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My very first oil painting

HadeelHadeel -
edited June 18 in Post Your Paintings
Still a work in progress, but basically I have no idea what I'm doing 😅 I am not an art student and have never painted in any medium before. Decided to try my hand at a portrait even though I am aware that it's not the best choice for complete novices. Any comments, tips, criticism would be highly appreciated ❤️ 
PS I'm painting at home so not using turps, my only medium is pure poppyseed oil. 
PPS I know my choice of a reference picture is far from ideal, but this is a photo of my mom that has always captivated me. Can't seem to bring new life into it though, especially given the age and quality of the photo. 



  • Hi @Hadeel,

    and welcome to the forum,

    Its very good for your first and I would not have been so brave as to do a portrait for my first so well done.

    Starting something like a piece of fruit is advisable before moving onto the complexities of portraiture.


  • Hadeel

    Excellent result for the very first.

    Choice of source being limited to a very soft focus mid range image has influenced your work, pushing your brush to show more edge and definition than really exists. No problem with that it’s done often, however,  your task was made more difficult as a result. Was the intent to reproduce the image in paint or to improve the image with more definition? Compare the neck edge join with the hair. Compare the ear lobe. The soft fold b/w the cheek and top lip and the shadow around the eyes are important visual depth cues in faces, darker looks deeper. Still in progress, so probably changed already.


  • edited June 18
    Welcome, @Hadeel. :)

    That's a great first painting. Your mom looks lovely. And even though it's an old photo, it's suffused with a soft pink light throughout that sort of unifies everything.

    Many of us here started at zero in terms of knowledge and experience so you're in good company. Your doing great. You'll learn heaps by watching Mark's  free videos. Hope you enjoy the forum.  :)

  • I think you’ve done a wonderful job with this. @Hadeel
    You’ve captured the eyes and the mouth and the expression. 
    The skin is something you could work on. The face is a little too wide.  
    I’d never attempt a portrait myself so  I can’t advise you but lots of artists here are very talented portrait artists. 
    All I can say is that your mother is recognisable from the painting , so you must have done a lot of it very well. 

  • You captured the likeliness, if you pay more attention to mid tones that would be great, mid tones in portraits is very hard to match 
  • Thank you all for your feedback 😊 As @hasan_bat mentioned, I'm greatly struggling with matching the skin tone. @Hilary, I've narrowed the face a little bit, thnx so much for your observation. @tassieguy, I do need to suffuse the painting with pink, just waiting for it to dry a bit then will give it a shot. 
  • Still a long way to go. 
  • That's looking very good! Keep going..

    I had a play with the original image, but it's such a poor quality picture that's it's hard to recover much more information. This is the best I could do if it helps you:

  • @Richard_P, omg, thnx so much! I'm sure this will be a great help as I continue to work on the portrait. 
  • Welcome to the forum.
    We learn the most from our greatest challenges.  The painting is coming along fine.  
    Working on the values and hard and soft edges  will give you the best results at first.
  • good start , i think you are on the right tracks , the only problem is the quality of the source photo
  • You’re definitely getting there. @Hadeel
    Richard’s photo should make things a lot easier to see the planes of her face. 
    Portraits are SO difficult. You’re very brave to attempt it but I’m sure you’ll do an excellent job. 
    It’s a lovely photo. A beautiful woman. 
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