View Full Version : Afghan Girl

06-19-2011, 07:55 PM
Hiya everyone,

Another practice portrait, mostly Liquitex on 9x12 newsprint. This is from a famous portrait that first appeared on the cover of National Geographic called Afghan Girl. Still work to do on the robe and background but the face is nearly done except for a few glazes. I inadvertently aged her just a bit by not getting the nose done correctly, but the way this one has turned out so far I kind of wish I had done it on something a little more permanent than newsprint. :rolleyes: Little white dots are reflections from the flash.


06-20-2011, 12:18 AM
nice tones on the face and shading.. Maybe soften the sharp shading on the nose.. looks hard. I dont know what your reference photo looked like but the eyes are so bright.. maybe tone down some with a shadow on the upper eyes, on the whites and blue with some darks.
anxious to see what you do with her robe.

06-20-2011, 08:09 AM
Yes I recognize this portrait from the National Geographic. You did a very good job on her. I have seen a picture of her now that she is older.I think she has had a hard life.

06-20-2011, 10:48 AM
Excellent :clap: - I 'googled' and found the picture -It's her eyes that really catch your attention - which you have captured very well but maybe a little too bright - in the ref pic (on my screen) they look a little greenish. Would she look younger if her face was little fuller (her left side of face a little rounder)?
I don't do portraits but still like to study them - hope you don't mind my nit picking.
I can understand your dilemma of using paper and wishing you had used canvas - been there!! :(

Happy painting!!!

06-20-2011, 11:38 AM
Thanks all. :)

Kathie, if you google Afghan Girl, the photo I worked from will come up. I have some glazing to do on the eyes which will knock them down a bit but if you look at the photo you'll see that she has the most amazing eyes. They shine. Good call on the transitions. The photo seemed to highlight those more. It's strange how a photo can emphasize things like that, that aren't so noticeable in real life.

Elinor, I agree, she really does look like she's had a rough life. The original picture was taken in a refugee camp in Pakistan. She had fled over the mountains with her siblings and grandmother, after her parents were killed by a soviet helicopter gunship attack.

Betty, the eyes will be knocked back a bit when I glaze them. I like to start out with bright colors then knock them back with subsequent glazes. I've found it helps give the color a more luminous look when I do that. Since her eyes are the real focus of the portrait I'm spending a little extra time on them. Rounding out her face might help (I'm gonna try that) but I'm afraid I've probably gotten her nose too long. It's a very bad habit of mine when I do portraits. :o I have to constantly double check myself on that and unfortunately I didn't do it so much on this one because it's a practice piece.

06-20-2011, 07:40 PM
I remember the original photo, and yes her eyes were a remarkable blue, which you've captured. I don't know how much more work you are planning on doing for the robe and background, but I don't think it needs much more. The eyes are more powerful with the looser background. Nice work.

06-20-2011, 11:47 PM
You read my mind Deb ;) I did a good bit more work on this, mostly little things. There's still things I could correct but it's about as much as I want to do for a piece of newsprint. :wink2: I wasn't 100% sure that a loose look would work but I like how it turned out so I guess I'll call it done.


06-21-2011, 11:59 AM
OK turns out I wasn't quite finished yet. ;) I felt the flesh tones were too luminous so I lowered the chroma just a bit with a glaze of neutral gray. I felt that the eyes were the real center of interest and the flesh tone being so luminous took away from that a bit. I think it helps bring the viewers eyes even more strongly to the real center of interest.


06-21-2011, 09:57 PM
Shannon, this turned out great!! the only nit I have is that her eyes seem a bit crooked, which I don't see in the original photo. (imho, her eye on the viewer's right seems to be looking directly at the viewer, but the one on the viewer's left seems to be looking to the left too much..?) But the rest of it, and the colors you used, are very good!

I don't mean to be critical, I really like your painting!

(and I was thinking her eyes were blue, but I guess they were green. I do remember her eyes, even though I got the color wrong.) a haunting portrait, and you captured this.

06-21-2011, 10:22 PM
Many thanks Deb. You are right about the eyes. There are actually several other little things that should be corrected. I probably should have corrected them but since it was a practice portrait on newsprint I decided to go ahead and move on. I may repaint this one on a more permanent surface in oils soon because I did really enjoy painting it.