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Scared to start.

Hi, I was wondering if some of the members that follow Mark's method fully could advise me. I want to paint a portrait soon. I am going to start another DMP painting first to get more experience . I have watched Mark's download of painting a portrait several times, this time really "living it" as he goes along. A few things are are making me apprehensive, I have no problem mixing the steps or painting a vase or something that goes from dark to light etc, but a Face...that a whole different ball game. I now that he checks the colour on the photo as he is mixing it. Neutral colours, pink tints, green shifts...I can just about get..but jumping from the neutrals to the pinky tones and mixing a bit from different puddles of paint...scares me stiff....ans all that only takes me to half way through part 1 of 3 I am being a nervous Nellie....any advice ???


  • Marieb

    Accuracy in shapes and values will create a likeness just as it does in still lifes.

    Plan the lighting, pose, background and costume. Take the photos and paint in your usual, excellent style and I'm sure you will produce a great portrait.

  • @dencal,Such a nice thing to say...I have a photo taken professionally, so there is no chance I will overexpose it ! this will be a painting so close to my heart.
  • Marieb I was very scared as well but it was a good thing to be scared because this way I went really slow and careful and learned a lot by thinking about every step... just go for it, we will all be in the background ready to encourage you... :)
  • EstherH it is quite an undertaking to attempt a Portrait... I will take you up on the [email protected] Kingston..I don't like to get water on my face, but sometimes I try to swim underwater lol...You are always good for advice :)
  • I know it's been said here before but, Paint it upside down. The portrait not the artist otherwise you'll get a bad headache. Seriously though you mentioned that it would be near to your heart and that's going to make it more difficult for you to disassociate yourself from the subject and view it abstractly. It's when you think I'm painting an eye or a nose that it gets tough. So try to focus on the blobs of color and not what they will become. If you find that it's starting to look like a person again cover over the areas your not painting or turn it sideways or both.
  • @richvinzant, thanks, I had a brief vision of me standing on my head with my carefully mixed paint running down my face ! I am not apprehensive about actually painting, but about the mixing...I think I will go for the darkest Neutral and create steps, then find a dark with warm/red tones and create steps and an eye colour.... how badly can it turn out... :p
  • MeganSMeganS -
    edited September 2015
    Those areas confused me to too. Especially when you look at your palette and there is such a difference between the red tones and the green ones. Make sure you have your values correct horizontally between colors, so when you know you have the value correct, all you have to ask is more green or more red. Then mix accordingly in that value. That should give you the middle ground. If it really bothers you, leave it. Do the green areas from dark to light. Then, with a clean brush, do the red areas from dark to light. From there, ease into the middle ground. You might be surprised at how little of a space we are talking.

    Portraiture is a challenge for sure. Just take it one step at a time. Go slow, take breaks and allow the painting to teach you to be a better painter. I love portraiture. If I wasn't brave enough to jump in, I may not have found that love.
  • Kingston's advice is solid.....
  • I have been a portrait artist for 30 years. I also used to do street portrait work, in colour every day, on average about 5 - 8 portraits. I can tell you that Dencal and Richvinzant have great advice! Turn your reference photo upside down, or sideways (change it around from time to time, and put it the right way round now and again) to stop your eyes from seeing a person, and use the same technique for painting portraits as you do for still life. Look carefully and you will see peaches, pink, greys, yellows, greens and even turquoises in skin, but as long as you follow the same steps as you do for painting still life (or anything else for that matter), then you will be more than fine. Mark's method is complete and excellent for painting anything at all. The only method you will ever need in my opinion. Just go for it :-)
  • @ saugeangel it was mixing the Colors I was worried about, the warm and cool tones, with green shifts etc. I watched Marks portrait tutorial again and as he was laying on the color I could see the pinks and greens etc as they were being layed next to each other. My problem now is that I can only get a photo half life size worth painting, if I enlarge it any further it gets pixilated...looks like I will be painting a "soft focus" or "blurry" portrait....I can't wait to get started...Thanks.
  • Have fun!!! It's oil paint - you can always change it ... nothing lost :) 
  • @nada, Thanks for comment. Two Portraits done since then, and I did have fun and learned a lot  =)
  • marieb said:
    @nada, Thanks for comment. Two Portraits done since then, and I did have fun and learned a lot  =)
    yey! every time I start a painting, I also think I will NEVER be able to do it. But then... I kinda do. LOL. 
  • @marieb, so glad the paintings worked out so well!
  • @Ron Thanks a million   I have been asked to do a surprise portrait for a wedding anniversary, now I have to price it.... B)
  • I hate pricing, never get it right. Wouldn't it be nice if people appreciated the work and offered a good amount as compensation for work well done?
  • @ Ron, Oh they appreciate the work, but appreciate a low price better... B)
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