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Old 03-23-2005, 09:42 AM
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jocelynsart jocelynsart is offline
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Re: Evan

Hi Asis: OK, I am glad it helped a bit. It is hard to explain things in text.
The grey scale thing there is excellent. Now you can see that your values are pretty well on. It is the colours that are off as well as needing more value contrast, more 3 dimensional shading and light.
No, I hate having to rely on white. I'd rather use it because I want to not need to. Utilizing your surface white, lightly tinting it with thin layers where various levels of lights tends to look way more dimensional than having to add white or white tinted colours over darks. Only needing a very slight amount of white for very centers and highest levels in your highlights is what I tend to make my goal when laying down my values.
The portrait you had on here looks like a red based monochromatic underpainting. You could easily approach a portrait as a monochrome in any colour, neutralizing that colour with a contrasting colour for your shadows and darks and leaving it transparent where lights and highlights are to be, lightening where needed. I approached this however as you wanting to work more in the natural skin tones presented in the ref.
I think you will find that if you start more neutral with your building up of values, in the sepia like tones or grey greens, you may be able to stay away from those "orangey red" portraits. I used to have a tendancey to go way too "red" when I was first doing portraits on canvas in acrylic. It is easier to add reds than to try and take them away after they are on there too opaque. Start with thin layers for building values; you might find that works better for you.
The hair is excellent here btw! I think all it needs is a few highlighted areas and that part is pretty well done. The rest is just the values in the face and the cools. One thing too is to check his eyes. He has very large open eyes.
Jocelyn
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Old 03-23-2005, 09:57 AM
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DLGardner DLGardner is offline
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Re: Evan

Sandra, you have a beautiful likeness here and I congratulate you!

I understand your concern about your palette. The attempt you have made to use only three colors has been very successful. However, since flesh is reflective...meaning it takes on colors that surround it to a degree, I also think you need to add your cools.

This photograph seems to mute the colors that you would find in your skin tones especially in the shaded areas. Whereas the highlighted colors in the photo are very nice, I don't think this would be the best reference for a portrait.

Unfortunately a photograph is not going to give you a complete likeness when it comes to color. Very seldom in fact will a photograph guide you to that sparkle that you need to bring your painting to life. Whereas you may not be able to get this young man to sit for you, I want to suggest try painting from life at least a few times so that you learn to understand the intricate and complicated tones of the flesh.

A good neutralizing color for flesh tone, among others, is Chromiun Green Oxide.


Don't be afraid to mix your white in. There is no law saying you can't use white! Yes one can overdo it but personally I think white is essential when used properly. Naples yellow also makes a wonderful lightener.

As mentioned in Jerry's post, observing is the best thing you can do. Take a section of the face -for instance his brow. I see blue tones there. Sublte yes, but there is blue in that flesh color. Then around his mouth I see the yellows and greens. As I said before this photo isn't really good for seeing it and if you could get the young man to sit for you in a natural light just for the sake of finding the color in the skin tone, than do so by all means.

One other thing that you might want to do to improve your lovely beginning is to get bolder with your light source. Joss showed you a really bold contrast with shadows. Don't be afraid to get those contrasts in there. Its always hard at first. Look at some really good portraits that have been done and see the contrasts in them.

I commend you for taking the steps you have, especially for the critique. Its not easy having others comment on your work. But you will reap the reward!
Good job!

Dianne
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Old 03-23-2005, 04:21 PM
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Re: Evan

Thank you, thank you Jocelyn and Dianne. I welcome any and all critiques and suggestions. I am anxious to get HONEST opinions. I think everyone has shown remarkable restraint in not saying, "what could she be thinking?!"

I failed to mention at the very beginning, that I started this painting by doing an underpainting in terre verte. I had read somewhere that this was a good color to use under skin tones. I picked out a formula for light pink skin out of a book I had, but the colors were a lot more red than I thought they would be. I particularly thought that using aliz. crim. would give a light pink. (I used white, aliz. crimson and burnt sienna for the skin.) I am going to give a lot of thought to what you both have said and might even do another one of Evan from the beginning. I often do the same portrait two or three times. The reason I used this photo (even though I knew it was not a good reference) was because this is my daughter's favorite picture of her son. He is 6 hours away, so I don't have much opportunity to look at him in person.

What I do not have in talent, I am going to make up in sheer perserverence.

Thanks again.

Sandra
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Old 03-25-2005, 05:07 PM
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Re: Evan

Still a work in progress. Sandra
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Old 03-25-2005, 06:42 PM
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Re: Evan

Quote:
Originally Posted by asis

What I do not have in talent, I am going to make up in sheer perserverence.

Thanks again.

Sandra

Sandra,
I love your quote about perserverence - I feel the same way! Can I ask what colors you are using now? The skin tones are still coming across as very hot.
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Old 03-26-2005, 06:52 AM
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Re: Evan

Thanks, Eileenclaire. The skin tones are not as hot as in the picture. I have been using an almost magenta color on the left side. The right side does not have the yellows that the picture shows. The picture will just have to be of "Evan with a Tan"

What I am happy about is that I have been able to stop being such a wuss and get some of the shadows in. I am going to finish this one in the red tones and start again from scratch on another one of Evan using a much lighter pallet. This one is too far along.

I know you saw the thread "Ego Tripping - Self Portrait." I would love to know the pallet she used for the second picture.

Sandra
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Old 03-26-2005, 10:12 AM
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Re: Evan

Hi! Coming in late here...

Just wanted to add my 2cents about light, shadow, temp, etc. Like was said before, skin takes on colors around it. Keeping that in mind, the light areas take on the temperature of the light that is falling onto it. Think of different times of day... think about the kind of light that would fall onto you if you were stanging on the beach next to a cool ocean. Think about that in contrast to the light when the sun is setting on a hot day and everything is orangish.

The general rule that I go by is that the shadows take on the opposite temperature as the lights... I theorize that this is simply because of the juxtaposition, but you could think of it being the absence of the warm light makes the shadow cool, or vice versa.

Along the edge of the shadow, the color is 'true'... meaning that it is nearly the real flesh color. There also often seems to be a shadow core, where there is a stroke of intense color.

So... try to observe these things in real life (stare at people!) ans also in art. I think it's a good idea to surf the web and look at new work. Think about what they have done and why. I, personally, found that working with the primary colors and white really helped me. I found before that I wanted to make everything really red... but once I just used the primaries (ie, no brown base to start from) I really began to use a range of temps.

Next painting, you might want to try something with natural lighting. Or, at least shot with one light source... I find that those 'studio' pictures even everything out too much and don't leave much there to observe.

Great start by the way! Congrats on realizing that it's not a talent you are born with.. it's work and study! I wish more people would understand that!

-Lacey
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Old 03-27-2005, 01:47 AM
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Re: Evan

Quote:
Originally Posted by jocelynsart
As you can see, the portrait is still way too hot. However, neutralizing areas with a mixed tan or greeney tan will help. Highlights need to be increased too. Think more tan and rose as opposed to red and yellow. You can dry brush over large areas to neutralize your tones, then use lights and shadows where needed. You can put glowing shots of more hot colours on jaw edges, inside ear crevices, around eyelid insides (tearduct areas), in less deep areas of nostrils, on back part of eyelid fat and in eyelid creases, a bit on sides of nostrils and nose.
On the next image here I circled areas where I would consider cool neutras and darkish shadows, darkness or contrast depending on the lighting conditions.
Hope it helps a bit. Good luck and keep practicing above all!
Jocelyn
Say, Jocelyn, I don't know from Greek warm and cool either, and just do it. Could you take a look at one of mine and give me your opinion on it? TIA Greg
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Old 03-27-2005, 08:46 AM
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Re: Evan

I popped back in to see how you were doing :-) Asis, I am still not really sure why you used all the red to paint this. I hope I am not coming across as overly critical :-) I am just trying to figure out some things in order to try and help you. I have done red monochromatic figures so I am not critisizing using Red lol. It is one of my favourite colours. However, I think the overabundance of it's use here to create your portrait is what is causing you to have problems moving with the skin tone palette. Of course, if it was intentional to have this portrait red toned then there are ways to work with this. Doing a portrait in un natural colours is exciting and can be pushed far to make for a really interesting, expressionistic and dramatic portrait. However, I think I am correct in assuming you wanted more natural skin tone here? I just want to double check before commenting any more. I feel the red is making this difficult to proceed with for you, right? Basically, you are going to have to layer quite opaquely over this base of reds to get a more natural skin toned portrait happening. That is not to say it cannot have shots of red in it.
I think for this I would have started in with the pinky tan/sienna area to begin blockign in mids and darks, leaving the canvas pretty bare or still able to be seen in the light areas. White I find is really weird when you have to go over darks with it to lighten or make highlights. It goes hazy and unnatural, kind of liek cartooney or something. It happens more when I used to airbrush and I am unsure if I am getting it through right in text. As I have said, set it up ion your beginnign stages so that you are goign lighter from mids and lights and darker from mids and darks. That way you are doing less work and you won't have that struggle of changeling the values dramatically to correct them. Transparency at the beginning helps alot to avoid having to make major value and tone corrections that can really give that muddy overworked look and frustration when painting.
One idea I have for you is to start fairly small, 5"x7" to 8"x10". Just pick a good ref photo, draw up a small face and practice with your acrylics. Canvas may be hard to work small due to the texture but you can use illustration board, like Bainbridge, something with some tooth. I prefer Strathmore ill. brd., but watercolour paper can also do. Get used to your materials and know through lots of hands on trial and error what they do and how you paint. You don't need to finish these portraits, just stop them when you feel you have reached a result you liek or they taught you somethgin you can carry to the next one. Then you can go to a more major portrait and practice all the stuff you learned through trial and error on your practice pieces. You'll have a developed rythmn goign by then and you'll know how minimal or opaque to make your steps and also some sense of when, how and where to add your paints. By no means will this perfect it but you'll have a good stepping stone progress going.
Cool and Warm Colours: I'll try to remember this as best I can since it has been almost 20 yrs since I actually sat through colour theory. There is also a Forum in WC if I am not mistaken, that deals with Colour. I could be wrong.
Basically, I think Water, Ice Blue for cool colours. I think Heat, Fire Orange for warm colours. Then, I branch out. How much blue and how much orange/yellow does a colour have appearance wise. Then, it gets complicated. Some colours, like greens and purples and even reds can be cool or warm depending on what other colours they are beside. IE: If you have a painting that is mostly reds and oranges-90%, a purple added into it would be cool in contrast. In a painting that is mostly blues, greys blacks, that same purple could take on a warm feel. Some colours teeter on the fence depending on what percentage of the painting is opposite cool or warm colours. A red can be cool if it has some blue added to it when mixing it, beside a very orangey red. Cadmium light red is very warm beside an Alizarin or Rose Madder (more purpley reds) It is all a matter of balance and colours visually affectign other colours around them. Greens can be warm if they are very yellowy or ochrey, beside a predominantly cold palette like silvers, grey blues, etc. This is where abstract work can really be a great help. It is all about placement of colours, how they affect colours around them, as well as texture, receding, coming forward, etc. You can apply all this type of balancing to a representational object or subject as well.
You have a whole scale of warm greys and cool greys. This is an easy way to see the difference becuase they are so neutral. Warm greys verge on tans, cool greys verge on that blue grey.
For painting objects or people, usually, the lower the light the more intense the pigment is, then it goes into dark blackness (lack of light therefore no colour reflected back). If you have alot of light hitting a surface, the colours are less (saturated) and go into very light shades, usually cooler. Hot colours are usually found just before the area falls into shadow completely. Therefore you'll see a more intense shade of orange on a cheek bone just before it turns into a shaded area.
Maybe, do get some painting tapes or have a look at sites such as William Whittaker, where he has great examples and demos. Just study where and how he uses colour and light and shadow as well as background colours, in his portraits. Don't worry about the skill level of the work.
Basically, for Greg too, just Llok at many many people's faces in many different light sources or daily situations. Take mental notes. I'll say things to myself like: "look how much grey green is in that skin", "look how minimal the colour intensity is" "look at that strong orange highlight below her cheek bone", "look at how little red is in that dark shaded area, it is mostly fading into a sea of neutral greens, eliminating details", "look at the reds and crimsons around the eyelid rims", "look at the shape that makes when the head is turned a bit", "look at the blues refecting near her ear and temple" Sounds stupid writing these thoughts out but.... stuff like that. :-) Eventually, you'll have a good store of it to call upon when doing portraits.
One thign is, no one can just write down a set of instructions to follow step by step and a portrait then can be achieved by someone following them. You have to take bits and pieces from anything you feel is helpful, look and study alot of different portraits by many artists, don't be afraid to practice, fail, practice, fail....., and try to set up a schedule of practice and learnign that suits you, your time availbility and where you personally beging to be happy with your results. One thing to try and Avoid is looking at a specific artist's work and setting a goal to "paint like that". It is hard, I know, I do it, but, artists will progress faster if they get to know their own work and develop that to where their work pleases themselves.
I hope I am not being overbearing. I know you are looking for some assistance while you practice and learn so I am trying to give as much as I can. One thing I'd do if I were you, is get a book on painting portraits in acrylic (if that is the medium you want to concentrate on). One book I do know that is good, watercolour though, is Chris Saper's Glowing Watercolour Portraits (unsure of the exact title). Most of those books are overpriced to buy new so look for used ones or maybe even on eBay.
Jocelyn
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Old 03-27-2005, 11:56 AM
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Re: Evan

Jocelyn - thank you so much for all the time you have taken. I have worked some more on Evan. I took another picture and when I put it on the computer screen, my husband said, "why is it so red?" So, I showed him the portrait and he said it didn't look as red as it was on the computer. He also said he liked the first one I did better than the current one. Arghhh.

I don't know how I ended up so red. My beginning pallet was aliz. crimson, white and burnt sienna. I guess the burnt sienna was too red.

The first one I tried was of "Nick" and I thought it was too purple. I really have to go over your post in more detail. I am taking a workshop on color in a couple of weeks and am hoping this will help. I am working in oil on board, but may do some practice ones on canvas paper. I have to print out your comments and study them more closely.

I am going to try to post another picture that is closer to the original. Don't be alarmed at the background. I am still playing with it.

Thanks again. Sandra
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Old 03-27-2005, 12:31 PM
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Re: Evan

Portrait I did of Evan last year and one I am doing now. Sandra
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Old 03-27-2005, 03:45 PM
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Re: Evan

Wow, you have come far in a year's time!
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Old 03-27-2005, 05:01 PM
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Re: Evan

I forgot to thank Dianne and Lacey. I appreciate everyone who has taken time to give suggestions.

Thank you Eileenclaire for your nice compliment.

Sandra
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Old 03-28-2005, 12:32 PM
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Re: Evan

Wow, Sandra, there you go. This is looking great!
One thing I will not in this thread is something I observed today while playing Monopoly by a dining room window.
Natural light was faling on my son's face as well as my daughter's. The areas where more light fell, the tones were cooler and far less saturated with pigment. There were roses, tans, mauves and some soft yellowy tones. In the more shaded side, as it went further from the light from the window, the pigments increased in intensity, were more warmer just as they turned into full shade and the defining shadows under the eyes, nose, etc had more crimson in them and less neutral grey browns.
The coolest tones seem to be where the light is hitting and the more intense, warmer tones are in the shaded areas.
Jocelyn
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Old 03-28-2005, 02:12 PM
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Re: Evan

Thought I would throw this in for discussion.

In the book, How to Paint Living Portraits by Roberta Carter Clark, she says on page 121:

".....the values on the head vary from lightest on the forehead band, to slightly darker on the nose-cheek-ear band, to still darker on the chin and jaw. The color of the skin tone varies in a similar manner: the forehead band is more golden, more yellow; the nose-cheek-ear band is warm, more rosy, or ruddy; and the chin and jaw is bluer, grayer, or greener."

I was wondering how this could be since I have read so many places that the cool and warm have so much to do with the lighting.

Sandra
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