check it out ( and there would be no penalties!!). - kw

06-07-2010, 04:00 AM
LGhumphrey: Jack on bright red is very well done -
the new jack style in monochrome is not bad either with is straight look. I need :cool: to look at...
As KevinWueste wrote, one or two portraits different styles can be instructional also We can discover other artists - well known or no so well known ;)

doctasi: I like the way you use your oil pastels for young man (crosshatching), I would have tone down his lips- too much red - but the skin is :thumbsup:

steadmj: First I like to welcome a new member. even if I'm not a very active Wetcanvas user. There is life outside internet too :wink2:

You have done a great work on the young man - your study of the book are showing - or perhaps you were already at this level of drawing. Just a suggestion - review the tee-shirt - it is coming toward the front too much. As it is secondary in your drawing , it seems better to let it fade.

Here are Maria in charcoal on pastel card 9x12 - I lost half of an eraser on that paper ;)


The young man on printer paper A4 - Black Colored derwent stick -

For Information - the paper was magenta - and the camera brighten it too much- The drawing was difficult to look at! - I had to change the color a little with image software so we can view it

And last Erin in oil 17X21" on paper

C&C always welcome.

06-07-2010, 04:31 AM
Just had a good look through the thread. Very entertaining to see so much variety in the approaches people have used.

jefuchs........subtle and sensitive drawing.

stapeliad......nice skin tones in your study.

LGHumphrey.....bold and graphic Maria and the girl. The red toned Jack works well.

roy-p..........excellent selection of sketches.

Kevin .........super quick sketch, did we expect anything else!? Love the way that blue flash brings the skin tones to life.

doctasi........well modelled Maria, fine watercolour of Jack. The oil pastel of the young man is my favourite.

trevors........lovely sketch of the wistful girl.

yabby..........also a nicely modelled head of Jack. The girl's head is engaging.

sizun...........simple but arresting sketch of jack.

steadmj.........a sensitive portrait of the youth

Thanks for sharing these, folks!

06-07-2010, 12:49 PM
Here's "Maria with long nose"......and her neck's a bit long, too.


06-08-2010, 07:10 AM
Doc- I'm happy you like them. You have full values, convincing color, and a nice sense of light on Maria! It looks like those pencils work well together. Are these the water-soluble type, or wax based?

Lawrence- I like the subtle varieties of color in the flesh tones. Is is an acrylic?

Jerry- I'm glad the photos are inspiring! Your drawings have a really nice touch and the method is solid.

Trevor- This is where you want to be! There are good colors beginning here and the proportion of the face in light is good! The values in the hair overall can be darker, as can the shadow values of the face- especially the neck, under the nose, and cast shadow from her chin, as these will pop up the lights. Soften and warm the nostril areas, and check the placement of the jaw back corner. See that the center ball of the nose sits forward more as this helps turn her face to our right.

06-08-2010, 07:59 AM
What a lot of work has been posted! Isn't it amazing how we are all so different, each of us with our own approach, but that's what makes art interesting.

Ken, that's oils--I used to do acrylics but changed to oils and at the moment wouldn't go back to acrylics.

This one is suggested by a pencil and crayon study that Picasso did on 13 June 1937. It's in the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid. Later he did the much larger full-blown "La femme qui pleure" which is in the Tate in London.


"Erin go bragh" means "Erin forever."

06-08-2010, 12:23 PM
doctasi- I like the direct quality of your 'Jack' watercolor with it's solid values and nice handling of the brush.

yabby-- Thanks! The images have a wide range that can be done. I don't think oils will stick well to your colored pencil as they have a waxy base. A better alternative would be charcoal, then fix it.

The features are well done and located with the exception of the eye on our right being too far over. He has also grown too wide. Values could be pushed a bit especially about the eyes. The nose has great dimension because of it's value and nice handling!

Sizun- Hatching is a really effective technique! You've achieved a full range of values- the cheek side to our right has good contrast and I like the depth in his eye sockets. Using the same or similar value on the 'light side' left cheek confuses the lighting effect. Be always conscious of the hatch direction- it should 'follow the form'- crossed hatching is less effective for form.

Jerry- Thanks for posting the progression- I didn't realize it was that large. I think your method is more accomplished than pinning down a likeness. Even so, you might double check everything to find any discrepancies- I've found a few subtle tendencies that I have in drawing that way.

06-08-2010, 12:35 PM
LG- This has a real freshness to it- her eyes are really brilliant and it captures her expectant look! The flesh tones are very delicately done too. The greens on her right cheek might be warmed a bit, and I would suggest to lighten/soften/warm her nostrils.

Jerry- If you think they will be... they will be! Instead, just look to shape and structure as you've done so well with Jack.

LG- Your Jack is really good! Your style is very direct and bold, and the color is clean. You might add a touch more warms to his lower lip.

doctasi- Nice, loose style! I like the handling, and your additions of shadow color (under the nose and chin). The combination of a much lighter flesh tone, and darker lip color gives the suggestion of stage makeup- if you lighten the lips so that they are more relative to the flesh, this will go away. I like the massing of the hair a lot!

06-08-2010, 05:19 PM
Ken, thanks for the help, especially about the nostrils, which I'll touch up tomorrow. Much appreciated.

06-09-2010, 08:52 AM
steadmj Welcome to the Forum, and Thanks for posting- anytime drawing is good- one of the perks of bad weather! The drawing is done with a very sensitive hand and keen eye. The warm monochrome value highlighted with white is a great technique- many times overdone, but not here. Your proportions are very close, too!

A side by side comparison is a helpful way to see. Matching the angle from the cheek you can see that some alignments are too low on the right- the angles must be close at the very beginning:


06-09-2010, 11:00 AM
LG- Painting a lot is a sure way of improving your work, and value studies are a good direction. I would look at some turning forms (at the jaw line) and softer blends in transitions of value.

06-09-2010, 01:28 PM
"turning forms" and "softer blends"---yes, I definitely have to learn to do that. And learn how to do soft edges, a real bugbear for me! (On another forum Richard Murdoch suggested the way to do it is by painting everything softly and then hardening a few lines.)

This one's a bit different though--"Expressionistic Erin." Tried to suggest Erin's face and Jawlensky's "The Red Veil."


06-09-2010, 08:11 PM
Lawrence! wowza!!!

06-10-2010, 11:13 AM
Hi Kevin--ever tried something of the Expressionistic persuasion? I love it but know it's not everyone's cup of tea.

Problem with that one yesterday was that yes, it looked like Jawlensky but no, it didn't look like Erin.

So had another go today, based on a painting Jawlensky did in 1912, and I think the face in this one does look a bit like the beauteous Erin's. Jawlensky's eyes, though, were just black blobs, he never put a catchlight in.

For those not familiar with this artist, he was Russian but went to live in Germany. The pronounciation of his name is "Yavlensky," and that's the way his name would have been spelled if he had gone to live in the States instead of Germany.


06-10-2010, 05:23 PM
I really love the photo of Jack, he's quite the face to paint. With such dark rainy days I did him in charcoal for fear of messing the skin tones. Thank you for sharing this reference.


06-10-2010, 05:41 PM
Some great stuff going on here. Thanks for the nice refs to work from.

Oil sketch - about 3 hours.

06-11-2010, 05:09 AM
Lawrence .. after I involuntarily recoiled, had put on sunglasses then thought it would be better to just close my eyes ... FANTASTIC :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: .. you do have my retinas in your grasp. :)

Everyone else are there are so many .. I love what you all have done. It inspires.

The models have SUCH interesting faces !

I have done Jack first .. or second .. or rather he's BACK!

I almost binned my first attempt at this in gouache .. actually painted my last gouache on Jack 1's back

Thought I'd try again .. I just don't like defeat. :rolleyes:

8x6 inches on Arches workhorse (140lb CP)

There's a WIP in the Gouache Corner thread in the Watercolour Studio.


06-11-2010, 01:07 PM
Erin Emily, what a beautiful version of Jack.

jung, great oil sketch, I like the colouring you've got there.

Annie, nice lighting across Jack's face.

Here's my last one, folks, balm for aching eyeballs I reckon after the last two. It's our young gentleman as Picasso's "Angel Fernandez de Soto." Prussian blue and titanium white plus a streak of Transparent Oxide Red for the stem of his pipe.


Andrew Lloyd Weber bought the original for 29 million dollars in 1995 and now it's going to be auctioned again by Christie's on June 23. I imagine it'll fetch about 3 times that.

06-11-2010, 08:58 PM
Lawrence, what a colorful interpretation.

Erin, lovely charcoal of Jack.

Jung, nicely done.

Annie, you got it this time. I love how you keep trying new things, growing with every one.

Lawrence, I like your blue study. Your exploration of different styles is fun to watch.

Here's my try at Erin. 8x10, watercolor.



06-11-2010, 11:38 PM
Hello everyone. This is my first time participating the portraiture challenge. I just started playing around with charcoal in the last week, and am really liking it so far.

Here's Jack. 14" x 18", charcoal and pan pastel black


06-12-2010, 11:00 AM
yabby- I like to softer edge quality to Maria in this charcoal, and a solid value range. Her face has widened and features been lowered- check your proportions in the drawing.

The young man has a nice touch with the same delicate treatment. The centerline of the face has been shifted to our left, but much of the drawing works otherwise!

I like the gentle coloration in Erin!

06-12-2010, 11:07 AM
Lawrence- I like the coloration here (Maria with a long nose), the simple shapes, and the development about the eyes and lips. A warmer neutral at the base of the nose would be better (sienna-ish?).

The expressionistic color (ala Red Veil and the Jawlensky(s)) are unique interpretations, although my knowledge of that genre and artist is virtually nil, so I'll leave the comments for others more versed.

06-12-2010, 01:25 PM
Had some time between commissions, 11x14 color pencil...this was a fun study to paint...

06-12-2010, 06:17 PM
Hi Erin-It came out well! Very sensitive and observant drawing of Jack- his head has been turned slightly more toward us, and his expression softened- but it's Jack for sure. I'm glad you like the reference!

06-12-2010, 06:25 PM
Here's my take on Maria ... another very interesting face
8x6inches gouache


06-14-2010, 02:09 PM
Wow these are all going really well, great references Ken, If I get the chance I might have a go at the lovely "Maria-Lisa" Very enigmatic smile and traditional pose with exciting colours! LG - loving your interpretations and productivity!

06-14-2010, 03:25 PM
Hi Jeni, we look forward to your contribution.

Thanks for your note of appreciation--I've left these now and am doing my darndest to learn how to get soft edges. So far have done copies of a Gerhartz, a Liberace, and today one by Morgan Weistling: all of these artists are masters at working with soft edges, especially Morgan Weistling.

Lauren F-M
06-14-2010, 11:51 PM
Great stuff on here -- bravo! :clap: :clap:

I need to sit down and go through it all, write down notes so I can comment... :rolleyes:

Meanwhile -- wonderful work, all! :thumbsup:
Ken, you have obviously inspired us. :D

06-15-2010, 06:39 AM
Hiya here is my go in progress! - own shorthand version of grisalle then as it is at mo - still a long way to go to get that lovely expression - have to admit loving the pinks and blues - don't get to use them very often:clap:
All feedback loving recieved! Oil on linen - 55x48cm trying to get a more classical feel but with modern palette (that ole pink!!)


06-15-2010, 07:54 AM

06-15-2010, 09:27 AM
So that's me done for today - poor lady has got neck "melt" due to too much medium - need to let it dry off a bit then warm up her skintones and sort out reflections!
Sorry about changes of colour on photos - french stormy day here messing with the light!

06-16-2010, 06:39 AM
Done some more work to try and get the nearly smile - neck still a mess - as needs to dry off more to correct:evil:

closeup of face

Anyone out there with any ideas to help please?:wave:

06-17-2010, 01:05 AM
Jungfineart- This has really nice color varieties in the flesh tones and a great harmony overall- very sensitive! I like the painterly handling and your control of edges as well- a very nice touch. It has a real likeness developing, too- all in a pretty short time frame!

The drawing is narrower across the face, and the centerline has been made more vertical- to the effect of pulling the lower part of his face forward some. The very dark shadow sits apart a bit too much- perhaps lightening and warming it will help.

06-17-2010, 01:18 AM
Annie- The execution of this in watercolor is very fresh and bold- it's exactly right for the subject, and the medium! Does working a bit smaller help you with this direction? I especially like the textures in edges, and in the jacket. Good use of values and color harmonies as well.

The pose has shifted more to the right, and the features are dropped down some- it's interesting in that his expression looks a bit more 'doubting' or 'skeptical'- less forceful than the reference.

06-17-2010, 06:34 PM
Anne- It has nice, fresh color that I like a lot! The values are good, giving a sense of form and light, and the likeness is emerging! The shapes and proportions are good, too.

Look closely to a centerline that would run from between the brows through the philtrum (above the lip, below the nose- kitty thing!) The features sit slightly forward (to our right) from this imaginary line, making her face seem narrower.

You might lighten the darks within the nostrils and lips, and darken the irises and the teeth a touch. Nice blending and control!


06-17-2010, 06:54 PM
Bill- A great drawing! You've really captured his strength with this. I like consistently developed style in the forms over the whole drawing, and like the edge work done too. It's very good, for example, how his lip emerges as a form, not as an outline.

Overall, his skull has been narrowed at the back, which lessens the solid mass of his head. The shadow side on his left cheek could use more value also. Aside from that, great stuff!


06-17-2010, 07:06 PM
George- I really like the feel of this- the values are really solid, and the color is great in light and shadow, and also has a good variety of warms and cools. The likeness is very good too! Colored pencil is not too forgiving in making alterations, and so requires making good choices with discipline and patience.

Some small bits- It would be nice to have a touch of detail in the eyes (more darks/a subtle highlight?) to reveal character. Her upper lip does turn up toward the light more on the side to our left as well.

A great piece!


06-17-2010, 07:14 PM
Annie- Nice, fresh color and handling! I've used gouache a bit, and know it is a demanding and unique media. The light values brighten this up nicely, and I like the warms within the shadows. It has a really peaceful and gentle feel to it that is perfect. I've always though Maria would be a natural for a Madonna.

You might soften the turn across her cheek- it's a more gradual form. Flatten the 'bow' in the center of her upper lip and reduce her near iris if that's possible.

06-17-2010, 08:13 PM
Jeni- A comparison may be of help. I would first address the contour of the face on both sides- checking the side to our left, see how from her cheekbone, it then drops inward slightly to the back corner, then bringing the hair in closer on the other cheek, and trimming the back contour of her hair. The back corner of the close jaw should be brought down and softened, and a warmer dark for the shadows (about the same value as near her cheekbone) would help.

Don't overstate the light side variations (by introducing too much contrast), and see how her mouth is near level and narrower. I would minimize the shadows below her eyes, and smooth the light side tones.


06-18-2010, 12:17 PM
The references for this challenge are all so good it's difficult to choose one. In fact, I couldn't! :lol: I started with Erin and then moved on to Jack for another try. Hopefully, I'll be able to finish him this month. How long do the monthly challenge threads stay open if he's still on the drawing board? (pun intended, sorry :o)

I've been amazed at the quality and speed of the works done this month. It's been such a pleasure to follow along as the updates have been posted. And the advice and examples given for improvement....... a valuable education just to read!!

My Erin is about 5 X 7 on Bristol smooth and 4h through 2B pencils. My goal is to learn to achieve a likeness and begin to learn how not to make it look like I copied a photo. (even if I did).


I really struggled with her eyes. I've worn out the paper trying to get them to match. Any hints? They will be gratefully accepted.

06-18-2010, 03:50 PM
I was struggling with eyes as well, in both drawings. Also couldn't quite nail down the bone structure, especially with Erin, really need to practice more... Tomorrow both gentlemen.
pencil on A4 paper


06-18-2010, 04:18 PM
Thanks, Ken, for all the great reference images for this month's challenge!

It's been months since I've picked up a pencil, so my drawing skills are kinda rusty at the moment, but it's great having a pencil in my hand again.

Still lots more to go on this. Erin looks much much younger here because I still haven't finished shading the lower half of her face.

graphite pencils on sketchbook


06-18-2010, 07:30 PM

I really struggled with her eyes. I've worn out the paper trying to get them to match. Any hints? They will be gratefully accepted.

I've been working on Erin, too, and the first thing I notced is that her left eye seems higher than her right one. I think it's due partly to the deeper shadow beneath the right eye and the upward tilt is more pronounced on her left.

I started this earlier in the month, but accidentally used Claybord rather than Ampersand Gessoboard, which makes a mess of things if you use oils. Oils soak in instantly! So I oiled it out, let it dry, and this is my rescue work from last night. I don't have the mouth quite wide enough; I still need to make adjustments on hte eyes and I have her chin and jaw to correct. Please let me know if anything else is too far off!


Now that I've uploaded it, I may re-consider my support and redo the whole thing on gessoed canvas!

06-18-2010, 09:36 PM
Beautiful study anyway, Nancy- whatever you decide to do!

Lauren F-M
06-19-2010, 03:42 PM
Time for me to catch up on commenting! :D
I just went through the whole thread and so far 21 WC folks have had a go (or two or more...) at doing portraits for the wonderful references that Ken provided. Lawrence certainly takes the cake for the most portraits posted, and probably also for the most vibrant palette used. (I figure that Spanish sun has influenced him,) :wink2:

So, here goes (I did take notes!):

Jeff: So far you've posted two lovely B&W drawings, of the Young Man (who I will refer to from now on as YM) and of Jack. I particularly like that first one, of YM. Wonderful!

Jessica: Very brave of you to go full colour in a new medium in your portrait of Erin! :clap: The advice to simplify is good -- I'd probably go to a very limited palette or monochrome to start, to find my feet.

Lawrence: Well, what can I say! The prolific and adventurous Lawrence, enticing, entertaining and challenging us -- thanks for being you; such a delight you are! :clap: Am I correct in counting 9 done here by you so far? Maria, first done very boldly with a red background, then more demurely with the pink background. Jack, done twice, one with the bold red background, I think the second one was flipped. Erin done 4 times, in a few other styles too (Picasso, Expressionist, Jawlensky), YM done twice, the second being a Picasso angel in blue. Oops, that is actually 10! :eek: Thanks so much, Lawrence! :thumbsup:

Prosenjit: You presented us with a group of great drawings of all 4 references! My favourite is the one of YM! :thumbsup:

Kevin: Lovely quick (was it as quick as it looks?) Painter digi study of Erin. Spot on! :clap:

Jim: Three portraits here by you so far; of Maria, Jack & YM. Good likeness of Maria, nice limited palette use for Jack & I like how YM looks a bit like a sad old clown to me -- must be the lips. :thumbsup:

Trevor: Thanks for joining us and doing a portrait of Erin! :D

Yabby: Four portraits -- you did them all! Jack in oils, Maria in charcoal, YM in black stick & Erin in oils. Well done!

Sizun -- very nice ink drawing of Jack! :thumbsup:

steadmj: Thanks for posting that conte of YM a la Maugham! I also have that book -- it's a great resource. :D

Lauren F-M
06-19-2010, 04:03 PM
... continuing on...

Erin Emily: What a lovely charcoal study of Jack -- he looks very relaxed. :thumbsup:

JW: Utterly lovely oil portrait of YM! :clap: Thanks so much for posting this. I checked out your website -- great work! I hope you post more of your work in our Portrait forum.

Annie: 2 gouache portraits! Jack and Marie -- both very nice and colourful. I find gouache very difficult, so admire these all the more. :D

Anne -- Lovely to see a watercolour of Erin! :thumbsup: She has the most amazing eyes.

Bill: I really love this portrait of Jack and greatly admire how you have handled the medium.:thumbsup: Did you scrape to get the lighter scratchy lines or add white... or do something else? :confused: Whatever you did, it looks really cool!

George: Lovely portrait of Maria in cp! :thumbsup:

Jeni: Thanks so much for all the WIP shots of your oil portrait of Maria; always appreciated on WC. :clap: Great likeness and I really like your approach and colours.

Andrea: Nice expression here in your graphite portrait of Erin. :thumbsup:

Ursula: Always a pleasure to see your work -- so glad you joined the challenge. :D Wonderful drawings of both Maria and Erin! :clap:

Michelle: Very nice graphite portrait of Erin! :thumbsup:

Nancy: Erin is a popular model this month! :D Nice to see your oil portrait of her! :clap:

Wow -- I'm tired now from all this commenting! :lol: Looking forward to seeing more portraits up here (even from me, I hope!). Eleven more days (not counting today) till the end of the month.

Lauren F-M
06-19-2010, 04:03 PM
Please delete -- I accidently posted twice. OOps! :rolleyes:

06-20-2010, 12:05 AM

just a quick warm-up before my portrait group today.
20 mins 2b pencil about 7cm x 5 cm (tiny for me!)

06-20-2010, 09:41 PM
Hi, Mr. Ken Tiessen and every artists. I am working on Erin`s drawing. I am Luicre, and I work with graphite. I hope I could finish the drawing in time.

I don`t know if we can post WIP here but I will try the gei it almost finished.

Absolutely great references, Mr. Ken Tiesen.( Erin`s drawing has been much harder than I thought it would be)



06-21-2010, 12:54 PM
Well here is my drawing of Erin. It needs more corrections. I saw them the minute I uploaded the drawing.

On a light blue paper whcih had a texture that I didn`t see before. And graphite.




06-21-2010, 01:24 PM
Hi All,

After a break from painting of nearly 2 years, I'm jumping back into the deep end and joining in with this month's challenge.

This is a quick sketch in oils on a piece of canvas pad (not very easy to work on but its ok for quick sketches).

I can see all the mistakes in this (forehead too narrow, nose too big ? eyes not quite right :D :D ), but I'm fairly happy with it. I may not take it any further. It's all practice, practice, practice. Thanks for looking and crits very welcome.


06-21-2010, 11:45 PM
Hi all....heres my attempt at Erin.

I got a box set of charcoal, graphite etc given to me back a while ago as a gift.......I had to pick up a handle...a clutch to put the graphite in (whatever it is called). So far I used graphite 2B.......didn't like the results so ended up using white....then white chalk from what it looks like....tried to fix it. Anyways I went back to my ordinary pencils and am trying to salvage the drawing now.........lol

Also I was attempting using the method that Andrew Loomis uses...been trying to improve getting the locations of everything better.

06-24-2010, 08:47 AM
Luicre: I hear you, the same happened to me just after I uploaded the drawing of Erin. I think this reference is the most difficult. I kept thinking why it was so difficult. I added some lines to the photo and some of them go in directions we wouldn't expect them to. This is very confusing, at least for me :-)


Squib: very nicely done! Good form and colour. The only, minor thing is this bright background on the right side of the head, I think it's too strong

Camton: I think the result of all these experiments with drawing tools is very nice, doesn't seem overworked to me...

06-24-2010, 08:50 AM
Took me a bit longer to draw these two. Again, problem with eyes and their placement. The young man is too young, the old man too old, both faces too long :lol: oh well...

06-24-2010, 07:47 PM
Thank you very much Urszula, you have helped me a lot. Really nice help.

Your drawings are great.

I am still struggling with Erin so I will post an update when it`s finished.

Thank you again



06-25-2010, 09:54 PM
I gave a couple more a try. The first is a sketch of Maria (approx 6.5 x 8.5), then a watercolor of the young man (8x10).

I see lots of things I don't like about it. The skin tone is a little pale and cool, I might warm it up a little. The eye shadows and lip color might be a little too dark. I'm pleased with how the hair came out.

Even though it has a lot of problems, it was good practice. Thanks Ken for great references.


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Jun-2010/7993-Maria.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Jun-2010/7993-YoungMan.jpg

06-27-2010, 03:56 AM
14X11 oil

Thought I'd checked the June PC but I'd missed these nice references. The usual issues with elusive color and drawing issues and resultant overworking. I don't have her face as wide as it should be which is what's so striking about her. Frustrating too because I was taking stage shots and was surprised by the previous shot. Somebody stop me!

06-27-2010, 05:39 PM
Nancy, lovely skin tones and shadows with a nice sparkle in her eye.

Bethany, nice sketch. I like your work on her eyes and soft smile.

Luicre, there is a nice softness to this. I like how you did her hair as well. I know how it is just after you upload...you see all sorts of things you would like to change.

Lorraine, nice job. I would never guess you had been away from it for two years.

Campton, nice effect with the smooth skin tones contrasted with just a hint at her hair.

Ursula, nice sketches. I just can't stop looking at the eyes of the young man.

Steve, I know there may be some things you don't care for but I really like it.


Ken, thanks for the critique last week. I don't know how, but I missed it! I've checked the thread many times but skipped over that part. I did finally see it though and made some of your suggested changes.

I was wondering what was making the lower part of her face come out. You were absolutely right about the position of the mouth being too far right. I was able to move the mouth left and it's much better. I think in the process her lips may be a little dark but I'll just assume she put on some lipstick. :lol:

I lightened the darks in the nostrils, darkened the irises and teeth a little. I also widened her face a little on our right. All of these changes helped. It's still not a great likeness but better than it was before.


I also did a little more work on the young man.



06-29-2010, 01:56 AM
My take on Erin, oil on a 14 by 11 canvas panel, C&C welcome. Thanks for the excellent photos.

06-29-2010, 01:59 AM
After posting a lot of unfinished areas became apparent, please go ahead with the critique.

06-29-2010, 10:04 AM
I think you've nailed it perfectly, Horst! :thumbsup: Any more is just polishing - this is a very accurate rendition of Erin's features. Especially believable to one who attempted the same image! :D

06-30-2010, 10:13 PM
A late entry from me. Pastel pencils and Faber hard pastels on Canson 12x8 inches. This was my daily painting for today and was my first chance to try some tips picked up from watch Daniel Greene. So I worked dark to light and much more loose without any finger blending at all. I found it a better method than I previously used when I was developing from midtones and expanding from there. It would benefit from going over again with softies but the clock beat me.

07-01-2010, 04:49 PM
Such a wonderful array of work. I'm in total thrall! You guys did yourself very very proud with this (June) month's challenge and deserve rounds of thumping applause! (and also to Ken for his superb choice of pics)

:clap: :clap: :clap:

And thank you so much for your kind comments on my humble contribution, which surely pales before the rest of the display. :wave: Eager to see what July brings...

Lauren F-M
07-01-2010, 06:34 PM
I am in total agreement with Prosenjit (except for his opinion of his own portrait contributions to this challenge, which were wonderful) -- great work, all! :clap: :clap:
I am sorry that I didn't get in with you in doing these this month, but got rather busy with work (which is a good thing, so I can hopefully take the 'starving') prefix off and just be an 'artist!'). :lol:
We are still finalizing what images to post up for July's challenge. Joss has some great ones & I have put a few more in for consideration. So, stay tuned! Meanwhile, have a go at these if you haven't already! :wink2:

07-24-2010, 03:52 PM
Amazing work here. I do love the watercolors the best though. Wow!