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Old 01-06-2002, 01:39 PM
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Roan Roan is offline
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"A' Cumail Faire Orinn" (Pastel, Portrait)

Title: "A' Cumail Faire Orinn"
Year Created: 2001
Medium: Pastel
Surface: Other
Dimension: 16 x 20
Allow digital alterations?: Yes!

Done from a black and white studio portrait a copy of which is also attached.

The main image is rather dark compared to the actual and the shadowed areas aren't nearly as prominent.

I'd like input on color, technique, etc., go for it, please :)


Last edited by scottb : 01-06-2002 at 11:14 PM.
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Old 01-07-2002, 07:52 AM
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ArtyHelen ArtyHelen is offline
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Hi Eileen!

I love this portrait. One of the things I like most, is the way the clear blue eyes and dress are enhanced by the red background. A bold and excellent choice.

You have also done a superb job with adding the colour using black and white reference!

I love this so much that I personally wouldn't change a thing. But I do have a few things to point out which might help for future portraits.

On the photo, we have a clear light source coming from the right. In the portrait, the light source is not as clear (not necessarily a bad thing) and there are areas which you have the same each side, when the light suggests there should be more contrast. For example, the shading for the eye sockets on the shadowed side could be darker than the shading on the lit side. (It already is, but perhaps a little more.) The lovely curls to the mouth, at the edges, could particularly do with being more different each side.

The other thing I notice is that you have the highlights in the eyes as bright-white round circles. Sometimes it looks nicer to have a softer and curved highlight (following the curve of the eyeball).

The expression you have on this face is priceless, and I applaud all your choices in making this portrait. All the above are just nit-picks which may help some time... or not.

Beautiful, Eileen!

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Old 01-07-2002, 09:29 AM
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philwms philwms is offline
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Very nice job. I do have one thing to point out. It seems to me that you have not really finished the areas around the subjects face... the necklace, shoulders, upper chest and dress. This, of course, is a known problem in portraiture ... once the likeness and face are done the rest is just sort'a filled in as quickly as possible. That can be a very nice style, but there should still be style to it, as in a Sargent or Zorn portrait... Otherwise, very nice indeed...

BTW... has anyone notice the subject's resemblance here to ZOTM'a pencil portrait with bugs ...? Could they be sisters?
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Last edited by philwms : 01-07-2002 at 09:33 AM.
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Old 01-09-2002, 03:10 AM
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glowbug glowbug is offline
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I took the image to photoshop and changed the red background to a mid blue slanting to ultramarine..... I feel this improved the overall picture harmony nicely.
Another area I feel could be improved is the thickness of her right upper lip(on our left) to match the width in the photo.
The shading on her anterior chest wall, which perhaps you have not yet finished, is not quite right as it is, and distorts her anatomy.
Her eyes are great, and I feel sure you have caught her spirit!
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Old 01-10-2002, 07:34 PM
bluespade bluespade is offline
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Becuase this is a painting from a photograph, i think you can improve on the photograph by not having "blown out" areas under the eyes. Meaning areas where there is almost nothing but white. If I do a photograph of somebody, I try to make sure there isn't much or any of such an area. Although some fashion portraits, do like that effect. Personally, I think on a style like this of an elegantlly dressed woman, I would make the light very soft, as if there were white bed sheets hanging between the light and the subject.
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Old 01-12-2002, 11:04 AM
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iyoung iyoung is offline
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Technique: the rendering of the portrait is excellent. Your translation from the black and white to the color likeness is well-done, painterly and stylish. I wouldn't mess with it. I think any problems people are seeing in the seeming lack of color in certain areas has to do with the background, not the figure, which leads me to...

Color: The colors within the figure and clothing are very good and cohesive: it is a blue based coloring which ties clothing, hair, eyes and skin tones together very well. However, I don't understand the red background. Unless it doesn't translate well to the monitor (which is always possible) it doesn't seem to "go" with the rest. If the sitter were truly in a red environment, the reflections and bounce of the red would be very evident in the skin tones, clothing, and hair highlights. The shadow areas would be very warm in the skin in a red environment and the lighter areas all-over sort of rosy. Additionally, it being the only really warm color in the portrait makes it seem very hot and, in contrast, the skin tones and clothing colors very cold. It also draws a great deal of attention to the outer corners of the rectangle where the red is hottest but nothing visually is going on.

I like the coloring of the figure very much, though, and would not like to see it changed to fit the background. Rather, I would prefer to see the red toned down, as you have done in the area closer to the figure, and some blue introduced to make the whole work as a painting rather than as a figure isolated against a backdrop.

Try it in photoshop and see what you think. I think your figure will come to vibrant life against a cooler backing.

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Old 01-12-2002, 03:13 PM
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bruin70 bruin70 is offline
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don't break up the head with dark value changes. make them subtle if you really need them.

it is best to "shade" the head with subtle light value. darks break the head up and make the sitter look old. you cannot be slavish to the photo as a result. look at it this way.....rather than use dark to create a form,,,a turn of a shape, keep the shape clean and simple and use a touch of light to turn it. here's my redo. i took out all your darks that were breaking up the head,,,then showed form by adding subtle lights. ie, by the right(her left) nostril,,,but the right(her left) eye. i eliminated most of that dark shadow below her nose.

you must also distinguish hilit from form light in the nose. everyone has this problem. the form light on the nose is a little darker than the rest of the face. what there is is HILITE, and people mistake hilite for form light. i corrected this.

essentially,,,all i did was to clean up the head......{M}

btw,,,notice,,,that when i cleaned up all the darks, the most important features(the eyes, nose, and mouth),,,popped out.

"it's alright to be judgmental,,,,,,,,if you have taste"...MILT

Last edited by bruin70 : 01-12-2002 at 05:25 PM.
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Old 04-22-2002, 08:27 PM
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Roan Roan is offline
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Ack, I guess any reply is better than no reply at all

Sorry for the lateness . . . I actually forgot I posted this and just remembered when I went to scan the transparency.

Thanks everyone for your comments!

I had Faire photographed and made into giclée prints, which were distributed to my family. They loved them!

Below please note a scan from the actual transparency made by Staples Fine Art:

Best I can do, but the image is MUCH better than the one I originally provided, above.

Some responses to comments and suggestions:

While I realize that you are FAR better at portraiture than I am, or probably ever will be, I'm not too enthusiastic about the finished look of the changes you've made. Hrm. The shape of her head is different now and she looks *too* young -- more like in her 20s or early 30s than the late 30s/early 40s she should be.

I do understand what you mean by the shadows, however. Dunno

Re: changing to a blue background
The original painting I did back in Dec of 2000 did have a blue background and I didn't like how *cold* it felt. Nothing to give real warmth to her or some nice warm lights. That's why I went with the Caput Mortuum instead. Comments about the shadows duly noted

Does the background still look too red in this new image?

I normally do finish portraits totally -- this is actually the first time I decided to go with the "unfinished" look. Can you point out a Sargent or Zorn portrait that I can take a look at too see what you mean exactly?


Thanks for your comments I deliberately worked to tone down the contrasts -- was hard tho
"Nan dèanadh mo làmh mar a dh'iarradh mo shùil!" --
If my hand could do as my eye would desire!

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