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First oil painting - Not targeting hard realism per se, please share your critique with me

I'm grateful to Mark for his willingness to share his expertise with the wider world, quite an inspiration. Attached a 45 x 35 cm portrait of my daughter. I've tried to follow his procedures but with limitations:
1- space: I'm short of space, available space is low ceiling 4x2 meters to accommodate a desk ,book shelves (lots of them) , tools and stuff, which leaves me real cramped when it gets to painting.
2- lighting: no way I can replicate,
3- Personal traits: Mark is very organized, unfortunately I start organized but lose it completely as work progresses.
4- Materials: I cannot procure the geneva colors in Egypt but managed the winsor and newton water mixable oil colors. 
5- Varnish: it is not applied yet as I am not sure it is finished yet, need your critique.
RenoirPaulBRichard_PBobitalyDaturamattyblueForgivenessElizaJuliannaFlattyBOB73ArtistMartin1SummermichalisWishiwaspaintingKaustavmahdi

Comments

  • Well my initial response is this is wonderful! I understand your limitations as I have them too. But you were able to effectively utilize light to create a depth of values.
    The thing that does pop out to me is the placement of her ear which appears to be tilted too much. I cannot tell because there is no reference photo. You may want to check that.
  • Thank you Renoir, you're right about the tilt in her ear. much appreciated
  • Really well done! You've captured a very good pose and expression.
  • I'm encouraged and overwhelmed by your comments, thank you all for making this an enjoyable experience
  • I really like your style of painting.  Very pleasant.  Your reflections on her jawline, for instance, are really nice.
  • Fantastic! very good realism.
  • This is excellent - especially for a first painting! There is good realism in the face and I love the way you've handled the patterns on the fabric of the curtain and the model's shirt. Well done! :)
  • Thank you tassieguy, please note it is my first "oil painting", but I did few pastel and water color before, but this was 25 plus years ago. Now I'm retired, decided to explore new frontiers. 
  • Retired. Me, too. That's why I took up painting.  :)
  • Oh, I love the way you handled the drapery and her blouse!  There is a story there - very well done.  Thank you for sharing!

  • @khaled Good Job! This is very good realism and painterly too. The colors are warm and the composition is inviting to the eye. I noticed the ear too but it doesn't look too un-natural. The light coming from in front of her face suggests there should be slightly more highlight in her eyes. Check your source, I may be wrong.
  • Dear BOB73, I must admit it is tempting for me to add more highlight to the eyes, I always consider the eye window to the soul, I spent fare amount of time trying not to over-react to my inclination, but I think even the slightest brush applied there will change the emotions of the moment and tell different story. Still I'm struggling.
  • I'd like also to thank "movealonghome" for his comment. The thing I've been looking at several wonderful works posted to this blog, which can easily be mistaken for a photograph, this is where the "hard realism" came from. I do not see my work fall into this category.  
  • Dear Julianna, you've actually touched the core of the painting; the story. Indeed there's a story there. The composition might not be a first choice for artist, it is too risky to depict the portrait from almost profile view looking out of a window which is not there. The issue is the view my beloved daughter is enjoying. We were vacationing in Aswan, upper Egypt, the hotel is built on a Nile island, our room overlooking the narrower Nile stream, heavenly peaceful and quite, attached one full view from the window and a close up to the far bank. There are many competing emotions here, we live in Alexandria to the north on the Mediterranean, our home overlooking the central station which comes with all sorts of noise and traffic, unbelievable daily struggle. Ironically the hotel is named after the Egyptian queen "Isis", a name which is degenerated by the worst of modern time evil. On top of all that the magnificent Nile is still standing despite the incessant beating from all forms of human activities big and small from all those who live on its banks from its origin along its journey until it dissolves into the Mediterranean. This is very short account of a story bigger than alphabet. 

    Incidentally, the Artist whose work have inspired me since my early childhood fell in love with this spot on the Nile, Hussein Bicar 1913-2002, follow his work on this link 
    http://www.hbicar.com/      
    (look for Nubia) 


  • Beautiful illustration of the fertile banks and threatening desert just beyond.  Beautiful and ancient.
  • edited February 18
    Isn't that amazing!  There had to be a story - a sense of emotion - it brings the viewer in.  Thank you for sharing her story with us!!  Beautiful countryside photos btw - lovely.  Do you know what I am learning and find most interesting?  In a museum, every single painting I am drawn to has a story - I don't know the story but something is conveyed and I think as a viewer - we mostly complete what we believe the story may be so that brings us more involvement with the painting.

    I love going to museums.

  • So hard to believe this is your first oil painting. Fantastic job, and not just for a first painting at all!
  • @khaled What you call "hard Realism" we refer to as Photo-Realism. While we all strive to develop the skills to paint like a photograph most of us want to be recognized for painting artful pictures not duplicating a photo. I'm glad you chose not to add more highlight.  That's the beauty of this forum, people don't get angry about whether a person gives a critique or not and we don't get upset when our advise is ignored. One thing we all have to remember is that the artist is the only one looking at the painting in person. Everyone else is looking at a digital representation.
  • @ArtistMartin1 as I mentioned in previous post, it is my first "oil" medium, I did pastel and watercolor but ages ago, I had a demanding job before retirement, but deep inside me I was always painting in the twilite zone of my mind, life is seldom kind, it is our main artistic drive.
  • Renoir said:
    Well my initial response is this is wonderful! I understand your limitations as I have them too. But you were able to effectively utilize light to create a depth of values.
    The thing that does pop out to me is the placement of her ear which appears to be tilted too much. I cannot tell because there is no reference photo. You may want to check that.
    Dear Renoir, I've tried to fix the tilted ear with as little brush strokes as possible, and opted to darken the ear values a little bit, also tried to couple the ear and hair with few tufts. Also, find attached the reference photo, unfortunately it is poor cell phone photo, with heavy red-ish hue and misleading exposure, and enlarging the size makes it even worse, but the moment is registered in the good side of my memory, that is my true reference.

  • @khaled ; When comparing the reference photo to the painting, I find that you have handled the painting in an astounding manner.  I'm going to keep a copy of this painting as a reminder of how a modern reference photo can be painted in a timeless manner in an oil painting.  I'm really impressed.   Can that be taught?  Or, is it innate?  The two are different, but what you did with the painting is is beyond words.  I must remember that at some point, art has to enter a painting because the photograph has already done its job.  Summer   
  • Summer said:
    @khaled ; When comparing the reference photo to the painting, I find that you have handled the painting in an astounding manner.  I'm going to keep a copy of this painting as a reminder of how a modern reference photo can be painted in a timeless manner in an oil painting.  I'm really impressed.   Can that be taught?  Or, is it innate?  The two are different, but what you did with the painting is is beyond words.  I must remember that at some point, art has to enter a painting because the photograph has already done its job.  Summer   
    @Summer, your perspective of the painting puts huge responsibility on my shoulders to answer your query sincerely and candidly, please allow me some time to ponder. 
  • I should have been more specific.  In a more concrete way, it's the way you changed the blouse to include a less modern design.  Then the edges of the blouse were rendered using fewer hard edges and the background and middle grounds seem to have been brought closer together.  I think in the future, I shall ask myself more questions as to how a photograph can be changed when painting from photographs and when I'm finished, I'll ask myself: "Does this look like a photograph or a painting."  I like your gentle painting style.  Looking forward to seeing more of you paintings in the future.  You are certainly very good at portraiture.

  • Dear @Summer, you're right, and as I've indicated in the title of this post "...not targeting hard realism .." which @BOB73 corrected me to call photo-realism, this is the whole point. I must say I admire the photo-realism, the effort and tenacity put into the painting, but art has a purpose that will make one always go back to replenish lost emotions. I've never had any formal art training, I'm qualified engineer and retired as a CEO of major Oil Pipelines company, strangely enough I always find common ground connecting my artistic emotions to the driest bottom line financial statement. I always try to simplify issues and choose shortest path, to quote Einstein "as simple as possible but no simpler". One power point slide I always use for my team depicts 2 maps, one very complicated and the other much simpler, the viewer of the first will admire the skill and time it took the draftsman to complete his map, but he would not easily use it for his purpose, as opposed to the 2nd which will always be his choice in time of need, art is no different (this is my feeling, because in photo-realism one is required to put much effort into details that might not serve the artistic purpose of the viewer -as well as the artist-) . 
      
  • I agree with Summer. Your painting is much improved over the source photo.

    Well done!
  • Outstandingly good. 
    Your brushstrokes are incredible. 
    This is your first painting !! 
    All I can say is , ‘ Keep Going ‘. 
    Wow and Wow again ! 
  • Oh that is so beautiful! I can see the subtle difference with the ear. This is so artful yet realistic. 
  • @khaled, You and Einstein are both right. Great way to illustrate a point. You should be a teacher. I was a pipe-liner too so we have a connection as well.
  • BOB73 said:
    @khaled, You and Einstein are both right. Great way to illustrate a point. You should be a teacher. I was a pipe-liner too so we have a connection as well.
    I hope you enjoyed pipelining as much as I did. In my view the embodiment of Einstein quote in painting art is my role model I mentioned before; Hussein Bicar 1913-2002, follow his work on this link 
    http://www.hbicar.com/      
    While we all try to create the 3-D illusion, looking at his work, particularly "Nubia" series, it has 'n > 3' multi-dimensions, maybe because I've touched the land, experienced the smell and spiritual culture of that time, of course things change, but his work froze the time, meanwhile with admirable simplicity and balance as I've ever seen.  Here some photos which may give you a feel for the place.







  • edited February 22
    Thank you @Khaled, I found this great artist's work to be moving and emotional, quite uplifting. What an incredible master artist!
  • Oh, I'd love to visit Egypt! Alas, I think I've left it too late! These days I don't think I'd survive the flight. The desert, the Nile and the ancient monuments are all wonderful subjects for a landscape painter.

  •  Signed it and applied Brilliant Gloss.

    Please advice on suitable display lighting, I'm dismayed of the reflections.
  • Beautiful portrait!  :)
  • @khaled this is great realism Khaled. Whatever arrangements you did with the light is amazing and masterly. I would have softened the top hairline a little but that doesn't take away the fact that it is a brilliantly painted picture. I love it. If you are getting water mixable paints then I am sure that you'll get regular oil paints too.
  • Let me re-phrase my inquiry; after hanging the painting on the wall, the room lighting is reflecting badly on the newly applied Brilliant Gloss surface. How do you arrange your room lighting to get rid of undesirable reflections?
  • @Kaustav my problem with the regular oil is: I'm working at home in a tight space, and the smell of the materials such as turpentine proved unbearable to my family. Water mixable oil colors did pass the test. 
  • edited March 9
    @khaled Yeah...turps is a big put-off no doubt. I though of using only linseed oil but somehow i did not like the usability and too much oil might make the paint layer wrinkly. If you can get some odorless mineral spirits (OMS) somehow then it might solve the problem (provided it is not too costly). I hope you contribute more often in this forum. I want to see more of Egypt in your paintings.
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