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First "real" portrait!

Please critique and give advice.

This is my first attempt at a "real" portrait.  The reference photo is attached followed by the painting.  I didn't like the colors in the reference photo, so I attempted to make up my own.  

It is Geneva oil on a 16 by 20 stretched canvas.



  • mstrick96

    Great first portrait.

    Facial shadows missing - lower lip, base of nose, chin, lower eyelids etc - these values are great opportunities to create form and depth to model the human face.

    The hair detail makes this the focus of the painting. The face is softened out of the picture.

    The bridge of the nose between the eyes is too broad. Nose too small.

    You have done some good work here, just not finished yet. Thanks for posting your work and the photo.


  • This is very good for a first portrait!  I think you’ve made a great start.  As already mentioned, further work on the shadows, especially below her mouth and around her nose, might be the next step.  You might also check the plane of her forehead and cheekbone; it looks as if something’s a bit off there. I would love to see this when you are finished.  I find portraits difficult and I learn so much from seeing how others work.  Thanks for posting! 
  • Its good.  You did your best work on the most important part, the eyes.  The others have already offered specific areas to work on.  Let me offer you a couple ways.  Have a look at Marks videos on drawing in proportion and then buy a good set of calipers and maybe a proportional divider.  They really help.
  • SummerSummer -
    edited September 2017
    It's a lovely painting all on its own, but we want to make it look more like her.  I agree with the others' suggestions about ticking key points with the recommended yellow pencil using the devices already mentioned.         
  • YUP, what they said. Shadows on faces always are darker than how we first perceive them. This is good work though.
  • The user and all related content has been deleted.
  • Thanks, everyone.  Great help.

    KevinGE, I was actually trying to do a more realistic painting using Mark's techniques.  This is my first attempt to capture a real person.  I might want to try doing some caricatures!  

    Regarding there ree not being enough head above the eyebrows... I'd like a little more feedback.  Not sure if I understand.

    the photo I was working from was cropped so that the top of the head was cut off.  I had to guess at what that would look like.  Am I correct that I need to put more hair at the top of her head to increase the height of the skull?  Or are you talking about the hairline at her forehead?  

    I'll my latest rework in the next comment.

  • Ok, I've attempted to incorporate your comments.  Ready for more!!  Did I understand and incorporate them correctly?  Not sure if I got the shadow areas dark enough.

  • This is a good first effort.  Many of the things mentioned above I agree with but also
    the photo is more orange and you have used pinks for the skin. 
    Mark has a great video on skin tones "how to mix great flesh tones", I hope to be able to utilize on my first portrait. I think too your color checker would help.  I thought you did a good job on the fabric also.
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