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Please help! I'm a semi-beginner acrylic painter. I've gotten pretty comfortable doing large colorful florals & birds - they're my go to, and I really enjoy them. Choosing bright pretty colors that make me happy is my main M.O. for what I paint.

Howwwever, a well-meaning friend was so excited about my work, she asked me to do a painting for her. I, stupidly, agreed. Enter photo of her 2 girls standing at the beach with a million lights and shadows. She specified that she doesn't want the girls' faces to be "too clear", as in 'look like a photo'. Rather she prefers a more impressionistic look, which I understand and support. The only part of the painting so far that I'm "ok" with is the sky. The girls are still lifeless blobs - I ended up putting lots of dark on the arms & faces (mainly one face) last night for shadows, and going to bed before I covered the whole thing in white. The more I think about it today, the more I'm leaning towards a canvas of white when I get home.

Do any of you more experienced acrylic-ers think there is any saving this mess?? I need a new set of eyes and ideas. Should I do a new underpainting for everything below the ocean & just start over?

I'm attaching 1) the photo of the girls 2) the "impressionistic" look I am somewhat trying to achieve, more or less, and 3) the disaster that is currently my painting.

HELP!!
 

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I think changing a bit of the coloring as picassolite stated would give you a new look at it. You can take the original picture and apply filters over it to see what might bring out the faces more - even Instagram filters could work. To make the shading more clear, especially with skintones, changing the picture to black and white or grayscale can throw it into relief and give you sharper shadows to work with.
Good luck, and I think it is looking good so far!!
 
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