My recent oil painting,Woman in Candle light

Hi friends,this is my latest painting,oil on canvas,16 X 20 inches in size.Reference pic is from Pixabay,I had this pic with me since 3 years,but I did not have the courage to paint it until now.I had a lot of trouble painting the details of the face and getting the angle of the lips and the smile in a convincing way,because of the small space.It's a lot easier to get these details when you a bigger space to manipulate.Anyway,it's almost finished.Comments and critique welcome,thanks for looking.


  • I’d say that you nailed it on the detail part being the source of problems. See this Sargent, it’s close to that size, he painted her face with maybe 10 brush strokes. For that small you really have to give that allusion of detail and not actual detail. The rest of the painting works. I really have enjoyed a lot of your work. 

    Sincerely Dak
  • Here is one I did of a head that’s about an inch wide. Definitely not up to the Sargent level, but I did try to paint it with about 10 strokes.
  • Dak,thanks for the comments.Yeah,this has been my problem,if you can call it that,trying to get the details, even in very small faces,like 1 inch or 2 inches in size.This is one of the paintings I did 2 years ago,painted a lot of faces in a small space,took a lot of time to get the feelings right.
  • I am posting a better pic without the glare,taken with a DSLR.
  • You captured the glow of the candles very well.

    You have somewhat over-defined the face. As @dakmediocreart said, fewer brushstrokes for such a small area would work better. You can do more with less.  :)
  • " I did not have the courage to paint it until now."

    Great that you've built your courage and you've produced a great painting.

    Which parts do you like most and how does it compare with the painting inside your head?

    The lamps are lovely. You've kept them very regular and aligned. It would have been easy to twist the perspective. The soft focus on the wood panelling to the right is lovely too. Definitely a technique you could use again. The straight piece in the top right corner looks harsh and out of place though.

    Have you got many more painting subjects lined up?
  • Thanks for the comments @tassieguy,much appreciated.Getting the desired result with a few brush strokes,is a dream for many artists,and I am not at that level.I do agree with the assessment that,I over worked on the face to get the desired result,there are too many layers underneath that one,still I am not fully satisfied with the final result of the face,although I am happy with the overall painting,though it's much like a relief that I finished it.I still believe I could have done better,maybe next time.

    Thanks for the comments @heartofengland,much appreciated.
    Like you said,I am happy with the lamps and the glow of the lamps.I am not fully satisfied with the face,maybe I will do better in my next painting.It's always tough for me to paint the clothes and all the folds,I don't know how I fared in that,you guys have to tell.I do love to paint faces and feelings and I started the work on my next painting.It involves 5 faces,let's see how it goes.
  • @sridhargopal, I didn't have much time to comment before so I'd like to add that there is a lot to like about this painting. As mentioned, you captured the sea of the candles beautifully and their light illuminates the woman with a wonderful golden glow.  You also captured her happy smile very well. The step she is sitting on and the brick and timber panels behind her are good, too.

    For future paintings I would suggest squinting at your source photo and paint only what you can see with you eyes almost closed. You should see something like this which would take far fewer brushstrokes to paint  and will look more painterly:

    It would be easier to illustrate what I mean if I had been able to do this with your actual reference photo. It's basically about simplifying things. If you look closely at the small Sargent painting @dakmediocreart posted you'll see that there is virtually nothing to their faces and yet in the context of the whole painting there is enough and they look realistic. 

    You are doing great. It is not easy to show our work when we are just starting out but getting feedback from other painters is worth gold. So keep painting and posting your work here. I look forward to seeing more from you. :)
  • Thanks @tassieguy for the comments and suggestions,like you said getting feedback is worth it's weight in gold.
Sign In or Register to comment.