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Old 06-20-2014, 10:32 PM   #1
Judson Eneas Judson Eneas is offline
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My Latest Self-Portrait. Any Critiques Please

Here it is;
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Old 06-28-2014, 03:34 PM   #2
John Crowther John Crowther is offline
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Well done, both technically and conceptually. What I love about it is something I miss in too many portraits, the sense of a life going on as opposed to frozen in a posed moment. I'm engaged by the implied narrative.
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Old 07-05-2014, 12:25 AM   #3
Patricia Boes Patricia Boes is offline
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Great job! loving your use of color as well.
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Old 09-27-2014, 02:30 PM   #4
Wendy Rogers Wendy Rogers is offline
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Yes, good technique and energy. Now viewing on a different screen I am still seeing such a dark shadow cast by the head that it is a bit distracting, appearing more like a shape than shadow. Not seeing the actual painting this is just an observation as to how it looks on the screen.
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Old 04-06-2015, 12:23 AM   #5
Terri Ficenec Terri Ficenec is offline
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Hi Judson,
Sorry to be responding to this so late!

Overall, this is well done and I really like the sense of movement/vitality you've captured. One area needing perhaps a little more attention is the near knee and shorts leg... the knee and top of shin have some very strongly contrasting shapes there that detract from the overall form/unity of the knee and leg. Similarly, some of the shapes along the shadowed side of the shorts leg from that knee back read just a bit too bright to me? Also, the very dark shadow under the near arm has a hard edge, that could benefit from some softening. . .

I think you've done quite a nice job on other areas of the shirt, and the hands, arms and head are very successful. Taken as a whole, it's a really nice painting -- well done!
Terri Ficenec
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Old 04-06-2015, 12:47 AM   #6
Michael Georges Michael Georges is offline

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Hello Judson,

Thanks for posting this painting! I like the composition! Quite engaging!

I am wondering if this self portrait was done from photo reference? The reason why I ask is that there are such strong shadows in the piece that are more indicative of photography than of life. On my monitor it looks like you used a lot of extreme darks in your paint, if not outright black. Black is so strong and you rarely see it with your eye.

I am also seeing that overall your value transitions are quite sharp and likely over defined. Another quality of some photographs. You capture such a nice roundness to the forehead. That is very well done! The rest of the face again appears to be in too dark a shadow with the values overstated from what you might see with your eye. Again, I stress that I am seeing it at 5 inches on a computer monitor...compare the photo of the painting with the actual to see if my comments make sense.

The shadow of the head on the neck and shirt appears to me too dark and too sharp. Shadows are darkest closest to the form and they lighten and soften a bit as they fall away from the form. Shadows again on the shirt, the arm closest and the knee appear to be overstated.

You did a marvelous job with the backdrop, though, again obvious hung backdrops imply photography. Some argue that painted portraiture tries to approach life rather than photography, and so smiles on subjects, obvious photograph props, etc. are eschewed in painting...again, by some...and it cannot always be avoided.

Your rendering of the chair is well done and the shadow falling on the headrest and of the overall form on the backdrop are very subtle and very well done!

Overall it is a nice work! I hope you take my comments as they were intended, as helpful advice aimed at improving your work and not bashing you or your work. Again, I stress that I am looking at this at 5 inches tall on a monitor, and so compare to the painting and hopefully my comments will help!
Michael Georges
Michael's Life Drawing & Painting Blog

Regular and consistent work from life will improve your portraits.
Drawing skills are the foundation of all an artist does.
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Old 04-06-2015, 07:54 AM   #7
Richard Budig Richard Budig is offline
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Judson: Two things I need to say first . . . First, I agree with Michael, and, second, I have the very same problems Michael mentions. I paint free for families portraits of their children killed in the wars, so obviously I must paint from photos. The things he outlines in your case apply to me also. Like Michael, I mention my own problems as a way to say I'm not picking on you. I have often thought that if I had a third arm, I'd hold a gun to my head as I paint in an effort to make myself not follow the photograph so much.

One thing I have learned (and still struggle with) is the "value clumping" that occurs in photographs. I have tried many things to get around this. One thing that helps is to fiddle with the photo in a photo editing program such as Photoshop. I'm not good at Photoshop, either, but I try to lighten the shadow areas. I'll attempt to do that with the sliders in "LEVELS," or I will often fiddle with the light/dark/contrast after I have changed from color to b&w. Sometimes, I paint most of the flesh from the b&w version, checking color now and again with a quick glance at the color version of my photo reference.

I'm getting better at doing this, but it is still a struggle. It is very difficult not to paint what you see. One thing I do as surreptitiously as possible is study people in real life situations. Some of them probably think me weird when they catch me staring at them. But it seems to help a little. I think our brains will do a better job of remembering a thing in which we are mightily interested.

You might try doing some quick studies from photos and force yourself to paint the shadows lighter in value.

My comment about a background is that if it calls attention to itself, it is probably over painted, and it points out one more problem of painting from photos: Our tendency is to say, "Well, if it's there, I should probably paint it," and often in photo work, the background is close enough to the subject-plane to be seen as sharp, and so we tend to include too much detail from photo reference backgrounds.

Having bashed you about, let me say along with Michael, you've done well. Keep working.
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long time , no see. , self-portrait

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