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Old 10-18-2005, 11:12 AM   #1
Monique McFarland Monique McFarland is offline
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Mother and Daughter, Watercolor




This is my latest portrait commission, Mother on the left, daughter on the right. The source photo was dark, so I manipulated it on my computer, and also manipulated a change to the daughter's shoulder, and shirt folds, so as to relax the daughter's pose...you'll see, I'll go ahead and also post the before and after photos and then the painting. I also changed the background from the busy one you see and used another view of the river from a snapshot the dad gave me...This was mutually agreed upon and ultimately the best idea. Further, the mother's necklace was lowered as it had slipped back during our photo session. Also, it was requested of me to "V" the daughter's shirt so as not to look so young (her comment). All comments and critiques are welcome, all digital alterations and/or manipulations are also welcome. I need to hear what you think. I have several more commissions in line to do and learn so much from each and every one, thus improving as I go. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Oh yes, this was painted on Arches, cold pressed paper, full sheet, 22.5" x 30"...W&N watercolor paint.
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Old 11-10-2005, 11:22 PM   #2
Steven Sweeney Steven Sweeney is offline
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Hi, Monique --

Long wait, huh? I suspect that the low rate of return on this is owing in large part on the fact that few of us here work in watercolor. I certainly don
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Old 11-22-2005, 12:16 AM   #3
Michele Rushworth Michele Rushworth is offline
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As Steven rightly pointed out, the values are the key in this (and every) painting.

I have put the heads from the reference photo (on the left) and the painting (on the right) side by side in Photoshop and posterized them in black and white.

You can see immediately that the large masses of the heads are too flattened, too much all the same value. In the painting there is no sense that the lower parts of the cheeks turn under and away from the light source, for example. The bottoms of both chins need to turn under and away from the light too, and not be so pointed, and should not be painted as if they were on the same plane as the front of the chins. The brow ridges face upwards and need to catch more light. The area under the eyebrows, especially on the figure on the right, need to turn under and away from the light also.

It might be helpful for you to look at some anatomy diagrams (skull and muscle, or the famous Asaro Planes of the Head models) to help you understand and therefore see what parts of the skull generally face up into the light and what parts face down and away from it.

Of course, there is always squinting which will help you simplify and see the large value differences more clearly. Hope this helps.
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Old 11-22-2005, 09:43 AM   #4
Monique McFarland Monique McFarland is offline
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Steven and Michele,

Words can not express the gratitude I feel for both of you taking your time to do this for me. This is something I will be able to use as a tool in the future...the tips were amazing and the way you came about the comparisons were so simple yet so very invaluable. I will spend lots more time studying these critiques and use the theories and lessons in future paintings. Of course, this is already delivered so I can not go back and alter anything on this piece, but I CAN learn from my mistakes and use the lessons in future work. Thank you very much for your time!!

Monique
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Old 12-16-2005, 09:58 PM   #5
Monique McFarland Monique McFarland is offline
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Just to refresh your memory of who I am, I'm quoting your response.

I just re-read your entire critique....amazing how much something makes sense when a bit of time has elapsed...and you are no long emotionally attached to a newly completed painting..I've done one more watercolor and started a new-founded passion...an oil portrait..first one of it's kind for me....I'm now reading your critique with much more interest. I'm not trying to make excuses for what I've done..as in this painting you critiqued, but am literally starving for improvement in my new area of medium. What you said was wonderful and very VERY valuable to me. I didn't even take time to read whether or not I thanked you properly, but I want to make darn sure you understand...I am doing that now.

Thank you very much for your time and expertise. You will notice changes as per your comments in my future work. Thanks.

Monique




[QUOTE=Steven Sweeney]Hi, Monique --

Long wait, huh? I suspect that the low rate of return on this is owing in large part on the fact that few of us here work in watercolor. I certainly don
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