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My mother’s portrait, finished :)

jarubejarube -
edited April 18 in Post Your Paintings
Yesterday I started a portrait of my mother. It will be a surprise gift for her birthday.
I feel sensitive about this portrait and want it to be good.

So I want criticism from you, what looks wrong and I could fix it. I want it to be alla prima, so face should be finished today while paint is still wet.

I know it isn’t photo realistic and I didn’t seek it to be this way. Just want likeness and the same emotion.


  • You’ve definitely captured both the likeness and emotion here, and you yourself have the look of your mother. Beautiful. 
  • Thank you, @Boudicca for kind words :)

    Now I see after posting a photo that nose should be widened...
  • I agree with everything Boudicca said , it is beautiful already:) maybe the forehead and the jaw needs a bit of light, but wait for more expert opinions..
  • It looks very good, but you have a lighter background than the photo. That could give you problems estimating the shadows (and highlights). A shadow against a light background looks darker than it would have if the background was darker.
  • BOB73BOB73 -
    edited April 9
    Looks really good. The mouth is perfect and so are the eyes. You've already noticed the nose is a little straighter than you have it. Did you see the lower left side of her face is picking up a lot of highlight from the white shirt? You should leave that out of the painting. The proportions of her cheek there are good already. Beautiful eyes and expression.
  • A really good likeness, and she looks very spry and youthful how you executed it. Very nice.
  • This is turning out to be a great portrait, and I’m sure she’ll love it! I think the likeness and emotion of the photo is captured very well. I agree with the comments about the background. IMHO I think the eyes could be a little warmer but that may just be me. Keep painting!
  • Hello, guys.
    I am so happy about your comments and suggestions! Thank you very much!

    It's a big advantage to have such accurate and experienced advices from you  <3
    I tried to fix all the remarks about the face and background you mentioned.
    Today finished everything else. Painting is very fresh, so if you will have future critics, I will try to fix while the painting is still wet.

  • Excellent in every way.  Sign it.
  • BOB73BOB73 -
    edited April 18
    Sign It!  But I have to say that the hair is a little too painterly/abstract for me mainly because her face is so well detailed. I would like to see just a little more suggestion of realism in the hair mostly in the front and as it sweeps over her ear. As it goes toward the top and back it can stay as is. Probably everyone else will think it is done as is. I'm so hard to please sometimes.
  • I agree, u can sign it! Beautiful!! Only a little things, if u can make a little part of the iris more light, I know it's just an enhancement compared to the photo but u can use it to make those blue eyes more enchanting. But it's only my idea, it's beautiful also like it is.
  • I think this looks really great! You should be proud.
  • No suggestions at all except to sign it , frame it and admire it. It’s beautiful.  

  • I agree! It's lovely. :)
  • @BOB73
    Thank you for your suggestions. I understand what you say and agree with you in some way. The picture is really loose and blurred, especially keeping in mind that it is not a small one (60cm x 60cm)

    Many years I worked as a photographer. The main intention was to make faces as sharp as possible. Maybe I feel a little bit bored from crispy images, and now savour with blurred ones. I feel better saying less than too much.

    Thank you!!!

    Thank you for your kind words. After delivering a gift to my mom we both will order a frame and hang a picture in her house.
  • It's a very strong likeness, great job

  • @jarube I agree with you about ignoring advice/suggestions. It is your painting and in the end it is yourself that has to be pleased with it, not us. It's difficult to know (for me) if a person is asking for critique because he's stuck or just needs a little confirmation to bolster his/her confidence. Your portrait is terrific and leaving things loose around the subject's face is a good way to bring out the expression and details of the face. You should be well satisfied with your painting.
  • I think this is beautiful!!!  very nicely done.  I especially love her pearls.
  • @BOB73
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I ask for critics, because I want viewers to be honest and I like to hear all different opinions. I categorize mistake to critical mistakes and average mistakes. All critical mistakes, such as wrong human body features, scars, wounds, 3-dimensional mistakes I fix ASAP

    (for ex. as dencal wrote here that hand is too big and he sees scar near elbow )

    For other mistakes I consider and then decide to fix or not. Well, even when I decide not to fix, your remarks are very important to me, because I adjust my future works according to it. I am just learning and all your views I take very seriously. Your response helps me to teach myself, it's the only way I can get experienced feedback about my work. Six months ago I searched for a private portrait painting lessons in my city, but unsuccessfully. You are my ONLY TEACHERS, please be patient :)

    Thank you! To be honest, pearls are my favorite part as well. I wanted very much not to overdo it, so I spend only ~20 min for it. Well, I am pleased with the result :)
  • Since you want constructive feedback, some thoughts:

    Have a look at how Vermeer did the pearls in this painting. One simple white highlight in the centre, and it works really well:

    "In the present work, the artist contrived a remarkably economic technique for rendering the pearl necklace that he later replicated in the Allegory of Faith. After having laid in the dark greenish shadows of the girl's neck, he superimposed a continuous, light greenish-gray band of paint to serve as the basis of the strand of pearls. At this stage, no attempt was made to define the shape of the individual pearls whose contours, instead, were left deliberately hazy in order to convey their natural translucence. Once the underlying layer of gray paint was thoroughly dry, he deftly applied a sequence of thick white spherical highlights which indicate the position, spherical nature and reflective quality peculiar to pearls."

    The lips don't have any texture on them at the moment, you could add a little as per the source photo.

    You could soften the bottom lip a little, this might help it blend in a little more to the skin and draw the attention of the viewer to the eyes.

    You could add in a little more value shapes in the eyebrows.

    The hair could have more highlighted areas where the lightest hair strands are.
  • @Richard_P ;
    You are very kind, your thoughts are priceless!
    What a coincidence, I painted pearls in the same manner, as you posted - mid tones first, then some shadows defining each pearl shape and highlights for each perl reflection. I was led by my intuition only.

    I felt there is something wrong with the lips, unfortunately face has already dried...
    Thank you very much for your remarks!
  • Congratulations!  Your mother will be so happy!  Well done !
  • Great job!
    What sticks out to me is her hair and back blend into the background.

  • I think you handled it quite well. There are many nice qualities in your picture. Congratulations. 
  • @Filuren
    Thank you!

    Yes, I see it too. Looks strange, but I decided to leave as it is.

    Thank you. I noticed you usually respond in indistinct way. You are my favorite artist in this forum, so sometimes would be nice to hear from you what exactly is good and what is bad :)

    This picture was made 11 years ago, she was 50. She looks much younger than her age.
  • KevinGE said:
    ""Yesterday I started a portrait of my mother. It will be a surprise gift for her birthday." 11 years ago..
    Stop being confrontational @KevinGE
  • It's not about growing up @KevinGE ... Adults judge things in relation to the context.. Now, this is a learning forum, based on the DMP method, where even in the learning videos there are exact copies of a photo (I remember the door video for example). Now I understand what u mean with your comments but you just said she should enhance the photo and to something better..this is not very helpful, it is like saying to someone who wants to be beat the 100m record "just go faster". Some times ago I opened a topic here "how to draw on canvases and use photo as reference" and "photorealism and photorealistic" about how to use photos for reference, if u want to contribute in those it could be nice, so everyone knows how to do "something better". This doesn't want to be a flame, it's the topic "photo" and "painting" which is very delicate and I understand what u said even if I don't like how you done it.
  • KevinGE said:
    @Richard_P, grow up. Justify your comment. Artistically justify it or is it just a 'champion of the weak' thing? Is the painting that hopeless you need to white knight it?
    Wow, calm down, eh? Jarube posted her reasons for painting that photo, and you dismissed them with your 11 years ago comment.. that was why I called you out on being confrontational.
  • Er.. not I don't :)

    "Lastly, 11years ago? What's wrong with the way she looks now? Painters should paint in their own time not the past."

    And why do you insist on others doing what you say is right? Accept their reasons.

  • You have some anger issues I think you need to work out.
  • There is no must in art because art is free. Wassily Kandinsky

  • Let's just stop this @KevinGE and @Richard_P , let's take a pause and try to not ruin completely this thread. It was @jarube beautiful gift to her mother and it turned out as a war. Let's just stop, because anyone can have a clear idea reading the messages above and decide what happened here. 
  • You are right @Bobitaly. @Jarube sorry for derailing your thread. It's a wonderful painting and a great gift, I'm sure she will love it! :)
  • I think Keven G is just playing devils advocate which is common in public debate.  It's meant to stir thinking not emotion.  We mustn't lose sight of that.  And, it pops up where ever it wants.  It takes more courage than we realize to play devils advocate.  Just saying. 
  • @Summer I got his point and I tried to turn out the conversation in a polite and constructive way in my first post. But he insulted @Richard_P and the posts were deleted.. so u have a partial contest.. We need Masters and Devil advocate not insults. if u want to talk about the use of photos in painting u open a topic and talk about it..not just jump in a conversation and insult people.
  • True, @Hilary. But it looks like a satisfactory outcome has been achieved. :) .
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