Portrait in oils (18x12inch) from intensive course.

edited July 8 in Post Your Paintings

My results after a 5 day intensive high realism portraiture workshop with Javier Arizabalo in Brugge.

I learned so much and I have so much to learn

As you can see its is far from finished, Javier did the lips, so I aint touching those  :)

I know there are a good few things wrong with it but for my second portrait  ever I am pleased.

I have had a blast and when I get home its practice practice and more practice as well as leafing through my copious notes.




  • edited July 8
    Although unfinished, this is a striking image, @MichaelD. It has what the critics would call "wall presence".  She's there, looking out at us, unabashed. Sure, things might be smoothed out a bit, but if you did that you might lose the immediacy. I'd be inclined to leave this as it is. It works as painting and as portraiture. In some ways it is reminiscent of @Richard_P's portraits. It has that emotional rawness. I'd try to keep that. 
  • @tassieguy

    Thank you so much Rob,

    That is a fine complement as Richard`s are great.

    i will have a think about wether to do more on it or leave it  :)
  • very nice! Did you get some sketching done from the city, Bruges is so nice!
    In case you decide to do some modifications, the eyebrow seems a bit sharp and the reflection under the chin a bit too bright I think. As said by Rob, it has a presence, love it.
  • edited July 9
    very nice! Did you get some sketching done from the city? Bruges is so nice!
    In case you decide to do some modifications, the eyebrow seems a bit sharp and the reflection under the chin a bit too bright I think. As said by Rob, it has a presence, love it.
  • edited July 9
    Thank you for your kind words and suggestions @adridri, I am pleased that you love it.

    Its a few miles away from where I want to be in terms of competence but I am on the road now and had a great learning experience.

    Bruges is lovely. I did a still life course here 5 years ago too. As I have only generally painted still lifes its was time for me to start portraiture. 

    No I have not been sketching, plenty of photos though.

    The workshop was intense so I kind of relaxed and did a little sight seeing in spare time.

    Yes there are many things that need doing on the painting as it is not complete. I dont think any, out of the 13 of us did. But that wasn’t necessarily the aim. Colur mixing took some considerable time too.

    The eyebrows are just suggested presently, yes chin is too light, as is forehead. There are improvements I could do on the hair too.

    I have not decided yet about completing it.

    What I am going to do though, as our teacher/artist recommended, is lots and lots of practice paintings of Just and eye, nose, lips.
  • The portrait looks great @MichaelD! i assume you paint it from  a model? how much likeness you were able to achieve? 
  • Thank you @ArtGal, it was from a photo of model. Thats the way the artist/teacher works. We had 4 or 5 images to choose from.

    I am pleased with the likeness I captured though I struggled with the hair in the source its more naturally wavey, but ive got it looking a little like its been wet.

    Also some of my colours are off as im still getting my head around warms and cools etc.   :)
  • That's really coming along brilliantly. Very striking and great observation of values and then warmth/cool transitions <= which is a whole thing in itself like values.
    I'm curious about how he taught hair. I always paint hair the way I paint a tree - as tonal masses, using brush stroke direction and splaying of the brush to suggest the hair. Pass two I go more detailed, and only occasionally pick out an individual hair.
    I'm still learning portraiture - currently painting my 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th portraits in the same painting. Balancing them all is proving difficult. One will look too red. Another pass later, one or more looking too pale or too orange or too light...
  • Going on a 5 day course to do your second portrait takes guts, good on you!

    What were your impressions of the experience? Also, you mentioned the colour matching taking a long time... what were the colours and mixing techniques that you used?

    Your neck is lovely and the nose is great, not shiny.

    Thanks for sharing as always.
  • edited July 10
    Thank you @Abstraction, I want to get better at recognising when and where cools and warms are needed. 

    I think your description of how to paint the hair is spot on. He taught us  to pain t in the dark masses first too.

    Where I have gone a little off is not doing the waveyness right. Mine appears as if hanging as though its a little wet, which is incorrect. I have also gone a little too light in areas.

    I agree it is difficult getting that balance right with the colours.

    Looking forwards to seeing portraits. Doing so many in the one painting must be an extra challenge.  :)
  • edited July 10
    Thank you @heartofengland,

    I will admit to feeling way out of my depths at times and though it was for intermediate and experienced, I am that when it comes to still life but a beginner at portraiture. 

    There were some frustrations in terms of the time it could take to hear instructions. This was because the artist/teacher speaks Spanish. There was an English entrepreneur, who was also translating for a French student.

    So, as you can imagine it is not as direct as hearing explanations in your native tongue form the instructor. But its something I got used to.

    The colour mixing would be into rows of light, medium and dark in their respective colours.

    Of course we were encouraged to continually  look and match with our source, holding up the palette knife in much the same way Mark does a colour checker.

    Overall I very much enjoyed the experience and I learned a lot about what I need to learn. 

    I was also staying at a lovely place which was a farm with stables, around 8 horses, 2 dogs and a cat and lovely hosts. 
    I had the use of a bicycle too and it was just a couple of miles into town. The Belgians have a lot of respect for bicycles, its in their culture. With dedicated lanes, and cars requiring to give cyclists the right of way.

    Thank you for your kind comments  :)
  • @MichaelD

    This is a very good image, especially for a second portrait ever!  This really looks like a living human face...  (albeit a random model) and that is no easy feat as human faces ARE the hardest thing to paint convincingly IMHO.

    I hope you do get it to a point you consider it a finished (for a second portrait) practice work.  That way you can move on to a portrait you want to paint, are inspired to paint, and/or has personal meaning for you!

    Well done!
  • I love the eyes, how its painted. i think its the focus of this portrait, very captivating. Can't wait to see it finished :)
  • Thank you for your kind [email protected], im with you on faces being the hardest to paint. Though maybe for me that is because I have not applied myself to trying until lately.

    Yes I have every intention of finishing, though unusually we were supplied with the paints for the course. They were Old Holland and as I only have a wee trial size box of those I will need to purchase a few tubes.

    I think I would get into trouble with it if I carried on with it using my W&N and Michael Hardings.

    Thats a good though you have left me with -moving on to a portrait I want to paint.

    I was advised by an artist friend/teacher to do a self portrait and had already done the drawing for that before I left for Brugge.

    At first I didnt enjoying starting on a portrayal of my countenance but im trying to see it for the disorganised abstract mess that it really is, rather than eyes, nose lips etc.  :) 
  • Thank you so much @anwesha I appreciate your comments.  :)
  • "im trying to see it for the disorganised abstract mess that it really is, rather than eyes, nose lips etc."

    Is that a method you've been taught or am I reading too much into it?
  • edited July 12

    Well I was partly joking about my face being an abstract mess, but on the serious side its something that many artists do. Of course people find what works best for them.

    The thing is if when we are drawing or painting a nose, for example. Our intellect kicks in and all our preconceptions ideas and thoughts on what a nose looks like come into play.

    That can get in the way of you doing the true likeness of the nose you are trying to copy and paint and more often than not it can be unhelpful.

    Just to add I am not talking about doing a painting from memory here, but when looking at source be it live model or photograph.

    It is helpful to see what you are trying to produce as being shapes and patterns (i.e. not a nose) because in essence that is what they are.

    It can also be helpful, for the same reasons as above, to turn your image upside down.

    There is a good book that I got after someone on the forum recommended it called Drawing On The Right Side Of The Brain that goes into this.

    I need to dig mine out as I think I only tried the upside down exercise. 

    I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised if you tried it.

    Pic an image that you like and copy by drawing it when its turned upside down. It should help you forget about what it is you think you are seeing and encourage you to do the shapes.

    I hope that all makes sense.  :)
  • Wow!  Only your second portrait?  It's really great!  I like her expression and eyes. 
  • Thank you @A_Time_To_Paint, much appreciated  :)
  • Love your painting, especially how you successfully captured the emotion and attitude. I'm not a portrait painter, so keep that in mind, but if I were asked to comment on the painting itself, I would question the darkness of the shadows in the neck and shoulder area, they seem to draw the eye away from the face too much. But again, consider that I have no experience in portraiture painting. 
  • Beautiful !
    I am not a portrait painter .. so I don’t have anything but “ beautiful “ and I love the mouth and the color of the lips and the expression .

    And I hope you had a wonderful time in Belgium . And some great food !
  • Thank you @whunt for your comments and I am glad you like it.

    You made some good points, however the painting is far from finished so it does look imbalanced at the moment. 

  • Thank you so much @Annie.

    I just need to make sure I finish it.

    I had a fantastic time and was staying on a farm with stables, around 8 horses, 2 ponies 2 dogs and a cat, with lovely people.  :)
  • MichaelD said:
    Thank you so much @Annie.

    I just need to make sure I finish it.

    I had a fantastic time and was staying on a farm with stables, around 8 horses, 2 ponies 2 dogs and a cat, with lovely people.  :)
    Sounds dreamy . Bet Louie was happy you came back 😀
  • @Annie,
    Louie was in good hands with my daughter staying over sometimes.

    He purred non stop for an hour when I got back and we were all over each other.

    He also started to lay on and nap in the travel case I used. As if to either prevent me from going again or suggesting he comes with me.   :)
  • Thank you @Allie, much appreciated.

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