about to start first portrait and first dmp. brush sizes?

hi all. getting ready to take a bold step and want to (try) to have all my ducks in a row before getting started. this is a 16x20 stretched canvas drawing of my wife (with a few corrections needed). With an image this close up and this large what size brushes would you recommend? i would still like to use filberts. and i would like it to be a little loose and not blended so much. sorry it looks funky, the lines are barely visible in real life so i had to change the exposure, gamma, saturation, etc in photoshop just to see the drawing at all. thanks!
rautchetanPaulBdencalFlatty[Deleted User]


  • PaulBPaulB mod
    That's a beautiful pose but not a great photograph in terms of both resolution and color.  You'll be essentially creating a monochrome painting. Are you intending to replicate that coloring?
  • ThatAIGuy

    Mark recommends:

    Different people have different preferences when it comes to brushes. I've tried all kinds of brushes, and this is what I recommend to people who do not want to spend too much money:

    At least two small detail brushes, like the Winsor & Newton Monarch Round #00

    At least four small filbert brushes like the Winsor & Newton Artists' Oil Brush Filbert #2

    At least two medium-size filbert brushes like the Winsor & Newton Artists' Oil Brush Filbert #5

    If you are going to be painting large paintings (30"x 40" or larger) you may want to purchase some larger filberts.

    The above recommended number of total brushes should be considered a bare minimum. I personally use about three or four times as many brushes when I paint. Using too few brushes will make painting more difficult.

  • Getting advice from Denis and Mark Carder! It doesn't get any better than that. You can use a little larger brushes for hair and background. @PaulB makes a good point about color. It would be great if you could have your wife pose for you to get the colors.
  • PaulB said:
    That's a beautiful pose but not a great photograph in terms of both resolution and color.  You'll be essentially creating a monochrome painting. Are you intending to replicate that coloring?
    yeah. mostly yellow ochre or raw umber
     lol. although im taking it very seriously i picked the simplest photo i could find because i'm basically going to use this as a learning experience rather than trying to make a great painting...it looks really overexposed on here for some reason. its actually darker than that
  • edited June 2017
    Nice pose and looks like a fairly accurate drawing. Great idea for a first painting to keep colour simple (as will be the case here) and focus instead on value and form. Even though the photo is basically monochrome I think this could make a lovely portrait. You say you want it to look fairly loose and unblended.  This will produce a more painterly and lively effect and the brushes Denis mentioned should be about right for this.

  • Let us know whether you find the photo as simple to paint as you're anticipating - I'm interested to know.

    i feel the same lol. i'll post updates as i progress. going tomorrow to get the photo printed and laminated and am waiting on some brushes to come in the mail.

    tassieguy said:
    . Great idea for a first painting to keep colour simple (as will be the case here) and focus instead on value and form.

    exactly my plan. as movealonghome said...i feel its going to be more difficult than it looks and i'm filled with antici...

  • She is such an attractive lady in any sense but those eyes are fabulous. If you get the eyes right in the painting (as they are in the drawing) it will be super!
  • thanks bob! she does have killer eyes! even better in color 
  • ... and remember what st. john singer sargent said: "there is always something wrong with the mouth" :p
  • Okay guys....it's been months since I started this thread. I've honestly just been too scared to begin painting this but I did this tonight in about 5 hours. I basically abandoned the DMP method right away mostly because I'm impatient and I kinda wanted to just have at it and see what would happen so I just decided to wing it.

    It's still not finished. need to do the neck contours, collar bones, etc and the photo was so overexposed getting the right values on the nose and between the eyes was really hard (especially since I wasn't using my color checker and using a picture on a computer monitor as a source)

    I tried hard not to blend because I really do love strong "ugly" brush strokes but it's hard not to when you don't take the time to get your values and colors right before you start painting but hey...for someone that failed art class, never tried or cared about painting until about a year ago and just wung my first oil portrait. Can't say I'm disappointed. 
  • @ThatAlGuy , you are doing well with the painting. It is funny how you were scared to start, put it off for months and then raced ahead  lol. When you are finished, do it again DMP style, then see the difference.. you shouldn’t get bored of the subject matter after all she is your gorgeous wife
  • Thanks! :) It's definitely boosted my confidence! I assumed it would be a disaster but then I could use that disaster as a learning experience. Another reason i didn't use the DMP method is because I was in terrible dim yellow lighting but I really want to!! She definitely makes good subject matter. Been married for 6 years and I still have a super hard crush on her lol! I think she's kinda nice lookin' ;) Now I've gotta stop or I'm not gonna talk about painting and just start rambling about how wonderful my girl is hahaha!!

    Any tips on painting noses though? That's the part that's kinda freaking me out. I'm afraid it's going to come out looking outlined. I think I'm just going to let the painting dry and just put the shadows around the nose in with a few layers of super-transparent glazes. That way I can just wipe them off if I mess them up.
  • Great Job for a first effort. treat this as a study (you never meant to hang it on a wall) Take a different picture or dozen of your subject and follow the DMP method starting with a good print that you can color-check on and good lighting. then you will be able to define her features with subtle value changes and strong brush strokes. 
  • edited December 2017
    So I got a little more brave and decided to go ahead and add some color/shading but i'm calling it done before I fiddle with it too much and ruin it.....I'm in disbelief...If it wasn't for Mark and the info on this website, the YouTube videos, the tools he's made available (I've built the proportional divider, the simple easel, and the color checker all from the youtube tutorials) There's no way in a million years I could've done this! 

    So Thank you so much to him! And also thanks to Emily for allowing all of us to watch her grow as an artist and inspire me to know I can do the same. I'm now very seriously considering getting the money together and going down to Texas for the week to take the portrait course or maybe the Sargent course. And thank you to all of the forum members for your encouragement and support! You all rock so hard!

    Any criticisms and critiques would be greatly appreciated! :)  
  • Don't rush. spend more time getting values and colors right.
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