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  #46   Report Bad Post  
Old 01-02-2009, 12:29 AM
carolinekatie carolinekatie is offline
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Re: Portrait from a digital photo without tracing

I second this! It is inspiring. The colours, the values, dead right on. Amazing. Too bad there is no little "emoticon" with his jaw on the floor, but instead I'll put this one to show my amazement!!
What a treat for the forum, and for you to have taken the time to share your methods is just so lucky for all of us trying to learn!
Thank you Tali, and I hope you had a wonderful New Year,
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Old 01-04-2009, 06:41 PM
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Jumping Gemini Jumping Gemini is offline
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Re: Portrait from a digital photo without tracing

I haven't been on this site in about a year and for some unknown reason I stumbled across your thread. I am going to print it out for some friends and try to use your methods myself. I am so grateful to you for taking the time to share your wonderful gift with us and for showing and explaining the steps. I can't wait to try your techniques.

Thank you so much!
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Old 01-06-2009, 07:29 PM
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tali tali is offline
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Re: Portrait from a digital photo without tracing

Than you so much mrscahplain, carolinekatie and jumping GeminióI really hope this method proves helpful to you. I actually put it together for Marie herself since she doesnít like the idea of copying and tracing, and doesnít seem to have the patience for a painted value study. I have used all of those approaches, in order to speed up my learning curve. But by far the most beneficial has been to paint and draw from life. Hopefully practicing this technique will motivate readers to try their hand at painting from a live model, which is such a rare treat for me.

I do have a few questions... I have been searching the internet to find out more about the rectangle armature, but haven't had much luck. I created the armature layer over a photo I am using for a portrait....there are so many lines, that I'm not certain how to make sense of it...., so here is my question...is there a book that you can recommend? I am interested in learning more about how to decipher what I am seeing when using the rectangle armature. And, are there other books/sources that you can recommend regarding the facial mapping technique? I also created a layer with the mapping technique you described. I am VERY excited to try this out. I work in pastels, so I will have to figure out how to transfer some of these lines to my paper,

So here is a list of helpful resources. I do not personally know these artists nor am I paid to advertise for them. Iíve just found the books enormously helpful and/or interesting.
The armature, there are a couple books Iíve read on the subject:
ē The Science of Art: Optical Themes in Western Art from Brunelleschi to Seurat by Martin Kemp
This one is for the serious scholaróit will take me years to understand it all, but itís fascinating and well written. The author has other books that look to be a yummy read.
ē Classical Painting Atelier: A Contemporary Guide to Traditional Studio Practice by Juliette Aristides
This one is easier to understand and more instructively oriented. The composition segment is only a small portion of what the book covers, and is fairly straight forward. IMO a must have for any serious student.

Specifically for portrait painting, the following are my portrait ďbiblesĒ:
ē Painting Beautiful Skin Tones With Color & Light in Oil, Pastel and Watercolor by Chris Saper
Iíve read it over and over, each time taking in more and more. Saperís clear instruction is priceless, and her understanding of color and light an inspiration. I canít sing its praises enough or thank the author enough for sharing her experience and knowledge. Saperís website is also a feast for the eyes, so be sure to pay her site a visit! Her articles, Portraiture and the Pursuit of Excellence are very informative to artists pursuing portraiture as well as eye opening to those commissioning portraits.
ē Portraits from Life in 29 Steps by John Howard Sanden
Very clear and well written by a modern master. I am resistant to his premixed paints, but the information on them is very helpful. Not everyone can have that kind of studio setup (myself included), but the information is valuable and applicable.

ē Karin Wells Studio
An excellent blog focusing mostly on old master techniques. Karin is not a color lover like I am, not does she paint thickly like I do. But her experience and knowledge are far more advanced than my own, and I canít even tell you how much Iíve learned from her! Iíve read all her posts. Take some time to browse the blog, and itís all free! Karinís a class act.

Color/colour resources:
ē Painting the Impressionist Landscape: Lessons in Interpreting Light and Color by Lois Griffel
Iím embarrassed to say that when I first read this book, I understood very little of it. I simply couldnít see the warm/cold and different color variations that Griffel spoke of. But after experimenting with colors and trying to observe from life a little more closely, Griffelís words started making more sense, and suddenly I started seeing color everywhere! It was also from this book that I got the idea of painting with a palette knife. Highly recommended for all experience levels, and a tremendous influence on my personal vision. The color/value chart was very helpful in enabling me to see colors AS values.

ē Handprint.com
This is such a vast resource, that I have still not read all the way through, but use more as a reference for palette color selection. It is written for watercolors, but the pigment information applies across the board. Worth exploring, especially if you love color! Iím getting to the point that Iím memorizing the pigment numbers and the pigment qualities! To start off read the palette section, then tonal value, and the artist color wheel from the color theory section. Trust me, these three areas will keep you reading for days! This site can be quite overwhelming, with all the information. My best advice is start with the sections Iíve recommended, read all the way through, THEN start clicking on the links, again reading all the way through, and returning to you initial page before continuing deeper into the site. This is hard advice to follow as there are links to click on all over the place, but if you do, the information starts making a little more sense.

Now to answer the question about the armature. Sheesh, count on me to give such a long answer to such a short question! The diagonals are there to show you the quarters, half, thirds and fourths both horizontally and vertically (I was just too lazy to label them all). You have to choose which ones to use as guides. You can even create new ones from the division marks. Hereís what I used for Marie, loosely. Think of this as tangent lines for areas of the painting you want to focus on or to create movement. This is really not my area of expertise, as composition tends to come more intuitively to me. Just move your subject around until you find a nice fit.

Next to transfers your landmark guidelines you can make your own transfer paper out of tracing paper. I brushed a fine acrylic pumice medium to the tracing/acetate paper to give it some tooth. Then when it dry, rubbed a soft pastel into it. Use whatever color will work best. You can use this transfer paper over and over again. Just be sure to press very gently as to not dent your pastel surface. Then spray some workable fixative on it. I suppose you could also do it with graphite transfer paper.
Hope this helps! If anyone else has ideas or input please feel free to jump in!

Last edited by tali : 01-06-2009 at 07:37 PM.
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Old 01-06-2009, 10:09 PM
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Gail V Gail V is offline
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Re: Portrait from a digital photo without tracing

Tali - thank you so much for all this valuable information!!!! I will definitely buy some of the books you mention and spend hours and hours and hours :-) checking out the websites you listed. I really appreciate the time you took to answer the questions. In addition to what you just posted, this entire thread really helped me on a portrait I am currently working on. After following your steps, I found that one of the eyes was a little off....and I was able to fix it early in the process. :-) Thanks!!!
Vermeer - painter of light.
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Old 03-06-2009, 12:21 PM
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cathaden cathaden is offline
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Re: Portrait from a digital photo without tracing

Again, THANK YOU!! You are so generous to share your knowledge; the picture is wonderful and your use of color is inspiring. You have built lots of good Karma :~) !
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Old 03-26-2009, 02:54 PM
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tali tali is offline
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Re: Portrait from a digital photo without tracing

Thank you Gail and Cath. I hesitate to bump the thread up again but Iím so excited about this that I couldnít hold back and thought it was an excellent demonstration of the unique qualities of oil paint. The painting has really deepened and mellowed now, with the burnt umber underpainting doing its job. I took a photo before sending the painting off, Iím glad I waited, since itís rare for me to be able to see how my paintings age. Look at the difference!! I color corrected all of the following images at the time the photo was taken, though the light color cast is a smidge different. While different monitors will show them differently, I think everyone can appreciate the difference a few months made. While most of the opaque colors (very few) have stayed the same, she no longer looks sunburned, and the transparent colors in the halftones and shadows are visually mixing to desaturate the skin tones. This has been such a learning experience!

and now:

The close up come the closest to the colors/values IRL, it's also close in size to the original.

Last edited by tali : 03-26-2009 at 03:01 PM.
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Old 03-26-2009, 03:05 PM
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cardboardcutout cardboardcutout is offline
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Re: Portrait from a digital photo without tracing

Thanks for sharing I'll have to come back a few times to reread this.....need to let it all sink in but great info. This was fun .Thanks again

The darkest part of the light is always lighter then the lightest part of the dark
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Old 03-26-2009, 04:13 PM
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tony1 tony1 is offline
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Re: Portrait from a digital photo without tracing

I'm glad you bumped it up again, I didn't get back to see the final product. Some day when I grow up I'm going to do portraits and I'll use this thread as a tutorial.

Just excellent work. Great vibrant colors. Just fantastic.
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Old 03-27-2009, 08:15 AM
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LynnDigby LynnDigby is offline
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Re: Portrait from a digital photo without tracing

wow, Tali! I missed this thread until now! Ask ME if I mind this being bumped up again!

I am so grateful to have caught this. What a wonderful thing you did to document your very effective working process.

I hope that someone will archive this as a permanent thing. It's one of the best threads I've read that takes us through the whole process of working a portrait. And with the added bonus of your amazing color sense!

This is a true keeper!

Thanks for taking the time and effort to write this.
L Y N N - D I G B Y
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Old 03-27-2009, 03:14 PM
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Spyderbabe Spyderbabe is offline
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Re: Portrait from a digital photo without tracing

Tali - by popular request I made this a sticky at the top of the WIP forum. There is so much valuable infomation here we want to be able to find it quickly! Thank you for doing this!
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Old 03-27-2009, 11:13 PM
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tali tali is offline
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Re: Portrait from a digital photo without tracing

Oh wow, what an honor! Maybe I should have checked for typos more carefully, LOL! Thanks Spyder, Lynn, Cardboard, and Tony for easing my mind and the encouraging comments. Tony, I think youíd do portraits very well, Iíve seen a lot of great work from you. Cardboard, I think a lot of the principles could easily apply to animals as well, and while it is a lot to take in, youíre already doing much of this with your beautiful paintings, but probably donít even think about it. I have to admit this was very intimidating; as there are so many that have tons more experience, education, and expertise in portraiture and painting. Lynn, thank you so much for saying the thread has some value. I am a huge fan of your work and thorough critiques like many others on the forum. I would enjoy hearing your (or anyone elseís for that matter) thoughts, or alternative methods on some of the ideas I presented. I'm sure the input would be valuable to the thread. The portrait should be arriving in Australia any day now. Itís rather odd to paint someone Iíve never seen IRL, so a little more nerve-wracking than the usual ďrevealĒ to the client, just a little.
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Old 04-06-2009, 11:08 PM
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greensyster greensyster is offline
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Re: Portrait from a digital photo without tracing

I was hoping to include a photograph of myself with True Colours framed as she arrived here over a week ago. But due to family circumstances I have been unable to get to the framer.

However I can no longer keep quiet as True Colours graces what may in a formal world be called our mantlepiece and Tom and I enjoy her all the time and friends who call in gasp (literally) and admire and compliment the artist as to what has been captured and everyone is as surprised as Tom and I that such could be painted without ever seeing the subject.

Also during the day True Colours changes quite magically, wearing a soft dawn light, bright attire through mid-day and then seems to become (dare I say it) almost sensuous as evening falls.

Tali - I take my sun hat off to you and thank you for this amazingly beautiful image which we treasure.

Marie's FaceBook Marie's Website
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Old 04-07-2009, 01:48 PM
Latchu Latchu is offline
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Re: Portrait from a digital photo without tracing

Hi Tali - This is been a very interesting and informative thread!! Great!!
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Old 07-08-2009, 07:54 AM
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Wayne Gaudon Wayne Gaudon is offline
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Re: Portrait from a digital photo without tracing

Holy Crap .. I think I'll wait till I retire before I tackle something of this magnitude .. the painting is stunning.
BTW that means I like it, A Lot.
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Old 07-12-2009, 05:00 PM
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OziAfricana OziAfricana is offline
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Re: Portrait from a digital photo without tracing

Hi Tali,

I knew this would be an awesome painting and I was right! I am applying this method on a painting and got stuck when I had to draw the outlines. What pencil did you use for the outlines and how did the ball point pen disappear at the end?
Linda Adiele
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