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View Full Version : Rufus - Opinions wanted


robinsn
08-16-1999, 12:20 AM
Don't be afraid to say whatever you think! This is a painting done in a broad-stroke, wet-in-wet technique and not in my normal realism mode. I am trying to widen my techniques and/or find my style.

It is an 8x10 oil on canvas.

Primarily, I'd like to know if this portrait and/or technique communicates to anyone besides me. Other comments are certainly welcome too, of course.

http://members.home.com/rrrobinson/art/sm_rufus.jpg


For a larger view, see members.home.com/rrrobinson/art/rufus.jpg (http://members.home.com/rrrobinson/art/rufus.jpg)

Thanks!

-Randy


[This message has been edited by robinsn (edited 08-25-99).]

Rod
08-16-1999, 04:10 AM
Hi Randy,
I think the broad stroke technique suits this subject, gives him a tough look with character. My main comment would be the light reflecting on the face, I am assuming the light is coming from front top right, but the reflections are equal on both sides of face. Also shadow on forehead follows the hairline, should follow the contour of the hat that is throwing the shadow,
Regards Rod.

Johannes Instructor
08-17-1999, 03:38 PM
Try not to place your subject dead in the center.

robinsn
08-17-1999, 08:15 PM
Rod, Yes, I see the inconsistency of the light/shadow - the light is coming from the top but very slightly to the right. This is from a photo of my great grandfather and was taken sometime in the 20's or so. They probably tried to get rid of all the shadow - just what I don't want! You're right about the hairline shadow too. It should follow the hat. In the photo it was hard to tell and I goofed putting it there.

Johannes, thanks for the comment. This was done before you critiqued my Drew Barrymore portrait, so it has some of the same mistakes as that one. I figured you might mention the centering and the less than interesting background <g> - but the color harmony was slightly better (by accident), wasn't it?


[This message has been edited by robinsn (edited 08-17-99).]

beck
08-25-1999, 01:40 AM
Hi Randy,
Rufus? The lighter planes on his face are too symetrical, and the color is too consistant. Try a little dab of white to show light reflecting on his wrinkles.
Also, more detail on the focal points and less detail as you get to the edges of the canvas.

You've got a good likeness laid out, good colors... now you can fine tune it if you want.

I found a book at Borders called "Problem Solving for Oil Painters" by gregg kruetz that is awesome, almost intimidating. I look at his work and try not to think too hard, hoping it will just soak in.

Johannes Instructor
08-25-1999, 04:59 PM
If you can get some cool colors in the face shadows such as mauves or grayed greens it will look better.

robinsn
08-25-1999, 06:00 PM
Beck and Johannes,

Thanks for the comments. You are very right, and I am learning a lot from this. It would have taken many paintings to figure these things out by myself, if I ever did.

Beck, re your comment on details. The painting was purposefully left without details (experimenting with that 'style'), and so I'm not sure if you mean that you think it should be "finished" by detailing it out, or something else. Can you explain?

-Randy

anitaarts
08-25-1999, 06:28 PM
Just a note. For some reason one eye looks better, more developed than the other. Try looking at only 1/2 of the face,at a time,by covering 1/2 half.See what you think.If you can add more depth and dramatize him,he's going to be one tough hombre.

beck
08-27-1999, 12:47 AM
By detail, I don't mean take a tiny brush and paint every eyelash. Keeping with a looser style, a squiggle of a highlight might define the bridge of the nose, flare out a nostril or dab in a glint to his eye.
Maybe darken the background around his shoulder and on up around toward the top to match the value of his coat and hat, also maybe blend the color of the background behind his neck so one side isn't distinctly lighter than the other.
Others mentioned adding depth and I agree. Better define the light source with stonger shadow placement.
Also, with photos, try turning pic and painting upside down and painting that way. That will prevent you from painting a "face", and allow you to paint only the shapes of light and shadows that in the end will better convince the viewer that it is a face he sees.

Now if I could only apply this advice to my own attempts. As in so many areas, it's easier to correct someone else's problems than it is to face one's own.

MomAtHome
09-01-1999, 02:35 PM
Hi! I'm brand new to the site, but I'll jump right in and offer my comment. I like the portrait, and think the advice so far is good. What unsettles me is the background - or lack thereof. I notice it more over his right shoulder (where the background is darker). The figure is done so nice and loose with visible brushstrokes - the background seems way too consistent/flat to go with it. I don't think you need to go in and add any details - it's fine as a colored backdrop. But I might try going in and adding a different texture to the backdrop - show us some brushstrokes or maybe make the blue/white more defined. Make the paint application style of the backdrop more like the style of the figure.

But what do I know? ;-)

Laura

robinsn
09-02-1999, 07:45 PM
Thanks, MomAtHome. Thanks for you opinion. And your suggestion about brushstrokes in the background is brilliant! I had broad strokes everywhere else, and smoothed out the background (such that it is). Why did I do that?? http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

This was taken from an old photo and what they had in the background was a sheet hanging up behind him! I started to make this an 'accurate' portrait, then changed my mind midstream which probably isn't the best idea. In the photo, he also had a 'lazy eye' and I painted it that way at first. But it looked like I just didn't know how to paint eyes! So I fixed 'em. I wonder what the normal thing to do in a case like that???

Thanks again for your repsonse!

-Randy

beck
09-02-1999, 09:26 PM
As far as the lazy eye...
If it was a portrait for a paying customer, you might be obligated to overlook it in order to please. Otherwise, it could be an interesting focal point. It's like flipping an omlette, all or nothing.

MomAtHome
09-03-1999, 04:31 PM
You're welcome, Randy. I'm happy to be able to help. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

Laura

bruin70
09-08-1999, 03:54 PM
my first advice is to forget what is and paint what should be. now first, the value you've placed under the cheeks is too dark. it breaks the head up into confusing planes. so lighten the value there and you head will improve 100%. so even though the value you've painted actually MAY be as dark as you've shown, it doesn't work...OR, DO THIS.. everything is relative. you have three features on the head. the eyes, the nose, and the mouth. you emphasize those three features compared to the planes on the head. that is to say,,,IF you choose to show your cheek value and other planes as darkly as you do, then you must darken the three features even more so that they stand out on the head. take a look at sargent. he keeps his head values light and simple so as not to distract from his features.
ANOTHER THING....did you paint in the pupil or did you paint the whites around the pupil. if you paint the pupil, the eyes will look beady. paint AROUND the pupil. the whites of the eyes are cool AND warm( from the blood vessels). keep this in mind...i prefer to paint my whites, warmer.
i just did a quick redo of rufus, so you can see what i mean. can't pull the image from xoom.com, but here's the link members.xoom.com/tootie1/indexrufus.html (http://members.xoom.com/tootie1/indexrufus.html) hope i linked correctly
i reduced the harshness of the cheeks, added warmth to the whites of the eyes, darkened the tip of the nose and gave it a lighter hilite to pop it a little and also added two hilites on either side of the nostrils to show off the nose a bit, added a warm reddish between the lip and mustache, lightened the cleft in the chin.
[This message has been edited by bruin70 (edited 09-08-99).]

[This message has been edited by bruin70 (edited 09-08-99).]

robinsn
09-11-1999, 05:22 PM
I see what you mean, Milt. Very valid points and I see the difference in your version. Unfortunately, I repainted Rufus before I saw your reply. I did not lower the values of the shadows, but perhaps they work better now as I put him outside in the sunshine and so gave a reason for the harsh shadows. I wish I'd seen this before I finished it. When the painting is dry and I can scan it, I'll post it and I'd be interested in what you think. Maybe I'll redo it again afterwards.

Thanks for your detailed help!

BTW, I've been meaning to tell you that I LOVE your paintings. Could I talk you into revealing some of your techniques? Do you work from photos or live models? And how do you get such moving poses? I think what you've achieved is very similar to the style I've been trying to develop. I would love to see a tutorial from you on how you create one of your paintings!

-Randy

[This message has been edited by robinsn (edited 09-11-99).]

bruin70
09-11-1999, 10:18 PM
irregardless of a raking light to justify the harsh cheek shadows, what you want to avoid is anything that competes with the head features, especially the eyes. remember this,,,that nature is not always right...and it's up to you to fix 'er up. thanks for your compliments, but doing a tutorial would take up too much time and my eyes have worsened , staring at the screen. but i'll be around. i like helping on these boards.
i paint from 12am to--- so i photograph my models. 80% of what you see is made up or at least readjusted for my own tastes. i like to catch people in "in-between" moods. it lends to wider interpretation. and i like painting women because they draw the viewer in. much of what you see in my art is WRONG. especially perspective. but i don't like linear perspective, and i have a shallow depth of field, and i'm more design oriented. i bend the perspective to fit my needs, guiding your eyes. i'm more edge conscious to make up for the shallow depth of my space. don't be a slave to reality. it is a guide. when you paint, you are god. and in any case you'll find that you MUST change the information you see, edit it, to fit properly on your canvas. simple example...photograph a model,,,trace it,,,the resulting drawing will have many errors that you must change to make the drawing look right.

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"he who thinks he know all and knows nothing is king in a kingdom of one,,,,,or a critic" - the kobe

robinsn
09-21-1999, 08:53 PM
Before I paint over my revision of Rufus, I hope to get a couple opinions on what I did and what it now needs. Thanks!

http://members.home.com/rrrobinson/art/sm_rufus2.jpg

-Randy

bruin70
09-21-1999, 10:52 PM
one big problem when artists revise is that they "work around" rather than rework. i do that to. with the exception of that tiny cloud behind the hat, all the other clouds kinda circle the head,,,especially that one on the right. don't be afraid to just put a big cloud right behind him. it'll also pop the head more.
then there is the age old concern of value distribution. the landscape is all one value. differentiate some of the landscape areas. the blue sky should be much lighter and the mountains are too close in value and color to the lake. nice idea with the landscape, though,,,,adding to the character of the portrait......milt

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"he who thinks he know all and knows nothing is king in a kingdom of one,,,,,or a critic" - the kobe