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Portrait of Emily

18 x 14 painting that I started at the workshop in Jan. I think it is finished except for a few things, more highlights in the hair. The workshop was great, I learned so much. Now just practice, practice... As always open to suggestions and critique.
MikeO[Deleted User][Deleted User]dencalMeganSCarmelJacquirgrDaddyJama[Deleted User]Maurice


  • Thanks ,everybody! Its always a little daunting to post work. This forum has been a great place to learn.
  • I think you did a great job too. The likeness is very good. My only comment would be about her neck looking older. I see the shadow sides on the original as being smoother while on the painting I see some of the flesh color mixed in with the shadow. Or, high and low areas in the shadow. It gives the elusion of wrinkles.
  • OK,Ronna. I see what you mean. So, maybe darken the shadow area to eliminate the wrinkle effect. I feel like the entire painting is darker than the photo. I learned during this painting that I have a fear of painting highlights. I REALLY have to make myself put in the higher colors. Thanks for your thoughts!
  • After you get it varnished it will be easier to compare. I see shadow colors that are too light in the painting, but it's hard to say until it's varnished with gloss varnish.
  • Some of the darks did sink, so I put oil on it to help. I definitely think the shadow next to the hair on the neck needs to be darkened.
  • Im with David on the darks, also the highlights on the forehead,cheeks,neck and hair look too dark, this might be why the "dark darks" aren't reading so well.These highlights are where I find I get realism to come to life. I think you are nailing the likeness. Good job!
  • Thanks, Two Palettte. I think it all goes back to my fear of highlights. I know if I get it right it will look awesome, but, get it wrong and it will look awful. I've just got to do it and see what happens.
  • Close your eyes and go for it. You're there.
  • Thanks , Two palette. I will!

  • Here is the latest work. I added highlights to the forehead, cheek, chin and completely re-worked the neck, I think it looks better. I did not do anything to the nose or dark side of the face. I think I might need more highlights on the forehead. What do you think?
  • Zim, it's a great portrait. You are doing very well. I think you're at a cross roads. I think your photo is overexposed. If you like the way the photo looks, then by all means, do your best to get as close to the photo as you can. But, honestly, I like your painting's shading better.

    There is some tweaking though. I think that the Emily's left cheek looks a little flat because I think the highlight can be more intense there. I also think that the forehead could use the same. The key here, is to only use just a little.

    I agree with @Ronna about the neck. Just a little softer along the transitions.

    The hair before the ear should be lighter and darken the creases of Emily's left eye. It looks like you lost your darks there. Same with the line between the lips. I know how easy it is to cover those darks....but the lights will have contrast if you darken the creases the way they are in the photo. And you need those darks if you plan on keeping the highlights toned down.

    This is the hardest part of a portrait. I'm sure you've studied Emily so long, it's hard to know what you are seeing. The meddling can be endless. But don't be afraid of making a mistake. None of the painting came to be by accident. You can do it again because it's a method you have done already. So have confidence in the changes.
  • Megan thanks so much for taking the time to critique the painting and give your insight. I really appreciate the feedback. I agree with you about the photo and am happy with the general tones.Also agree about the forehead and cheek. I will work on the hair and eyes. I know there is a fine line between getting it perfect and overdoing it. That's why I really value your input. It gets scary at this point in the process and I've looked at it so long, I've lost objectivity. Thanks for the encouragement!
  • Megan is right about the photo being over exposed but I think the highlights make your painting so much stronger. It is really a nice painting.
  • Thanks Two Palette. And Ronna & David for the honest critiques. The nudge to get me going in the right direction. I really appreciate the advice.
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] admin
    edited March 2015
    If that's the same photo from the workshop (not a copy of some kind), then it's only the photo of the photo that is overexposed, not the photo itself. Not sure why they don't appear to be lit the same, could be lots of things, but it's hard to say without being there and looking at the light and the photo and the painting.

    This is a very small JPEG version of the print file for reference (the prints actually come out darker than they look on screen, but the white background on the forum has the opposite effect and makes it look darker):

  • Thanks marten.Pretty close. My photo is a little lighter.But the photo in my post is much lighter not sure why.
  • Thanks Kingston. I'm ultimately working toward looser brushwork like your work. I really have enjoyed your fruit series. Do you mean scale problems as in the placement of the image on the canvas? Because I feel like there is too much background.
  • The user and all related content has been deleted.
  • Thanks ERG and broker12!
  • I took Megan's advice and worked on the lips and the eye to darken both areas. Also did a little work on the nose and added highlights. All subtle adjustments but they have made a significant improvement. Not sure if it shows in the photo. Thanks everybody for your
    insights and advice. I feel like I have learned a lot with this painting. So glad to have the Forum!!
    [Deleted User]rgrMeganS
  • @ZIM It looks great! Wonderful job going after the changes! Now, all I see is a little edge work. The high contrast of her shoulder to the background on Emily's left is a little too abrupt. Soften that just a tad. The same with her hair on that side. I know that it deviates from the photo a little bit, but it would ground Emily as part of the painting, not on top. Does that make sense?

    You should be very proud of this. And the likeness is great. It looks like Emily. :)
  • I don't know why I have missed your post with this painting, but I did. It seems to me that you have done an excellent job. I hope you are pleased with it. Everyone seems to have given you good advice.
  • Thanks again Megan. I see what you mean about the edges.
    Thanks oilpainter1950. I did get some great advice from everyone. Feel like this was a group effort!!
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