From Charcoal to oils … advice welcome

This year I have been doing a Bargue Drawing class to improve my drawing skills and get over my fear of adding people to my paintings.  Below is this weeks homework done as usual in charcoal.  At this point I’m almost finished with the class and so yesterday I decided to put my homework to oils after seeing others here working on portraits.

So , here’s my set up … on canvas paper 

Then here’s my .. not quite sure if I’m finished … painting

Now I did find that I lost lines while painting which is different than when I’m  using charcoal.  With my landscapes I am usually blocking in , so I had tried to use Marks method and layer in the values, using the top print as my blue gray instead of the sepia tones. Did I lose or change his expression? My husband had been my critic this morning and we are both going blind lol…


  • Nice job! Very accurate. I see a few tiny differences.
    You have the strong shadow line of the nose as dead straight but I see a slight rounding of the bridge at the top between his eyes.
    ... there's something about the shadows at the left of his mouth.Feels like it's dropping off a touch too quickly.
    ...and the left eyebrow seems a little raised comparatively giving him a slightly quizzical look. 

    That said, really good work! 
  • edited July 20
    Very cool.

    Have you painted the same person, yes.

    Have you produced an exact facsimile, no.

    Have you changed his expression, yes. Yours looks more tight lipped peevish / annoyed. Slight but there.

    @Jcdrob has highlighted the main ones. For me, the left hand mouth shadow is the main difference.

    Only noticeable because they're side by side. Useful in the future though, if you get a face that's "off".
  • From my very limited experience may I offer one thing that I do.

    I keep the corners of the rectangle as long as possible. Once I've covered my sketch I can use these corners as reference points to measure eyes etc using my proportional divider. 
  • @Jcdrob yes I was thinking it was that corner of his mouth that has been making me blind and made him look angry.  Thank you for taking a look …  it was fun trying it in oils. 
  • Thanks @heartofengland .. yep on the outside box , I learned that today for sure. I really hated losing my reference lines that I can keep with charcoal drawing.  I use a compass for short distance comparisons and a proportional divider for the rest. I’m still working on doing an exact or at least an attractive copy of a person , that’s why I didn’t draw my husband or anyone I know. 
    thanks again
  • Your Bargue drawing is great, @joydeschenes. And you've made a good painting of it using the drawing as a basis. As mentioned, there are a couple of minor differences but I don't think they matter much. 
  • @tassieguy thanks my Bargue class is almost complete and I’ve really learned a lot. My final drawing assignment will be a charcoal portrait from a photo. After that I’m considering buying Mark’s Portrait class. I’ve always been very hesitant to include people in my paintings but I’d really like to give it a try. 

    hope your feeling better and thanks for your encouragement 

  • Cheers, @joydeschenes. I'm like you, a bit afraid of including people in my paintings.  I've only ever done one portrait. A Bargue drawing class might help me.  :)
  • Rob

    Do your drawing and painting upside down, forget it is a portrait and focus on getting the right value in the right place. No more difficulty than in landscape painting, just a tad more effort in drawing accuracy.

  • Thanks, @Dencal. You're quite right. Funny how we get these psychological blocks about things. I'll eventually have  go at another portrait. And perhaps do some life drawing sessions like you do.  :)
  • That’s true @dencal I have found that with my charcoal drawings I do lose track that it’s a person especially when I’m working on the values, at that point I’m just seeing shapes.
    Actually this charcoal drawing above is my first “full face” attempt and @tassieguy your correct about it being a brain block or even a fear. Again thanks for your suggestions. 
    Now I have a landscape to get back to..,,   
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