Critiques welcome:Oxfordians in Quarantine

I took some pictures of my two friends as we dressed up to have a lil catchup in my dormroom during quarantine. The reference picture is a mix of a few different ones I took, and I'm using a selection of them as a reference.

It's far from finished, but it would be really helpful with some comments on it!

I have quite a bit of work to do with the arms and legs of the woman to the right (I'm struggling to get the right values, and find it hard to get the skin texture to seem right), as well as her hair and her dress. I am also going to bring in the lights on the black dress of the girl to the right and refine her hands. 

I'm struggling to paint hair well, any tips? I also don't know what I want to do with the background. I don't want to bring in my messy room, but perhaps it would be nice to bring in the curtains? 



  • Great start, especially skin tones. I read somewhere that hair should be blocked in initially and then built up with subtle colour/value changes using almost a 'combing' action with your brushstrokes! Gotta say it's worked in portraits I've done. Good luck, this is going to be good... 
  • Great start, @Andreastykket. I think you could make the curtains work as a background. But I think you would need to make some sort of sofa out of what they are reclining on. Not sure how you would go about that. Maybe look at some Sargent works.  :)
  • You are way ahead of the game. I hope you will keep  the wall and curtain colors from the photo they  work so well with the warm flesh tones and dress color. Too bad the girl on the right wasn't wearing white.. that would make it sensational. The only people in my dorm room looked and smelled like football players... you are way ahead of the game.
  • GTOGTO -
    edited July 2020
    I think an Edward Hopper green for the curtains and indication of the bench below and to the left.  The white spots on the black dress will create the form against the background curtains.  
  • The calf jutting forward is distracting.  It seems wider than in the picture, and maximum rate of change of the calf in the picture, is matched by a concave form on the leg in the painting, while it is concave in the painting, or maybe straight.

    I am not sure what the focal point is.  The most attractive splash of light is the leftward hand, and where it touches the knee, the middle hand, and maybe some hair on the right.

    The faces are nicely drawn, but less prominent.

    The subject mater of the pictures is obviously very pretty, but the picture is not a painting, the lighting is poor, which leaves you either doing a painting of the picture, with it's flaws, or you have to invent your own contrast and lighting.  For instance, we want defining shadows on faces, but here the shadows are distracting in places.
  • For instance, the subject on the right has a flower in her teeth, which would seem to be the subject mater focal point, the most unusual or dramatic element, but it is not well lit, so in the photo it is not the focal point.  It is subjective as to whether that is a good composition.
  • Thank you all for your comments, as always really insightful and great for continuing to develop. 
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