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Old 01-04-2013, 10:31 PM   #1
Teresa Hough Teresa Hough is offline
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Location: Brussels, Belgium
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question Crits please




Hi Everyone. I'm new to the forum and this is my first posting. I will post a source photo and the painting that is resulting. I would like to get more recognition for my work in broader region and one of my goals is to enter competitions. Here are some questions I have, but would be interested to hear comments suggestions on any aspect.

(1)I manipulated the photo to give a more classical or Rembrandt effect, but question if, since this is a young boy, that it would have been better to interpret the scene with more color. I won't change it at this point but would be interested in comments for future...

(2) in the source photo there is an inordinate amount of gossimer blond hair on the leg and on the top left lit forehead. I am aware of techniques to get this animal, hairy effect, but not sure if I should go there. My judgement is again weighing the classical method over say alla prima, where with AP it would definitely not work and be perfectly acceptable, but it is in detailed style so should all areas be congruent in style?

Despite it being very detailed in nature, even with classical method, my personal feeling is that hair on the leg would take away while adding the detail at the hairline would add since the focus/the story is the face. Your thoughts...

(3) Illumination on the left side of face (the subject's right) is too much the same as the value in the pants. If the face is the emphasis, would it be more effective to slightly darken the foreground, lower area, mainly white pants?

(4) Since the painting is developed with detail-inclusive style on the subject, would it be more effective to diminish the detail on things like the mortar lines in the floor tiles. Comments, opinions, suggestions very welcome. I'm head-scratching more than painting. I feel I'm on the homestretch, but can't quite get there. I'm not of the ilk to afford a lot of competitions, so any crits that help me take it up some notches will be gratefully received ^/^. [This is scary. I hope someone responds bc I'm hungry for real improvement.]

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Old 01-04-2013, 10:41 PM   #2
Teresa Hough Teresa Hough is offline
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Location: Brussels, Belgium
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crits please 2

oops, I posted wrong source photo. Try this one please ...Thx!

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Old 01-05-2013, 12:08 PM   #3
Richard Budig Richard Budig is offline
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Teresa . . . For the last seven years or so, I have painted free for parents portraits of their children killed in the current war. My point is that I have no choice but working from photos. My experience has taught me that, by and large, photos are terrible source material, but sometimes that's all you have from which to work.

Photos are notorious for "value clumping." In other words, the camera reaches out, grabs the scene, and then tries to reproduce it. Sadly, it tends to lump values, especial the lights and darks. Human eyes can refocus in split seconds so that when we look into a scene, we can selectively focus into the lights, middles and darks. Cameras can't do this.

In general, you will have to lighten the darks, and darken the lights to come close to what your eyes would see if your subject were sitting for you.

I believe you will have trouble if you blindly follow your photo because it is giving you a lot of overblown lights and lumped darks, and often, the middle values are also skewed. Also, photos are seductive in that they tempt us to paint all that detail . . . information you would likely overlook if your were painting from life, a situation where you would select and paint only the information you needed to make your painting a painting and not an oil reproduction of a photo.

If you bring the pants down in value just enough to make them look like pants, and at the same time, account for "light fall-off," you'll improve your work.

Skip the hairy leg. If you're not careful, you will produce several portraits in one . . . the head, the hairy leg, bright pants, grout . . . well, you see what I mean.

Your job is to present a handsome young man to his family and friends, not a series of mini portraits of random parts and pieces. Use you judgement, especially when working from photo.

Finally, all of the above is my opinion, fortified with some good advice from other artists and some good art web sites.

Hope this helps.
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:09 PM   #4
Teresa Hough Teresa Hough is offline
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Joined: Dec 2012
Location: Brussels, Belgium
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reply to crits pls

Yes it did help. Thank you so much for responding. I was just reading a blog entry on Micheal Shane Oneal's blog 'The Spectator' accessed via his website and found it so comforting that an artist who has been painting 70 years goes through the same thing ^/^. I have a lot to look forward to and get used to I guess!

My little subject is coming back from ski holiday soon, so can get some homestretch sittings worked in. Looking forward to that. BTW, this is a non-commission work I plan to use for promo opps. A local upscale childrenswear store invited me to introduce a new offering--an in-store children's portrait gallery, so looks like I'll have some fresh work to offer (and for now exclusively \o/ yay!).

I think it was Wende Caporale who had very good experience launching her portrait business in the beginning with similar placement in shoe store for children... Crossing fngers it might happen again. I'm in French-speaking commune so am having fun exploring pathways that lead to marketshare. The audience is not so keen on portraiture here as in the States. The opposite of satruated market could be a good thing. Thank you again for your fast response and voice of experience. All the best to you in 2013.
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