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Forgiveness - Portrait Challenge Blog - 3rd Painting Completed!

edited November 2017 in Post Your Paintings
Above is the photo I chose to work with, myself 1984. Below is my charcoal pencil drawing/study for composition, tones, values and overall shape, it took me 17 hours over 2 days, 10" x 12" same as canvas for this. The photograph is blurry (not as much in my studio), highlights are a little over-saturated and I can compensate for this no worries. I plan to paint this in a loose style, soft edges. Later on I plan to paint a life size, full length portrait. The photo was taken during a very meaningful period that changed my life that I can never forget and don't ever want to. I've read of several artists who encountered something that changed their life forever, this is mine no different than the others. The drawing is not perfect, not without mistakes, better now than later. My next step is to undo the mistakes as I draw it onto canvas. Before I go any further in the process, comments, suggestions, recommendations, feedback are welcome please. Thank you and hope you enjoy!


  • That's a superb likeness!
  • @Forgiveness drawing is fantastic :) are you planning to transfer it on canvas?or draw it again on it?
  •  @rautchetan I'm going to trace this onto tracing paper, making the slight changes and transfer to canvas, ready for painting. I can check the tracing by overlaying it over the photo on the computer screen as the image will be displayed life size. Keeping in mind that the photo is but reference material.
  • Thank you so much @PaulB, this is a most recent development after so many years of trying. I always admired these artists who could get such a good likeness of themselves and always wanted to know how to do that. I believe I have it now, since my last full size portrait drawing. Practice and hard work makes perfect!
  • I think it is a boon to have a blurry photo. It leaves the painting open to interpritations and avoid putting unnecessary detail but values are clearer. Great sketch by the way.

  • edited June 2017
    @Kaustav this is perfect for this portrait thank you! In this, it is the spirit of it that is most important, consistent with values being clearer rather than detail, adding the likeness.
  • edited June 2017
    Great drawing @forgiveness.  I always love your drawings - they have a sort of sculptural quality that I find very appealing. Because the photo is blurry you'll be able to selectively sharpen particular areas and leave others vague which can have a really interesting effect in a painting. I'm really looking forward to seeing this translated into paint.
  • @tassieguy in the original photo the eyes have the most detail and quite good too, also looking forward to this, thank you!
  •  Forgiveness  Great drawing! Love it, it's better than the photo!

  • Great likeness @Forgiveness, and your mapping of values looks spot on. I'm certain all this prep work will be well worth it.
  • dencaldencal -
    edited June 2017
    Looks good


  • @Forgiveness ;  what a handsome man and such an appealing expression - that is so interesting that the blurriness will help when you go to paint.  Great job with your sketch and I look forward to your painting!  I may try to give the portrait challenge a go - I have only done charcoal drawings of myself before and it would be interesting to try it with oil paints.  I am tempted to start with just a tonal painting to get my feet wet.  I can't wait to see your finished painting!
  • Thank you, you've got the right idea @Julianna, start with a tonal painting and build slowly from there, get your feet wet!
  • @Forgiveness, there is a problem I want to point out, although it does not affect the likeness at all.  The subject's right ear (our left) is too wide.  I think the hair and the ear extend a little too far to our left.

    This from someone who cannot draw a bath, or exclude a draft.
  • edited June 2017
    @PaulB yes thanks, I see it now, quite obvious. It pays to be thorough in checking measurements, and appreciate someone else's feedback. This is great time to make these corrections. Even the best proofreaders should get honest feedback from someone. Left eye on right side of face needs to be more open, shadow indicating the cheek on the right side not close enough to the outside where the ear is. I often let a drawing like this sit with me a whole week, proofreading this piece, rechecking my measurements before committing to canvas. I love that proportional divider, can't live without it !
  • very handsome photo @Forgiveness , and nice light and shadows too! it'll make a great painting!
  • Thanks @anwesha looking forward to a more attractive painting as it will allow me to express more into it.
  • @forgiveness, I noticed a few things being a little off measurement-wise but honestly didn't think it would harm the painting. You know how to use the proportional dividers but don't overlook the value of a compass and a ruler.
  • edited June 2017
    @BOB73 So glad you suggested value of ruler and compass because this time I did, taking lessons from others here that I've already seen, quite helpful. And I like to do this for a week, ready for the tracing before committing to canvas. In the meantime I have another painting on the go, take about a week maybe 2 max, will be posting that any day soon.
    [Deleted User]
  • Great progress, @Forgiveness!  You capturing the character very well here.

    I guess if I'm to nit pick and CC, you could try "hanging the nose" a touch more with some dark tone under the ridges and coming back in on it with your tone there. It always helps me get noses to pop out. :tongue:

    Great stuff!
  • This my second attempt at this drawing, changed my mind when discovered the first attempt is in reverse and not pleased with that composition. This is the view/way that everyone would see me, and I wanted this view. The drawing on the tracing paper will now be carefully transferred to the canvas. This color photo I posted looks more attractive in my studio, to work from. What you see in this drawing is the work of an artist, draftsperson and graphic designer. The top right hand corner, light colored shape, will be eliminated as it serves no purpose in this composition. This portrait will be painted life size. To me, the composition feels balanced without it being perfectly centered. Is there anything that I can improve on before doing the transfer to canvas? Thank you so much!
  • @Forgiveness, I think the largest area in the hair extends too far to our left.

    You've pulled out amazing detail from that picture!
  • Looking forward to see it's WIP!
  • Portrait challenge @Forgiveness a contest. Look for winnin'.  =) 
  • edited July 2017
    Improvements I've made to this drawing and composition: adjusted the centering of the figure and simplified the drawing. With slightly less detail I can confidently transfer this to canvas with not too much chalk pencil, and may further adjust what actually goes on afterward. As this is happening, I've had to make adjustments due to dramatic change in weather as oil paint will react differently, and armed with snap caps for this one and just enough paint. Thank you for looking.
  • This is amazing!  What method will you use to transfer this to the canvas? I've been watching various tutorials and I'm very curious how you and others manage this part of the process.  Thanks in advance for sharing.
  • once more before you start actually painting, look again at the comments, including your own, on the contrast painting for the cloud challenge.  I'm hoping to see the painting develop.
  • The method I will be using to transfer is to chalk up the reverse side of this drawing by carefully following the drawing, place some support under the canvas, and carefully placing the drawing and taping it into position. I will probably use a sharpened colored pencil to complete so that I follow my moves as I go along without getting lost. It is important that I do not let the tracing paper shift on me while I do this. I will make further slight adjustments once completed this step.
  • edited July 2017
    Another newbie question, how does one "chalk up" the underside of the tracing paper? 

    Thank you for your patience with these questions which should be probably obvious to everyone else.
  • edited July 2017
    Thank you for asking, there are several ways to do this however in my case this requires precision. On the reverse side of the tracing I will carefully retrace the very same lines already in existence, using a chalk pencil. I will pay attention to have a sharp point to work with. Hopefully I will have little chalk on my canvas, too much chalk will interfere with oil paint by not adhering to the canvas adequately. I may remove any excess chalk as needed using a kneaded eraser. I hope this answers. the chalk pencil is "Stabilo CarbOthello 1400/105 ***** ".
  • edited July 2017
    @movealonghome thank you, it is tedious and it is fun when I think about some 60's psychedelic posters began like this and listening to Jimi Hendrix in the background!, I'm celebrating his life this year. hee, hee, hee!
  • edited July 2017

    @BOB73, Thanks, sure thing.

  • edited July 2017
    This is the tracing onto canvas. I've eliminated even more detail from the drawing, because it was a little more than I needed and not to use too much chalk on canvas because oil paint doesn't adhere too well. Still too much chalk, will be removing much with a kneaded eraser as I slowly get along in the painting. This will serve me good guidance along the way to completion. Going to mix colors for the very darkest areas first  and for the background, and go ahead and paint these in. Thanks again for looking.
  • This is going to be great.  I love it.  Your paper drawing looks fantastic.
  • Thank you @Ronna so glad you're there and also part of this challenge! I like what you are doing as well, looking forward!
  • Nice solid drawing to start, very detailed 
  • You are as methodical as a Swiss watch. You are really enjoying the process too I'll bet. You are doing splendidly.
  • Methodical start. When you are done pls post the final photo in the challenge section. Otherwise the votes might be impacted. 
  • Sure thing! I will post in the actual challenge thread, when complete.
  • edited July 2017
    Great start, @Forgiveness. You investment in careful planning and your methodical approach will pay dividends.
  • This is looking great. The shape of the negative space around the head is terrific.
  • edited July 2017
    Thanks @Roxy, included in my case is strong influence from graphic design. Good graphic design depends on considering both the inside and the outside spaces, nothing to do with Mark's method necessarily but more with what I'm introducing/bringing to my painting. In the end what I intend is a nice piece of art from the painting, not graphic design. So far I feel most comfortable with this approach, there are a few examples of fine artists who were both painter and graphic designer, draftsman included, very successful artists, beautiful painters. Just spent all night mixing color for the background (did not expect), upon closer observation of the photo, and still having such a good memory of this occasion in it, there happened to be more life in it than what I first perceived and anticipated for painting. That's a rock in the background which I am leaning on and I know that the rock is not blue and feel it important to the composition. Hope to post further development later today.
  • edited July 2017
     Please excuse the glare along top section. The painting does not have any red in it, and destroyed the subtle colorful grays in the background, only the not so good but best photo I could work out, very close to in the studio. It only took an hour to get the background in. I trust that I will feel better about this shortly as I continue to progress. I am striving for what is in the photo above but with much less blue in it. Texture in the rock is more clearly defined in my studio photo. I am inclined to fill the canvas and adjust the background later. Any suggestions/recommendations, please? Thanks! Also learning to work with impossible distractions and surprises all the time.
    MikeDerby[Deleted User]RonnaL.Duran
  • looks good so far.  i am enjoying the progress.  the drawings were especially nice to see
  • Your making  a strong start. I find painting backgrounds to be one of the most challenging aspects of painting a portrait. One of the things I have discovered is that the whole face can be painted before putting in a background, but I wouldn't recommend it. I just rough in the background as I'm putting in the hair and facial features and plan to change it later. In fact I have adopted this as my primary approach to painting. I think of every element of the painting as an under painting to establish values. Eventually, each element will be painted over with what (hopefully) becomes the final painting. I call my process "sneaking up on the painting." I haven't quite figured out how to sit down and paint something start to finish. I need time to "let the paint dry." I also use my iPhone to take photos of my work as I progress. The camera sees the errors my eyes can't. Then I go back and make corrections to sneak up a little closer to a finished painting. Happy painting!
  • edited July 2017
     My most sincere apologies for the worst photo in the world of this, even though it is the best I can do at this moment. The painting is going very slow, I feel upset with hurt feelings and I feel it is alright, and I refuse to quit this because it looks so very much better in my studio. This has been the most difficult painting to photograph, I tried everything it seems, to no avail. In the hair there is a dry area, looks off color, the entire photo is totally off color, it should appear almost monotone. Even with these setbacks, I am enjoying the painting aspect, but the rest of my life is in crisis, if this works out right I will end 17 years of abuse against me and save what might be the end of me as an artist. I understand myself to be in good hands with special friends helping me in the background, but have no clue what the final outcome will be or when. I just wanted to add about this painting, I've only used a no.2 round and no.4 filbert, no need for any other at this time. I am using internet cafe @ $4.00 an hour to get along for the moment. I will post again soon, I hope.Thanks for looking! Enjoy!
  • Don't worry about the photo. Keep painting, It will help you manage the crisis of life.
  • It seems to be coming along fine, @Foregiveness. In your other works your methodical and careful approach has produced really fine paintings and I'm sure the result will be the same this time. I agree with BOB73 re the problems you are having. Hope they clear up soon and in the meantime immersing yourself in painting will help you through.
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