Portraits and moving away from the reference.

 Hello everybody.  I just started this portrait and have a block in  done . I’m working on glazing the blouse at the moment.  I’m putting in the brighter colors and then I’ll glaze over it , not sure yet if I’m gonna stick with the yellow . I think I will maybe glaze over it with a transparent yellow oxide ?  I am going to move forward with the blouse and it’s nothing like the reference photo which is a brown sweater. 😖 I’m shooting for something more elegant. It’s a three-quarter portrait.  the background I plan on putting in subtle detail of a blackish wallpaper design. I’m looking at a few references on the website that I can copy from but again unlike what is in my reference photo . so I am doing things slightly different and using my creativity , any thoughts or comments would be great. 
 thank you 


  • I do this all the time. Only one painting in about 8 or 10 do I copy the whole thing slavishly.  

    Check your light source for shadow angles is first and foremost.  The shadow colours and angle must all tie in together to look right.
    Make sure the folds of the material you are creating are the correct shape and in the correct place, for that type of material and not the same as a woolen jersey.
    Put the resource photos and your painting in B&W and check the values are all OK?
    Have fun.
  • This is really looking like a nice block-in.  My first thought about doing a black background with the yellow blouse made me wonder if the focal point would then become the blouse because of the high chroma contrast with the blackish background.  Maybe more muted background and lower chroma/different color blouse so her face will stand out.  I like her expression already.
  • A portrait of someone for someone means you need to nail the likeness and hopefully capture something of personality. As long as they are happy there's not reason why you can't change other things. A portrait for your own expression obviously you can do anything you like as any portrait prize illustrates. I glazed some of the clothing and some other things on my current portrait. I found it was powerful when it works - creating a lovely glow. Mixing colours in glazes like the artists of old is a bit of a skill as results can be unpredictable - worth running a parallel canvas or something you can experiment on.
  • In regards to the blouse yes, I’m experimenting with glazes. What color should go over the top of this yellow? I want to have a glow from that yellow coming through but I’m just not sure what color to go with yet
  • What about a burnt sienna glaze over that yellow ? Thoughts . 
  • I haven't done sufficient glazing to know what will happen. In my limited experiments I could only partly predict the result - I've no idea what your yellow will do or what colour you're trying to achieve. My burnt sienna is opaque so not suitable for glazing (it becomes a scumble) - but I think W&N (PR101) may be transparent. I have transparent red oxide which is very suitable for glazing and I think would work well with yellow.
  • The advantage with oils is you could try it and then wipe off if you don't like the effect.
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