View Full Version : Autoportrait la cigarette

11-02-2011, 01:31 PM
Hi everybody !!

Here is my second experience with acrylic... I'm quite disappointed 'cause I show it to someone who sells art (and things) and she told me so much bad things about it... lack of material (we can see the canvas structure), lack of shadows and lights, lack of homogeneity in the style of drawing (details in parts but not everywhere)... this is too big, that too little, neck seems to be above the shirt, etc... "a begginer job" she says, well, "that's it, that's why I'm there"... so here is my last crust... acrylic on canvas, 65x50cm.

11-02-2011, 01:42 PM
Well I find it very interesting. I love the texture you've created with your brushstrokes and I love the color palette you've used. I also think the style is very contemporary & charming. Perhaps the person you showed it too prefers another style. We all go through this. One person loves your work and another hates it. I would hang it in my home without any reservations. Keep at it and don't feel too bad about what others say!

11-02-2011, 02:05 PM
I agree I think it's very interesting as well and certainly not a bad painting at all. I would not be disappointed, second painting trust me whatever was seen in this, what should have been expressed is there is also 'talent' to be seen.
Don't let the negatives discourage you, we all learn every time we put a brush to a surface, from others, from our own instincts but the bottom line is the more you paint the better you get and I think personally you're going to get very, very good at this!!! So listen some, learn some and paint what you feel. I like it!!


11-02-2011, 03:57 PM
Thanks, that's kind !! :)

Ms Nan
11-02-2011, 06:17 PM
Ooh la la - very interesting and mysterious lady. Forget what you heard and move on. You have great promise.

Charlie's Mum
11-02-2011, 06:32 PM
I know you say you're a beginner but I honestly find lots in this painting to applaud - I agree with Gayle and Elaine - I like the composition too so I think you must have a natural ability to 'see' and interpret - and come up with a unique style.
I'm sorry the critic you saw could only see the negative aspects - perhaps she likes super-realism and if so, then no, she won't appreciate this style.

Keep painting and developing your work - listen to what people say, take from it what you want and think you can use and ignore the rest!

11-02-2011, 06:57 PM
Thanks a lot !!! I was quite happy with this one... even if I can see much defaults (neck so strange, eyes and ears missing, hands a bit simple/bad, hat too big, empty background and things like that)... well... I love the colors !!! :)

What about putting a lot of material (acrylic) on the canvas ??? Is it the usual way ??? (Tubes are quite expensive in fact, and I spend the three last month painting watercolor... so I "used" to put thin glazes of material)... should I use gesso or gels or things like that ??

11-03-2011, 01:08 AM
Hi Baptiste!!
this is really a great painting, a unique style!
Alot of people have their own style, ideas,
technique and way it turns out they are very happy with.
Not everyone paints the same.. its how you wish to express a subject,
simply, painterly, detailed, thick or thinned textured... its all a personal choice.
Keep painting, experimenting and see what suits you best.
if your happy with it so be it.. not every portrait has to have perfect features, shapes,
its what makes us individuals.

I paint very thinly, inky consistancy, its what I enjoy and
how I started and How I get the the effect I'm looking for.
I use liquitex heavy body paints and
they go very far usuing small amts mixing with only water,, not as thin as watercolors though.

I would suggest you use Gesso on any surface you find, wrapped canvas,
canvas panels, Masonite. any surface your comfortable with.
Be sure to lightly sand before applying gesso on the surface..
and inbetween each layer of gesso and apply each layer in different direction.
This gives your paint more hold and less absorbtion into the support/canvas.
Using the gesso also helps fill in alot of the weave or texture... more you do the smoother surface gets..
helps if your doing very fine details like me
and makes fine lines less bumpy and smoother.
or thick and textured to give your painting texture Base under your colors.
Just a little info.
Can't wait to see your next painting.
Keep up the great work!!

Charlie's Mum
11-03-2011, 07:35 AM
Paint any way you like!
If you thin too much with water it may come off the surface, so judge the thickness - Kathie tells you how she uses it and it works!
Unless using paints as a heavy impasto, acrylics last a loooooong time.

If you don't want the colour of the canvas showing through, try adding colour to the gesso before applying it - yellow ochre or another earth colour ....... or try going wilder and adding a red coat over the gesso first, before painting the subject:D

11-03-2011, 07:43 AM
Baptiste, add another person who likes your painting. It has an intriguing quality that keeps me looking. :thumbsup:

I also don't like specks of white canvas showing through the paint. Some artists start with an under painting to cover the entire piece and that eliminates the problem. How you choose the color to use is something a real artist will have to help with. I think I'll ask. :smug:

11-03-2011, 02:11 PM
Don't get discouraged, if this is your style and you are happy with it, it's perfect.
There will always be some one who can find fault with some one else s creativity.
I like it.

11-04-2011, 10:10 AM
Thank you all !!!!

The only matter I have with gesso is that it mask my first drawing... a problem I can't resolve for the moment...

11-04-2011, 03:53 PM
Thank you all !!!!

The only matter I have with gesso is that it mask my first drawing... a problem I can't resolve for the moment...

First, Baptiste, let me say your English is a lot better than my French! :)

I put my drawing on the (dried) gesso, thereby not covering the drawing. Also, there is also black gesso, so you can mix a little with the white gesso to get greys, thereby hiding the white spots.


11-05-2011, 10:10 AM
I really like your style, it somehow reminds me of France in the 1920s

11-12-2011, 01:58 PM
Baptiste, your friend, I think, responded a bit too harshly... I find this painting intriguing. I really like your brush strokes throughout the piece.

If you find that you dislike the amount of canvas showing, just add another layer. You can follow your brush strokes and gradually build up the paint. It's one of the joys of such a versatile medium -- you can just paint over the parts you don't like and "fix" them.

Don't be discouraged. You're doing fine, really you are.

You can always gesso the canvas, then apply your drawing, and then seal your drawing with a clear, matte, fixative as well.

11-12-2011, 03:06 PM
I like your painting too! Don't let anyone discourage you...glad you posted it here after the critique.

11-16-2011, 03:51 PM
Thank you mates, excuse me for this delay, I'm working a lot this times...

Well... that's ok, I've heard...

The main thing that keeps on my mind is that there is twenty centimeters in excess on the top of the canvas... is it possible to nail it down and put it on a smaller "chassis" ???

11-16-2011, 05:45 PM
Just curious, were you trying to sell this to someone? Perhaps she was trying to bring your price down by criticizing the quality. In my opinion, you need to price a picture in your heart before you listen to what anyone says. At first, I would judge by how long it took, how big the canvas, how much paint but now, I just decide on how much I would pay (if I were buying). We pour our souls into our paintings and frankly, it's difficult to part with them because you'll never make an exact duplicate. It's a "one of a kind" creation that is very difficult to put a price on anyway but once you do, stick to your guns, believe in yourself and say "if they don't see the beauty, they are not ready to see".

As for the painting, I admire your portrayal of the hand holding the smoke, the choice of colour is also very "avant-garde" and must have been difficult to retain. I don't see a lack of paint nor anything else that she said. It's very unique in style and I'm sure if you continue with confidence you will develop this style. If I may pretend for a moment that I have money to spend...(no artist does), I would pay at least $1200.00 for this one.

Keep up the good work and don't let anyone tell you how good you are...you have to tell yourself....each and everyday.

All the best!
Levanty :wave:

11-16-2011, 06:49 PM
Stylewise I actually really like what you've done and see many positive things I could point out. The subject and luminosity is nice. The movement in the brushstrokes is appealing. The colours and 'hook' of the story in it are good. From a very 'gut' reaction - I like it and I would buy and hang something like this. Technical aspects... well, yes room for improvement (isn't there always?) but I would agree the critique was harsh!

If this persion is 'in the industry' or speaking from a gallery point of view, it also has to be born in mind what sort of perspective they will have. They may have a hyper critical eye because they must turn away 99% of what is submitted even by well known established artists who command high sales. They will look not just at technical but also 'market' aspects - what styles sell in their area, what is 'upcoming' as that is often bet on like stock markets, what is 'collectable' and if the 'name' is fashionable to draw the market and so on... not just what is good.

The majority of what is rewarding for an artist and has a definite market among the public mightn't be something that segment likes. That doesn't negate it's validity or that it may sell very well. I am an rank amature. Taught myself to draw in 2010, started teaching myself to paint this year for and have people from my 6th painting onward (the cat in my sig) wanting to commission and offering professional prices. Everything I do is amature and unmarketable from a gallery POV. :shrug: I enjoy it anyway and so do the people who buy it. I continue learning, considering others opinions and taking technical advice - I think there is always more to learn but I think while there is worth in being true to your vision and voice. You will be in good company if you consider how many of the artists who are largely considered among the most important and influential were considered gauche, ugly, immoral or far worse in their own day! :lol:

11-18-2011, 05:49 AM
Well I like it too! I agree with what someone else said, that maybe the person who criticised it just doesn't like that particular style of painting and prefers straight realism. I normally do traditional realism but I can still appreciate the style you have used. It gives the painting 'mood' and style! With this style, proportions etc don't have to be exact I don't think. I like the warm colours and I like the thinly painted parts where the light appears to shine through the scene. I like the composition and the person's position. The painting makes me wonder what the person was feeling and what their situation was. It has feeling, and to me, that's what makes it good.

11-18-2011, 09:10 AM
Well thank you buddies !!

In fact I wasn't asking for selling it, just for a "professional" opinion (with the secret hope to ear "that's great !! Would you like to sell it there ??)... noway, that forgotten now...

I would'nt sell it cheaper than 2000 euros, it is the second canvas I realize, the first I love, and I find it goes well on my own wall !!! ;)

I'm happy you can "feel" the mood or see what it is about !!! :)

I now just want to trim the upper part... is it possible to mount it on a smaller canvas ???

11-19-2011, 07:36 PM
Your painting looks great! I wouldn't be concerned and don't be discouraged by those comments. Your texture, colors and linework are all very sensitive and make a definite impact.
Have you ever heard of the painter Egon Schiele? your work reminds me of him a little bit; look him up online, and I think you will find a very kindred spirit to inspire you. No one would DARE say his paintings look like "beginner's work"! You have a certain style, keep going in that direction.
You are doing well I think.
Others have given such great technical advice, I can't add anything, but definitely coating the canvas with gesso, and then drawing on top of it, is the easiest way to get your results quickly and accurately.

Lady Carol
11-19-2011, 10:28 PM
I like this painting a lot. It has intrigue and keeps me captivated while I view the piece. But then what do I know, I do not sell art. I suspect your acquaintance has a particular opinion and it is not the opinion of eveyones. Take it at face value. Either learn from it or paint the way you want ( and I think you should keep to your esthetic). Don't trim the upper part, just define the top of the head a little better. That is all that it needs.

11-21-2011, 05:08 AM
Thanks !! Yes I know E.Schiele. He is one of my great favorite painter and artist... I'm glad you found here something from him...

Well Carol, I really like to trim the empty upper part !!!

11-22-2011, 02:08 AM
Being artists I think we have to take the criticism of our work not as a personal attack - that is hard I know as we lay our heart on the canvas every time we paint - we have to stand back and either disregard it altogether as unhelpful never to be thought of again or use it all or some of it (the actual technical, helpful, useful critique) constructively to improve our next piece. This all takes time and even the greatest artists say they will never reach the pinnacle and every painting gets them that bit closer. Your painting will touch the hearts of some and leave others cold. It is the same with every painting. Go to any gallery and there will be paintings on the wall that you cannot look away from and others you barely glance at. It is a personal reaction.

This particular painting I agree has mistakes/flaws but after reading all the comments you already have some really good advice to remedy these and you can either put those into action or leave the painting as is. It is your choice.