Work in progress [Archive] - Artist Forum

: Work in progress


TerryCurley
02-19-2015, 09:13 AM
I'm trying real hard to make portraits of my grandchildren that actually look like them. This is the fifth try on Johanna and I believe I'm really getting it. I'm so excited about how this coming out. I'm open to helpful criticism.

wook
02-19-2015, 10:12 AM
So far so good. I am not expert with colors but I really like it. Feel free to do more darker tones, it will make more realistic painting.
With drawings, for example, if we draw an eye, the white part is not the white as paper is, it's bit darker and it has shadows etc, but the reflections are entirely white and that's how they are noticeable. Try to apply this to your paintings as well and you will certainly notice the difference. ;)

TerryCurley
02-19-2015, 10:35 AM
I know you are right on target Wook. I can see it myself. I've been improving in that regard with each picture. The first one I did she resembled a Chinese white faced Geisha. The second one I went the other way and made her too dark and it looked like she had a deep tan. Johanna is so fair and as I'm painting I'm always worried I'm going to loose that and I over compensate. I'm getting there, slow but sure.

wook
02-19-2015, 10:43 AM
Right contrast makes things to "pop out" off the flat surface and it gives "life" to objects we want to show. :)

DLeeG
02-19-2015, 10:44 AM
This is a big improvement. You are showing the features turned to the same angle that the face is. This is not easily done. Be careful to make the shading and highlights the right shape and intensity. The teeth should not be white except for the gleaming. They should not be separated by lines but by the shading. This is a lot to get right but you have already shown that you have the ability to grow. Great job.

TerryCurley
02-19-2015, 11:44 AM
OK, I'm going to work on the teeth and white of the eyes right now. I know you are right and I actually did mix a little blue with the white but I guess it's just not enough to make the difference. Even though I know the skin is a little lighter than it should be and more contrast would improve the picture I'm actually afraid to change it. You have no idea how many pictures I've totally ruined while trying to fix them.

TerryCurley
02-19-2015, 11:54 AM
I have 5 grandchildren and one step grandchild so I will be trying with each picture to improve on the contrast. I know you both are right that it makes all the difference in the world in a portrait. I can see it with each one I do how it is making a difference.

wook
02-19-2015, 03:05 PM
Looking forward to see progress. :)

chanda95
02-20-2015, 11:08 AM
Looking good so far. I do agree with the statements made so far and I am waiting anxiously to see the next update!

When I first started here years ago my major hurdle was lack of depth. My drawings lacked visual interest and that 3 dimensional feel. I still struggle with it and yes I do believe I have messed up a drawing or two trying to achieve it. I have to say though that my artwork has improved by taking the leap and facing my weaknesses head on. I have to thank DLeeG in large part for giving me that push. I know you will do great with this painting and I also know that you will walk away having learned something from it.

TerryCurley
02-20-2015, 07:23 PM
Been doing some fixing on the skin and I put in the hair. I find it hard to take pictures of wet oil paintings because they look like they have sparkles on them from the oil reflecting the flash. I wound up taking this picture without a flash.

DLeeG
02-20-2015, 07:51 PM
The joys of pencil drawing. I don't think you got the mouth right.
Try really small stiff bristle brushes. That's plural. Use small amounts of paint with small strokes.

TerryCurley
02-21-2015, 09:26 AM
Yeah I've been having a lot of trouble with the lips. I must have redone them 15 times already. Sometimes I just have to remember that I'm not an artist and have to settle for my limitations, I just try to do the best I can. Thank you for the advice though, I appreciate your detailed help. Maybe on the next one I'll do better on the lips.

chanda95
02-21-2015, 10:27 PM
I agree - the joys of graphite are the easy fixes. I think that's why I shy away from painting. This is a whimsical painting and I bet you learned a lot from it. One of the suggestions I can give for your next one is to try and not have any hard lines. Let the lights and the darks do the work for you. I see a few hard lines on the nose and the ear. I have to say though that overall it's a nice composition and I don't think this is the easiest angle to work with so big kudos to you for doing it. She is a very pretty girl and you should be proud of the piece.

TerryCurley
02-22-2015, 05:08 PM
I've been trying hard to apply the suggestions I've gotten here and I think this picture of Josie (another granddaughter) is coming out a lot better than Johanna did. Keep that (helpful) criticism coming. I'm learning so much.

TerryCurley
02-23-2015, 11:13 PM
I often get to the point in a painting that I just want it to dry before I go any further and when I'm at that point I usually start another painting. So while I'm letting the picture of my granddaughter Josie dry before I put in her lips and hair I started on another granddaughter Athena today.

TerryCurley
02-25-2015, 04:13 PM
I finished my second attempt at doing Josie. That's the work in progress I was showing two posts above. it's worlds better than the first one I did of her. In fact that one is currently in the dumpster. I do intend to paint her again after I get better because in the picture you can tell it's her but her chin is a little too fat and there is something about the mouth that just isn't right. The part of the picture I'm happiest with is the eyes. That little angel has the biggest eyes I've ever seen on a child.

Please if you have an idea how to improve it tell me. I want to improve.

If the picture doesn't enlarge when you click on it you can right click and then click 'open link'. That should work.

chanda95
02-25-2015, 04:51 PM
I finished my second attempt at doing Josie. That's the work in progress I was showing two posts above. it's worlds better than the first one I did of her. In fact that one is currently in the dumpster. I do intend to paint her again after I get better because in the picture you can tell it's her but her chin is a little too fat and there is something about the mouth that just isn't right. The part of the picture I'm happiest with is the eyes. That little angel has the biggest eyes I've ever seen on a child.

Please if you have an idea how to improve it tell me. I want to improve.

If the picture doesn't enlarge when you click on it you can right click and then click 'open link'. That should work.

I think you should be super proud of this picture! You achieved a depth to her eyes and she does have beautiful eyes. I think you have actually given her eyes more life than in the original picture and I like that! You have done a great job with her hair. I would like to see a bit more ear showing as it does in the original photograph. Also keep in mind that hair will cast a shadow on a face. If you look closely at the original picture on the right side of her face you will see that the hair covering her face has cast a shadow along the right side of her cheek and eye. By adding that shadow in your painting you help it achieve a more 3 dimensional feel. I agree that on the next one you could move in her left cheek a tad bit and maybe square her chin up. She has a pretty angular chin. Teeth - to be honest - as a newbie painter you did a bang up job. I absolutely hate teeth. They aren't perfect..she has some gaps in her teeth that you did not capture...but overall I wouldn't be complaining a bit. I cringe when I have to do a drawing of someone who has their teeth showing.

I think this is a LOVELY painting! You have captured her well. Like I said - you have a very good grasp on values and shading and colors. Just a few tweaks here and there is all this painting needs. VERY nice job!

chanda95
02-25-2015, 04:53 PM
I also recommend that you not throw your work away as it serves as a neat way to track your progress. I still have drawings from WAY back and I can look back now and see where I was to where I am now. Looking back on those first pieces of artwork builds self confidence as you realize how far you have come.

TerryCurley
02-25-2015, 08:22 PM
You've given me wonderful suggestions Chanda, and I will apply everyone of them to the next picture I do of her. I really appreciate it. I don't know how I could have missed the shadow from the hair on the right side, but you are so right.

As for throwing away the pictures I don't want, I do keep a photo on my computer so I can see the difference between then and now. It's automatically backed up to some cloud somewhere so I'll have them forever. The picture below is the first try painting her. I did it ten days ago and it's only with suggestions that I got from this site that I've been able to make so much improvement.

TerryCurley
02-27-2015, 12:42 PM
I finished the portrait of Athena, this is my first try of her. Actually this is the first portrait that I can honestly say I'm happy with. Not perfect but there is no mistaking it's her. I do intend to do a second of Athena (one for her Mom) so your suggestions for improvement will be greatly appreciated. I've learned that it's sometime hard to see things that are wrong in our own works. Just by the way in the photo her hair was wet so it's much flatter and darker in the photo than reality.

Piers
02-27-2015, 06:43 PM
Hello all I used to lecture in art and know a fair bit about it.

All of the artists pictures shown here have a few problems in common;

The colours seem very reduced. This is partly because some of the photos are taken in artificial light, this really cuts down the range (or gamut or colour space), then on top of that the camera doesn't grab all of the colours, and then as if that weren't enough some more of the colours are lost on screen or through the painting process. I would strive to get natural lighting first of all in the photos, because even experts are really really going to struggle to do anything with these. Ideally if you can get soft sunlight - sun through partial cloud this will really bring up the mix of colours.

Okay soo.... so when you have more coloured areas, it's easier to paint, you have a more interesting surface, and you can 'sculpt' more because some of the colours will describe contours and areas of the face. You won't get large areas of very similar colours which don't really work in face paintings.

The next thing 'for the next level' is the use of grounds, this is underpainting of a different colour. Actually using a cool blue is good for portraits - it helps stop a face getting too warm, overloaded with hot colours.

And the paintings seem very smooth, generally a bit of graininess is used - eg canvas. It allows for a lot of interesting effects and gives a surface vibrancy to the picture.

As you paint sense the structure underlying the face. It sounded very weird to me when I first heard this, but the knowledge you have of bony areas and so forth really helps assemble the reality.

One final trick for now is to actually think of yourself as a sculptor with the brush, try and sculpt form - the more you think in 3d the more the painting will gain depth.

Okay if you want to read more I would recommend 'The Art Students Handbook' by P Newberry which contains many more pages of this kind of stuff! All the best to you.

Liz
02-27-2015, 09:15 PM
Very good points, but I actually like the smooth blended texture Terry was able to achieve in the face.

TerryCurley
02-27-2015, 09:51 PM
Hello all I used to lecture in art and know a fair bit about it.

All of the artists pictures shown here have a few problems in common;

The colours seem very reduced. This is partly because some of the photos are taken in artificial light, this really cuts down the range (or gamut or colour space), then on top of that the camera doesn't grab all of the colours, and then as if that weren't enough some more of the colours are lost on screen or through the painting process. I would strive to get natural lighting first of all in the photos, because even experts are really really going to struggle to do anything with these. Ideally if you can get soft sunlight - sun through partial cloud this will really bring up the mix of colours.

Okay soo.... so when you have more coloured areas, it's easier to paint, you have a more interesting surface, and you can 'sculpt' more because some of the colours will describe contours and areas of the face. You won't get large areas of very similar colours which don't really work in face paintings.

The next thing 'for the next level' is the use of grounds, this is underpainting of a different colour. Actually using a cool blue is good for portraits - it helps stop a face getting too warm, overloaded with hot colours.

And the paintings seem very smooth, generally a bit of graininess is used - eg canvas. It allows for a lot of interesting effects and gives a surface vibrancy to the picture.

As you paint sense the structure underlying the face. It sounded very weird to me when I first heard this, but the knowledge you have of bony areas and so forth really helps assemble the reality.

One final trick for now is to actually think of yourself as a sculptor with the brush, try and sculpt form - the more you think in 3d the more the painting will gain depth.

Okay if you want to read more I would recommend 'The Art Students Handbook' by P Newberry which contains many more pages of this kind of stuff! All the best to you.

What a treasure you are. I just started painting and I'm fumbling around on my own watching online videos and just playing with the paints. I will try out your suggestions starting with getting that book "The Art Students Handbook". I'm also planning to take some online courses in a few months. Have a trip planned for May so I don't want to start anything like that now. Thank you for you advice and Welcome to the Artist Forum.

Piers
02-28-2015, 03:18 AM
Yes Liz I take your point. Smooth texture is very uncommon in portraiture so I thought I would mention it. I am not sure if it applies to every photo here. It helps move away from a waxy texture which a smooth support can build up with oils.

TerryCurley
02-28-2015, 07:10 AM
I'm so fortunate that I paint only for myself, for my own enjoyment. But of course I enjoy it more when those paintings come out better and it's an ego trip for me to be improving in something while the rest of me is going down hill from old age.

I've been giving thought to what you said about the photo's. I'm not at all good at taking photographs and I don't have a good camera. Often just use the one on my phone. I will however make a point of taking the pictures I want to use in better light. Probably not outside until the winter is over. LOL -- you know arthritis and all.

I actually like the smooth texture of the skin and found it amazing that with the oils and a mop brush it's so easy to do. I've been striving for more contrast in skin tones in my portraits and will continue to do so because it seems each time I'm able to increase it a little the portrait is worlds better.

I truly appreciate that there are so many good artists on this forum and are willing to take the time to comment and help me along with my hobby.

Thank You.

Piers
02-28-2015, 08:46 AM
http://www.enjoy-your-style.com/images/the-madonna-in-sorrow.jpg

This is a nice example where light and shadow really help to sculpt the form.

It also makes clear shapes which help with the construction.

You can imagine how much flatter the image would become if the shadow areas were lightened.

It is by no means an essential - there are no hard and fast rules in art! But if you type in 'the Madonna' to Google images you will see that at least 99% of the portraits utilise high contrast.

TerryCurley
02-28-2015, 09:05 AM
I'm getting the message, and intend to put more contrast in my next picture. Thank you for taking the time to work with me.

Piers
02-28-2015, 09:17 AM
No problem Terry.

amandarocha
06-15-2016, 12:06 PM
Like it :)