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Old 11-29-2019, 08:54 PM
offcentre offcentre is offline
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Beginner Portrait.....documented

Hi. My first post and in a spirit of optimism I am going to try to document here my first proper attempt at oil painting. I don't get a great deal of time for creative endeavors. It might take a while so bear with. I welcome all comment and criticism, I am absolutely here to learn.

So, I love drawing and thats all I've really ever done up to now. Black and white. Lines and curves, easy. Colour has always scared me a bit, my mind is just a bit confused with the concept. But I really want to create a lovely colourful painting in oils, and have realised that slapping it on the canvas and hoping for the best doesn't work.

I have read through a couple of great tutorials on here, and the concept of starting with a value painting appeals...just one colour, so we're back to what I am confident with...great. I'm off...

My printers not working so I dug out a nice picture of my daughter I've drawn before and sketched this onto canvas this evening. I took a tracing of the outline of the eyes nose and mouth and shape of the face. I'm sure I've gone a little overboard with this, but I just got into it. Plus for me, at this stage, the more detail the better I think.




This is a card canvas. Actually on the other side is a previous attempt, very much of the slap it on and see what happens school...



Its Saturday tomorrow. I have a party to attend so lets see if I get any time to paint.

Actually its Saturday today....I have to go to bed.
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Old 11-29-2019, 10:26 PM
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Re: Beginner Portrait.....documented

Looks good.
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Old 11-30-2019, 12:02 AM
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Re: Beginner Portrait.....documented

Very nice so far, take care to be very aware of your value transitions, they are a bit stark at the moment which may be distorting the likeness. Do you plan to glaze for the color steps or mix and paint directly over?
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Old 11-30-2019, 05:38 AM
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Re: Beginner Portrait.....documented

Welcome to WC!

I agree with Delo, but want to stress just how good this start is for a beginner! I'm looking forward to seeing your progress.
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Old 11-30-2019, 09:12 AM
TomMather TomMather is offline
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Re: Beginner Portrait.....documented

You’re off to a great start. The likeness is excellent in both images, which can be difficult for many artists. Color is a whole new ball of wax. However, many artists start their portraits with monotone value paintings in shades of gray, blue or green and then layer colors over that.
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Old 11-30-2019, 01:16 PM
offcentre offcentre is offline
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Re: Beginner Portrait.....documented

Okay, I thought I might be getting too detailed, but your comments suggest not and after a bit of searching I see the Flemish technique explained online and that was using a very detailed drawing. So I've carried on today, adding more of the mid-tones and a bit more detail on the hair.

Its taken about 3-4 hours altogether so far. Another hour or so and I'll be thinking about the next step.



I have a few questions about the next stage and would welcome any comments

So I realised I hadn't toned the canvas first, but then the flemish tutorial also did the drawing first then toned after, but I think if I tone I will lose most of the detail I have done. Any advice?
Is there a particular grisialle colour good for skin tones?
Should I use oil paint straight from the tube for the grisaille? I really have very little knowledge about what I should do between squeezing the tube and putting it on the canvas.

have a nice evening....ross.
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Old 11-30-2019, 08:53 PM
offcentre offcentre is offline
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Re: Beginner Portrait.....documented

Quote:
Originally Posted by Delofasht
Very nice so far, take care to be very aware of your value transitions, they are a bit stark at the moment which may be distorting the likeness. Do you plan to glaze for the color steps or mix and paint directly over?

I have added some more detail for value transitions.

With regards to your question, I have no idea. To be honest I don't even understand the question....I have no idea how I will go about adding colour to the value picture.
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Old 11-30-2019, 09:04 PM
offcentre offcentre is offline
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Re: Beginner Portrait.....documented

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnieA
Welcome to WC!

I agree with Delo, but want to stress just how good this start is for a beginner! I'm looking forward to seeing your progress.

Thanks for the welcome. I am not a beginner at drawing. It has been a hobby on and off for years. I am a beginner at paintng and colour. I mean...I know almost nothing about painting and am just starting to learn about colour. The Colour Mixing Bible just turned up today, by Ian Sidaway
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Old 12-01-2019, 12:14 PM
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Re: Beginner Portrait.....documented

Okay, so there are a couple methods to achieve the color, by glazing (applications of thin layers of paint that act like looking through panes of colored glass overlaid one another) or direct painting (thicker, more opaque applications of paint).

When glazing, the underpainting acts as the values and all one is doing when coloring is effectively tinting the map, values get darker with subsequent layers of glazed color, so the map of values is usually compressed into the lighter range (a full range, just not as dark).

For direct painting, the underpainting helps one establish all the value relationships, and mixing up your colors on the palette means adjusting the values of the color to match those of the target value in your underpainting value map. This lets you quickly mix to a target value and get the relationships correct.

Each has their uses, but generally speaking I find much more information on direct painting with oil paints than I do for glazing.
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Old 12-01-2019, 01:40 PM
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Re: Beginner Portrait.....documented

Quote:
Originally Posted by offcentre
Okay, I thought I might be getting too detailed, but your comments suggest not and after a bit of searching I see the Flemish technique explained online and that was using a very detailed drawing. So I've carried on today, adding more of the mid-tones and a bit more detail on the hair.

Its taken about 3-4 hours altogether so far. Another hour or so and I'll be thinking about the next step.



I have a few questions about the next stage and would welcome any comments

So I realised I hadn't toned the canvas first, but then the flemish tutorial also did the drawing first then toned after, but I think if I tone I will lose most of the detail I have done. Any advice?
Is there a particular grisialle colour good for skin tones?
Should I use oil paint straight from the tube for the grisaille? I really have very little knowledge about what I should do between squeezing the tube and putting it on the canvas.

have a nice evening....ross.

Brilliantly, fantastic start for your first effort.. There is such a thing as learning by experience which unfortunately isn't encouraged often enough. We humans love our formulas, follow along step by step demos, and paint by number sets rather than dedicated, thought provoking, sober effort. As a society in general, we've gone from learning a craft with earnest, dedicated effort, experimentation and commitment over a long period of time to whatever gets one there expediently. (the use of projectors and tracing for example) But I digress..

Take your time, evaluate your work as honestly as you can and move forward from there.

Clearly, you have good drawing skills, so if I were you, I'd build on that and not on any direction that might stifle or impinge on your own directed growth. Experiment and challenge yourself and always be free from the fear of failure.

Your values are better than they are not.. You can easily tell by squinting at your painting and taking notice of the hot spots and or the flat holes that are sometimes present in work that relies too heavily on details from a photographic reference. I try to always keep the form in mind, rather than the minute detail of every dimple, pimple or blemish. This doesn't change if the reference is from a photo or if i'm painting from life.

See the BIG PICTURE..

With most portraits, where the artist hasn't chosen a dramatic illustrative look, which is nearly always the case especially in commission work, keeping values close and modeling form by color temperature is a good approach. Keeping wrinkles and plane changes softer and less impact-full, especially on portraits of women and children is also a good approach, especially when you're learning.. The more dramatic lighting effects can come later when you've put a few miles of canvas behind you..

Here are a couple of examples in charcoal, the first one the values are very close yet the form still models properly, the other more dramatic lighting. In both cases the reference was photographic, the approach however, was prescribed by me and my objective not the photo.

Good luck and well done, look forward to seeing you progress..


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Old 12-01-2019, 03:42 PM
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Re: Beginner Portrait.....documented

Nice start! Delo pretty much explained the process for Flemish style... Started learning portrait painting as well (had some drawings done but not so much painting). Looking forward seeing it completed.

Beautiful portraits by Fausto as well!

Zoran

P.S. there was some type of glitch earlier, hopefully it will not show twice the same message.
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Old 12-01-2019, 06:43 PM
offcentre offcentre is offline
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Re: Beginner Portrait.....documented

Thank you delo. I have spent some time today reading about the two approaches. I don't think I have the patience for glazing right now so I will be going for the more opaque direct painting approach. Although its all going to be trial and error, as Fausto so eloquently says, there is much to be said for the working it out for yourself approach. At this stage, I don't really understand how its all going to work so there's going to be a lot of working it out as I go along. I'm just going to take it a step at a time, and try not to rush and make a mess.

So here's what I plan to do next and some questions if I may...

1. I'm quite happy with the drawing on the canvas so I'm going to move onto a grisaille.
2. I will do a grey grisaille with a bit of green as I have read that is good for skin tones.
3. I think I should be using just the paint mixed with a little linseed oil...so not diluted at all. I imagine I will apply this quite thin, but still thick enough to cover the area of the canvas.
4. I need to mix something like 8 or 10 tones of my colour. My darkest will be a mix of green and grey, and they will get progressively lighter through adding white to that dark mix.
5. I then do the grisaille. I don't know if I approach this by painting all the bits of that shade, then take the next shade and paint all the bits that match that, or should I have all my shades on my palette and instead kind of finish the picture as I go.

Does any of this sound right?

I think the mixing is going to take me quite a lot of time to get right and I only get a couple of hours here and there for painting, so I'm going to have to mix all my values and then somehow try and preserve those for the next sessions. Is that possible to save it from one week to the next?

I won't have any more time for this until next weekend, but that gives me a chance to do a bit of study on painting a grisaille and direct painting and glazing. And maybe start to mix my tones if I can store them somehow.

Thanks for the advice and encouragement
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Old 12-01-2019, 06:48 PM
offcentre offcentre is offline
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Re: Beginner Portrait.....documented

Oh and lovely pictures by the way Fausto.
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Old 12-01-2019, 08:48 PM
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Re: Beginner Portrait.....documented

I would only make up around 5 steps of value, block those in and because we are working in oil, simply blend on the canvas between steps as needed. The less is more approach is valid, you will always be able to mix between those steps as needed, but you do not want to spend too much time mixing what may end up being irrelevant value steps.

Color mixing can be done the same way, with value steps relatively close to those used for the grisaille and laid right over the underpainting when it is dry to the touch.

If you want to save paint for later use, you can either tube the mix, or if it is just a little you can try wrapping it up in an aluminum foil triangle to keep it good. I have held on to some mixes for several months that way and opened them to find still usable paint in them. The idea is just to keep oxygen out of the paint, otherwise it begins to polymerize.
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Old 12-02-2019, 09:48 AM
offcentre offcentre is offline
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Re: Beginner Portrait.....documented

Thanks Delo - 5 value steps sounds more manageable.

I will do some more work on the drawing this week, sorting out an issue with the right side of the mouth, adding more detail to the hair and trying to get the values more accurate.

I'm going to really try not to rush this, which is where I have fallen down in previous attempts...I just want to get paint on the canvas as quickly as possible. I am very detailed and deliberate with a pencil in my hand. When the pencil is replaced with a brush I just go a bit crazy.

Then I'll try and mix the values before the end of this week ready to start painting the grisaille at the weekend.

Thanks very much for your advice.

Ross
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