Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

You can send an email to forum@drawmixpaint.com if you have questions about how to use this forum.

WIP - and paint question

Hi all, I've been working on this little painting for several days now. I can tell you with certainty that not having proper lighting is not only a huge drawback, but makes or breaks a painting. That said, slowly I will get a 'studio' together. 

There's still a lot of work to do on this painting. This is my 2nd painting since finding this forum and Mark's techniques. To say I feel clumsy at this is an understatement.

Three things: my painting has a 'waxy' feeling to it. I just started using safflower oil. Is this why or is it because I've been overworking the paint (I've re-done the skin multiple times)? will I ever be able to paint 'real looking' skin? does anyone have any suggestions on how to paint noses? 

So I am including a copy of the painting as it is right now (I have only blocked out the hair and the neck). The photo of origin is below. It is one of the twins that were featured in a National Geographic years ago. The twin I painted is Marta (they are different). Marta is the twin on the viewer's left side. 

I appreciate any feedback (gentle... I almost gave up on this and painting altogether with this one!)

Much gratitude to all of you and this forum.




Comments

  • The waxy paint might be from it having dried out a bit. My paint gets like that too (gummy).

    Going over the face multiple times will make things much harder since you're not painting on fresh canvas anymore and the colours you've mixed will blend with whatever you're going on top of.

    Portraits are very hard.... Even doing a simple apple on some blue cloth is hard enough for a first dmp painting let alone a portrait.

    The key to getting accurate colours is simply to colour check and follow mark carders instructions. If you get all the values and colours of the skin from darkest to lightest and then put them on the canvas without blending too much you will have the skin colour right

    I recommend doing a different painting first.

    When you do do a portrait, perhaps try a monochrome one first to make things a bit easier (just using white and a black). The lighting of that portrait also seems less than ideal for painting imo
  • edited August 14
    Also are you using a laminated print? Or just looking at the pic on a computer screen?

    I did a monochrome portrait as my 5th painting and it took about 30 hrs just to do the face with no ears or hair
  • @movealonghome - I was using the photo directly out of the National Geographic page, but I also referred to the online image so I could see the image enlarged for details (but not color checking). 
  • dencaldencal -
    edited August 14
    renoir


    The nose is fine, as is the rest of the portrait. The key is that because a nose is a soft round form, the right value in the right place will do the work.

    It is a work in progress so l can't be too specific, but back off with the white paint in your mixing. If the photo is accurate then there is a chalky fog clouding the life out of the portrait and milking up your darks.

    A waxy paint feel suggests you are not using SDM paint or Geneva paint. Your paint is probably too thick.
    Does it fall off the knife/stick as a tomato ketchup consistency? 

    Denis

  • I can certainly see which twin you were painting. Your rendering is very good. I think the other's have pretty much covered the paint issues. I think you've done better than you're giving yourself credit, @Renoir. Soldier on.
  • @dencal - I don't know what SDM paint means? I just started using oils a month ago, so what I have are a lot of little tubes of different paint that were given to me. I had been using linseed oil, but decided to try safflower oil. Paint out of the tube is very thick, so I have to mix it quite a bit. Hmmmm, when I mix paint initially it falls off the knife a bit, but it seems to dry out quickly on the palette.

    Maybe that's my biggest problem is thick paint?

    The photo is poor because it is a cell phone and I do apologize for that. I suspect that the milky appearance is also because I re-did the flesh many times and probably should have just started with a new canvas.

    Thanks for the feedback.


  • @Barbara - I'm glad you could see which twin it was. At first I got so lost in the details that I lost sight of the drawing and everything was off even though I always do a drawing before applying the paint. So I shall soldier on! Thank you.

  • Renoir

    Sorry, SDM is slow dry medium according to Mark's formula and mixed with Winsor and Newton Artists Colour.

    Denis

    Renoir
  • The skin tones in the portrait photos are quite subtle, so it's hard to work from if you are new to Mark's method. For the next painting you could try a higher contrast image in black and white which would make it easier for you to see how you like Mark's DMP technique :)
  • @dencal - thanks for the explanation :-) @Kschaben thank you, it was awful yesterday, so I am happy it turned out closer to 'reality'. @Richard_P Good point. I chose this image because I had a magazine photo, but I'll look for something with higher contrast.

    I thought I was trying to implement Mark's technique :-(  I've watched many of his videos, but to be honest, it's like drinking water from a fire hose; there's so much info to absorb! This is my first stab at painting.

    I love Mark's approach... but I suspect it will be a very long time before I am able to come close to mastering his techniques. I'm horrible at color mixing so far, but I'm going to do a color chart soon so that may help.

    Are there rules to this forum? The guideline I read so far is that the art should be realism. I do appreciate all the feedback. Painting is hard. But I seem to have been bitten by the bug....
  • edited August 14
    Make sure you use marks colour wheel

    And instead of focusing on all the videos you should focus on reading the written text instructions on the site and only the three core videos highlighted on the front page. This is important
    ForgivenessRenoir
  • Stick with it @Renoir, it is a lot to take in. I felt like I needed 3 pairs of hands and a psychiatrist for my first DMP painting, but it does get a lot less confusing. Each painting you complete will build you a solid foundation. I don't know whether a colour chart will be helpful or not but as @movealonghome said - use Marks colour wheel and follow his method for the value steps and colour mixing. This has helped me enormously. After several paintings I have got a lot quicker at mixing and judging colours and values. 
    RenoirBOB73
  • Yes! Stick with it! You are way ahead of the curve being able to draw. I have two stick-on notes on my easel. 1 - take your time. 2 - keep working at it. 
    These two reminders have been extremely helpful to me, with my own particular feelings of impatience and defeat. 
    When in doubt return to Mark's clear instructions... and then keep working at it, and take your time.
     ;) 
    Renoir
  • edited August 14
    Hi, I'm not exactly sure what you mean by using safflower oil.  Are you using highly-refined artist grade oil?  Even then, according to naturalpigments.com, although safflower oil can be safely used to make oil colors, such as light or pale colors, it is not recommended for use as a painting media and should not be expected to replace linseed oil.  If your paints are too stiff, I would just use a medium like Liquin or make up some of Marks' SDM.  But even then, don't overdo it.  

    On your drawing, I think that you've captured the likeness very nicely, but you are compressing all the values toward the middle, which makes it look flat.  Most of the dark darks and light lights are gone.  If you squint and compare your drawing to the reference, you'll see what I mean.   This is what's giving you problems with the skin tone, where the value shifts are very subtle.   Slight changes in temperature instead of value on skin tones also helps.  Also, be skeptical of hard lines in a portrait.  There are very very few of them, possibly the line between the lips and if the subject uses eyeliner, as here. But at the hairline especially, don't render lines that aren't there.
    RenoirJulianna
  • Make sure you use marks colour wheel


    And instead of focusing on all the videos you should focus on reading the written text instructions on the site and only the three core videos highlighted on the front page. This is important

    @movealonghome  Thanks for this, I realized I had only been watching the videos, and not all of them yet, so this is very important. I am reading those right now and I've sent my husband out to get the correct lighting.

    @Martin_J_Crane Thanks for that feedback. I didn't realize not to use linseed oil for a medium! I'm by no means done with this current painting yet. I've found I block out the lights and darks when I start the painting, but then I get so enmeshed with the minutia I lose sight of that and end up with a 'mask'. A few days ago I scraped all the flesh toned skin and started all over again. Clearly, I need to study Mark's steps better. Thanks for your feedback.

    @Boudicca Thanks so much for the encouragement. I've tried mixing flesh tones with Mark's limited palette and I've ended up with greenish mud...but that doesn't mean I can't try again! 

    @Barbara You are such a wonderful cheerleader!!! I stopped 'art' almost 25 years ago so venturing back in took some courage, especially with colors/oils. I'm not 'color blind' but you wouldn't know it by the colors I end up mixing! Still intimidated by color, but I refuse to give up after all this time!



  • I just took a photograph with much better lighting for comparison.


    BOB73
  • edited August 15
    @Renoir, you mentioned using safflower oil as a medium. Linseed oil is what is normally used in mediums as mentioned by @Martin_J_Crane. Safflower takes ages to dry and I don't know what sort of consistency it produces when used as a medium. If you are using safflower maybe that is the reason for the "waxy" feel you mentioned.

    Your drawing is really good.  In regard to the colours/values I agree with Martin_J_Crane:



    On your drawing, I think that you've captured the likeness very nicely, but you are compressing all the values toward the middle, which makes it look flat.  Most of the dark darks and light lights are gone.  If you squint and compare your drawing to the reference, you'll see what I mean.   This is what's giving you problems with the skin tone, where the value shifts are very subtle.   Slight changes in temperature instead of value on skin tones also helps.  Also, be skeptical of hard lines in a portrait.  There are very very few of them, possibly the line between the lips and if the subject uses eyeliner, as here. But at the hairline especially, don't render lines that aren't there.

    Your doing great. One of the biggest practical hurdles for beginners is getting a feel for the materials, the way paint behaves etc. It's very easy to get frustrated when you end up with mud instead of the colour you're after. But that's technique and a feel for how paint handles comes with practice. Keep at it.

    Rob :)
    Renoir
  • I'm still starting out but being able to mix the color steps and color checking on a laminated picture like in the videos is important. Checkout the supply list there's a link to the sdm video. SDM works with other brands of oil colors too but better with oil colors that don't have too many fillers and already have too much linseed oil. The SDM may not work well with oil colors that are advertised to dry more quickly. The portrait is good, you're on the right track. Keep that Safflower oil to make brush dip and use linseed for your medium.
    Martin_J_CraneForgiveness
  • tassieguy said:
    @Renoir, you mentioned using safflower oil as a medium. Linseed oil is what is normally used in mediums as mentioned by @Martin_J_Crane. Safflower takes ages to dry and I don't know what sort of consistency it produces when used as a medium. If you are using safflower maybe that is the reason for the "waxy" feel you mentioned

    Your doing great. One of the biggest practical hurdles for beginners is getting a feel for the materials, the way paint behaves etc. It's very easy to get frustrated when you end up with mud instead of the colour you're after. But that's technique and a feel for how paint handles comes with practice. Keep at it.

    Rob :)

    @tassieguy

    Thank you sooooo much for the encouragement. You are so right about getting a 'feel' for the materials. It's almost feels like I should be blindfolded to get that body 'memory' for the paints, the brush, the canvas... etc. From reading all the posts, it's clear that it takes time to get to anything close to mastery. I believe Mark Carder said in one of his YouTube videos that you'd have to devote at least 6 hours a day 6 days a week to achieve mastery! I believe it.
    Thanks again for the encouragement... I'm still reading Mark's steps and watching videos...what a wealth of information!

    @BOB73 Great advice, thank you! I would not have known you were just starting with MDP. Re: paint, I have some Winston Newton, but also some other non-artist brands in small tubes. I just ordered Gamblin paints upon the recommendation of a professional oil painter because they said it has a high portion of pigment and much less filler. I'm looking forward to working with them. Thank you so much for your encouragement! This is a great forum for honest feedback. :-)
    BOB73
  • @Renoir ;  Your creativity is a fragile pilot light that you must always protect.  I started oil painting in the 3rd grade, I was the only child in the art school and flourished.  I let an innocent, ugly remark by a relative extinguish my flame and didn't pick up a paint brush for 6 years.  I then started painting in acrylics, was doing perspective scenes and abstract and pretty much crap work that didn't really appeal to me in the end so I quit again.  I've always drawn, been creative and artistic - Oils are my first love.  I started oil painting again in my mid twenties and was at a school in Brentwood, CA that was all the rage.  My instructor would move me from my seat, take my brushes and apply paint to my canvas as if to show off or something.  It did not sit well with me, so.... I quit again.  So, my heart goes out to you for your creative soul when you ask for gentleness in asking for help with critiques.

    I think you have picked a very difficult exposure photograph to try to paint so you are starting off with your hands tied.  The transitions are so minute and subtle and it is probably over-exposed with a flash so that makes it even more difficult to paint with the DMP method.  Your rendering is immaculate, your darks/lights are there - I just think the photo is extremely difficult to paint so don't let it impact your pilot light in any way, shape or form. 
    BOB73
  • @Julianna Oh Julianna, my eyes are tearing up. That is exactly what I went through but it happened in college when I was majoring in art. Half way through I dropped out of that major and went into something else. It's been very emotional for me each time I've tried to go back. I had a particularly callous professor who made ugly comments. And yes, it is a flame, it isn't a 'job' or a technical expression, although there are technical aspects to visual art. That flame, that little pilot light, is deep within our souls, souls which connect to the universe, the creator, something infinite and ever present.

    Fortunately, at this time I have the time and opportunity to start back up again. Except my 'thing' was always sketching, line drawing, a little bit of watercolor and some acrylics but no oils. I always wanted to do oils so I'm excited and a little apprehensive. I 
    Your comment about the photo is valid and others have commented on it. I realize that the reason why I chose it was because it was a magazine photo where I thought I'd be able to color check better than the other images I was looking at.

    I took some photos of my young daughter in high contrast light and I've been 'analyzing' it tonight. I think it will be a great photo to chose from because of the high contrast and because she is wearing neutral grays. Plus, if it turns out well I can frame it and hang it up on our wall :-)

    How did you come about painting with oils at such a young age? You must have had an extraordinary mentor or parent to encourage you.



    BOB73Julianna
  • @Renoir you have all that it takes to be a great artist. Stick around with us for a while. If you give up too soon then I'll have to become the great artist and I'm just not ready for that, please. @Julianna that pilot light analogy was spot on. Did you know that rookie firefighters are taught to protect the pilot light when they are fighting a kitchen fire. Protecting the pilot light is very important in so many scenarios especially Renoir's as you said.
    RenoirJulianna
  • @BOB73 You are so dear...thank you. Firefighters are all heart... they want to save and protect! I never knew about protecting the pilot light! Keep posting so I can learn from you too :-)
    BOB73
  • @Renoir my paternal grandmother noticed my love for drawing.  I loved the comic strips in newspapers and would sketch Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Blondie and Dagwood from when I can remember and then I had a poster board and meticulously drew the King of Hearts playing card - covering the whole poster board (I still remember how fun it was - I would rather draw than play with siblings). My grandmother knew a woman who taught oil painting classes on Wednesday nights so, she signed me up - she bought all of my supplies and framed every single painting I ever did and hung it proudly in her house.  We painted from life, I was the only child in the room so my still life set ups would be more child appropriate like a clown doll sitting on a bucket although I did paint a wine bottle and fruit still life one time.  It would take me weeks and weeks to finish a painting - the paintings stayed in the studio until they were done so when my mother saw me coming to the car with a canvas, she knew I had completed something.  It was very sweet and special. 

    An aunt asked me to paint my clown sitting on the bucket for her new granddaughter's bedroom and at such a young age, I said "sure". Now, the last thing I wanted to do was paint that clown again but I loved my aunt and she said she would pay me.  So, I had my teacher set up the clown and bucket still life scene and I took to painting it again.  Like I said, it took me weeks to finish a painting (3 hour classes - once a week) - so, when I finally finished it, I took it to my aunt.  She asked how much and I looked at my father and he said that it was up to me - I asked him how much my classes were and he told me - so, in my head, I added up the number of classes it took me to do that painting and I told my aunt "I think $180 is fair" - she wrote me a check and no one said a word at that time until some cousins caught me a few weeks later and were chastising me "I cannot believe you charged Aunt Elise almost $200 for that clown painting!!!" like it was so ridiculous and I was embarrassed, couldn't explain myself and felt like I sucked miserably as any kind of artist. 

    I remember that stupid experience took the piss out of any passion I had for art  - so now, I can be obnoxious and I savor and delight in painting - I know how fragile my pilot light is and I try to protect it.  I am trying to paint a local scene for an upcoming fair - I completely suck right now.  I have no confidence, I wonder how I even ever thought I could paint such a thing and I am going to embarrass myself.  Then, I put my happy face on, get in my friggin' studio and put on my music and go to town.

    I'll never make a living as an artist - that is so arrogant.  So, it is a passion and I am blessed.  I'll have my painting ready for the show because I keep my word, but honestly, I don't know what I was thinking.   Sometimes, my hubris astounds even me.  :)

    So, keep your chin up, paint your daughter or her shirt or your shoe or a pear, but keep painting. 
    xoxoxo
    SummerdencalBOB73PaulB
  • @Renoir said: "Firefighters are all heart... they want to save and protect!" 
    To that I am in total agreement. They are all heart (the ones that aren't don't last long) but when that bell goes off and the adrenaline kicks in, they want to go fast (be first on scene) and break things (force open doors and break windows; take down walls; pry cars apart.) But those things have to be done to save and protect. "For every minute of going fast and breaking things (the fun stuff) there are hundreds or thousands of minutes in training, rolling hose, washing trucks and shoveling debris. It's not as glamourous as it seems. 
    PaulBForgiveness
Sign In or Register to comment.