Speed painting portraits; technique
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    Speed painting portraits; technique

    Whenever I try to do a portrait photo study, it seems that I cannot get it to look even remotely realistic until I put tons of detail into the painting.

    What I'm asking is: What would be the most efficient way to speed paint portraits, and make them look realistic, but with the fewest amount of brushstrokes?

    This might factor in what are the most important features of the portrait, lighting, etc.

    I'd just like to see what all you great artists think!

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    Decades of practice

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    Judging by your sb you need to do slow studies of the planes of the form. First you learn the fundamentals then prioritize your time.

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    RD is right. To paint alla prima, you paint the plane changes if your shapes are accurate it will be correct.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    RD is right. To paint alla prima, you paint the plane changes if your shapes are accurate it will be correct.
    Thanks.

    Could you link me to a thread explaining plane changes?

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    Last edited by c0ffee; May 19th, 2010 at 01:03 PM.
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    Here is something I wrote for my students on planes. It lays out the basic idea.

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    c0ffee, that's a great link. The process of capturing a likeness often entails a bit of caricature, to compensate for the unconscious tendency to "normalize" features.

    yahdood, if you're having trouble seeing the relationships between the big forms, and you're working from digitally from photos, try this: use the Gaussian blur filter on your reference, setting it to a high enough radius so that you can just make out that it's a head. You want it to basically be a few colored blobs, with just the suggestion of the features. Now, paint exactly what you see. Resist the temptation to make up or infer any information. When you have done that, take the blur radius down to about half what it was, and repaint. Then, take the blur down to the point where you are just losing the details, and continue refining the painting. Finally, go back to your original, unblurred reference. You will find that you really have to do very little at this point to complete the painting. With practice and experience, you will be able to perform the same process mentally, learning to establish the big relationships first, and ignoring the details until the appropriate time.


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    If you're working from life, you can also emulate the Gaussian blur trick by squinting... (Or if you wear glasses, by taking your glasses off and NOT squinting, and setting down the blurry shapes just as you see them.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    c0ffee, that's a great link. The process of capturing a likeness often entails a bit of caricature, to compensate for the unconscious tendency to "normalize" features.

    yahdood, if you're having trouble seeing the relationships between the big forms, and you're working from digitally from photos, try this: use the Gaussian blur filter on your reference, setting it to a high enough radius so that you can just make out that it's a head. You want it to basically be a few colored blobs, with just the suggestion of the features. Now, paint exactly what you see. Resist the temptation to make up or infer any information. When you have done that, take the blur radius down to about half what it was, and repaint. Then, take the blur down to the point where you are just losing the details, and continue refining the painting. Finally, go back to your original, unblurred reference. You will find that you really have to do very little at this point to complete the painting. With practice and experience, you will be able to perform the same process mentally, learning to establish the big relationships first, and ignoring the details until the appropriate time.
    Wow, that's a really cool technique! Never heard of anyone doing this and I've been browsing the forums for awhile!

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