portrait not finished after all.

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  1. #1
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    portrait not finished after all.

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    Please see the last post.


    I'm learning how to paint digitally from skratch. My main objective with this painting is to learn about colours and to use them in a bold manner.

    This is a self portrait from a mirror. The light has of course changed sinse I did it but I plan to have another go at it tommorrow. I'm posting here because I'm stuck. I'm having problem finding the right colours for the dark side of the face. When I try to apply any of the hues that I already got it looks muddy and flat.

    I'm sure that I could have planned it better but any insight would be welcome.

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    Last edited by Frida Bergholtz; 4 Weeks Ago at 09:35 AM.
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  3. #2
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    I'm not too hot with digital painting myself but I can give you some pointers on color. Your transition from green to red is very harsh and the green is making the red stand out more than it needs to. You say you're shooting for bold colors so you might be able to achieve this better if you went for a more saturated palette rather than one with just complementaries. However, I know an artist who pulls off really bold illustrations with complementaries. She posted a color tutorial on DeviantArt based on what she learned from her years at an art institute. You might find it useful: http://purplekecleon.deviantart.com/...rial-184642625

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    Why do you have the portrait on that flat, green background? I take it you painted this from life, I can't imagine that the background actually looked like this? You should focus on painting what you see. By changing/omitting the background, you made it harder for yourself to judge the values and colours.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Benedikt View Post
    Why do you have the portrait on that flat, green background? I take it you painted this from life, I can't imagine that the background actually looked like this? You should focus on painting what you see. By changing/omitting the background, you made it harder for yourself to judge the values and colours.
    The background is a flat white that to my eyes had a greenish tint to it. I have been oversaturating all the colours in this painting in an attempt to jogg me out of my usual habit of using murky and undersaturated colours. I was also thinking that if I was to exagerate, it would be easier to understand what I was doing.

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    It actually doesn't look too bad. Two things that I think would really help are:

    1) Paint on a neutral or warm ground, rather than the green you have now. Using an intense cool color for a ground can really throw your eye off.

    2) Pay close attention to the VALUE of the tones you're putting down, not just the hue and the intensity. In your initial sketch, the values are doing a very good job of creating 3D form via light and shadow, but the colored version feels flat and patchy (especially on the model's left side...the right is working a bit better.)

    Hope that is of some use.

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    I second Giacomo. The biggest problem area I notice isn't actually anything hue related, but the value around the eye of the shadow side of the face. It feels like it might be a bit too light which makes me see the material as something highly reflective like metal. Simultaneous contrast can make some of those reflected lights appear lighter than they actually are. A great way to combat that is to squint and constantly compare your values. I would first focus on playing with the values a bit before you change the color too much. If the value isn't right, very little in the way of hue will make a difference.

    Keep it up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frida Bergholtz View Post
    The background is a flat white that to my eyes had a greenish tint to it. I have been oversaturating all the colours in this painting in an attempt to jogg me out of my usual habit of using murky and undersaturated colours. I was also thinking that if I was to exagerate, it would be easier to understand what I was doing.
    In the beginning you should try to paint what you see. Exaggerating/editing are conscious decisions that you're only able to make successfully once you can understand and replicate what you see to a certain degree.

    I've had a look at your SB, you have a few still life studies on the last page. It might be a good idea (for the learning process, for fun you should of course paint what you want, it goes without saying) to stick with that subject matter until you can render those objects realistically. With a self portrait from a mirror you're adding so many additional challenges on top of it that it's not surprising that you're struggling.

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    Focus on values. Color is secondary to values.

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    How can I work on the values if I don't know what colours to paint with?

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    I'm not 100% sure what you mean by "I don't know what colours to paint with". Colour is secondary to value. In fact, "colour" is a somewhat imprecise term anyways since it actually includes hue, value and chroma. What I think you mean is that you're not sure which "hue" to choose. Instead, you should be thinking first of which value (relative light- or darkness) any given colour should have.

    An easy way to check your values is to convert the image to greyscale. When you do that with your portrait, you'll notice that the values aren't organized. You have lighter values on the dark side than on the lit side and vice versa. As a rule of thumb, the lightest value on the dark side of a form should still be darker than the darkest value on the lit side.

    I'm including a quick overpaint to illustrate what happens when you organize your values:

    portrait not finished after all.

    Once you've figured out which value the colour has to have, you can think about the other two variables (hue and chroma). But value must come first.

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    I would recommend painting in grayscale for a while before jumping into color. This is the traditional learning method of painters throughout the centuries. Do a bunch of still life studies or cast drawings and paintings in black and white, focusing entirely on drawing, values, and edges. When it comes to color, value is the most important aspect. Get the values right, and the hue doesn't matter nearly as much as you'd imagine.

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    A big thank you to everone. Your advice has been invaluable. I'm sorry for not replying at once but I needed some time to reflect on what had been said and experiment a little.

    I decided to stick to my guns and finish the painting colour and all. But I think that I will take Benedikt´s advice and do some more simple objects after this, simply because I think that it is a good idea to work on something that I got a chance to finish in one go before the light change to much.

    This time around I focused on the values first. It is far from finished but this time I don't feel completely at a loss on what to do next and that makes a whole lot of difference to me.

    Thanks again for taking the time to help me.
    It is much appreciated.

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    The new one is much improved over the first attempt. Good job, and keep at it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JonSimpson View Post
    The new one is much improved over the first attempt. Good job, and keep at it.
    Thank you for the encouragement. I think that I am on the right track and it is good to know that someone else thinks so as well.

    Here is todays effort. I'm having problems with the shaded side of the face. I think that the fact that I am sitting in a corner and that there is so much light bouncing around in the room is complicating things for me.

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    Looks good. Three comments:

    1. The eyelids cast a fairly significant shadow on the form of the eyeball.
    2. The form of the head overall is convex. For whatever reason, her right cheek looks concave here. This one of those things where you sort of need to cheat the lighting if it isn't giving you a good result.
    3. If you don't differentiate the color of the eyebrows from the flesh tone, you risk creating a single "unibrow" all the way across the forehead.

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  27. #16
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    Thank you very much Giacomo I will be sure to pay attention to those issues.

    So this is what I got so far. I'm thinking that it might be time to wrap it up and sweat the small stuff?

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    I feel like I could fiddle with this for years and sometimes I'm not even sure if I'm even making any progress. I just keep going over the same areas over and over again. I reminded myself that it is just a study after all and decided to wrap it up.

    Before I finish I would like to run it past you guys to see it you can spot some serious flaws that I missed.

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    Thank you for your time.

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    Good job overall. The only points that "strike" are:
    -the inferior right eye socket is way bigger compared to the left one.
    -I think you should avoid the semi opaque brushes for now and work with full oppacity, it's particulary visible on the tissu where I find it annoying.
    I'm eager to see you next paintings though as you proved in the past that you have a great drawing abilities (I'm thinking about your sitting elf, it did make a strong impression on me).

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    Quote Originally Posted by StefRob View Post
    Good job overall. The only points that "strike" are:
    -the inferior right eye socket is way bigger compared to the left one.
    -I think you should avoid the semi opaque brushes for now and work with full oppacity, it's particulary visible on the tissu where I find it annoying.
    I'm eager to see you next paintings though as you proved in the past that you have a great drawing abilities (I'm thinking about your sitting elf, it did make a strong impression on me).
    Hey there.
    I'm not entirely sure what you mean with the inferior eyesocket but I have been fiddling around with the eyes and see if I could define the forms better. Hopefully it is an improvement.

    Yes there are some scraggly textures that does look a bit uneapealing. I started out with the intention of only using opaque brushes but I think that I lost patience with it a few to many times.

    Thank you so much for the critique and the encouragement. I got a few projects that I want tyo start with but for now I will focus on some more and simpler studies.


    I learned a ton doing this painting. Mostly things that I already kind of new but that I might have taken to heart, like the importance of planning ahead.

    I'm not very satisfied with it. But I think that it is time to put it aside and start on something else.
    A big thank you to everyone who helped me out.

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    Thank you for your time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frida Bergholtz View Post
    Hey there.
    I'm not entirely sure what you mean with the inferior eyesocket but I have been fiddling around with the eyes and see if I could define the forms better. Hopefully it is an improvement.

    I learned a ton doing this painting. Mostly things that I already kind of new but that I might have taken to heart, like the importance of planning ahead.
    Actually, you corrected the "eye socket" issue I saw even if you don't realise it. :-)
    About learning again something you already, yeah, I'm with you on this point, I sometime feel I re discover endlessly some notions, lol!
    I think you did a fine job with this portrait, really. Yes, it lacks a little of "style" but compared to the original you've improved it greatly.
    I feel like you can draw very well but you're learning the painting, color management, etc... Maybe I'm wrong though.

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    I'm really OK with the expressive colors in the first one. The Fauves were big on that http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...reen_Line.jpeg

    What's not working for me are the proportions and the lack of structure. The eyes are almost always at 1/2 way from crown of the head to the chin. Here they're a little high, which puts too much space in between the eyes and mouth, making the cheeks extremely elongated. Don't worry yourself on this though--everybody does this at first.

    Also, make sure you're thinking of the eyes as spheres inside the head. That will help the structure and appeal of them, as well as help you with the eyelid structure and whatnot.

    That green tone is actually pretty close to a traditional underpainting color that was big in the Renaissance. It's a very useful color to have show through in the areas of reflected light in the shadows.

    Good job. Keep going.

    Mead

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  36. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by StefRob View Post
    Actually, you corrected the "eye socket" issue I saw even if you don't realise it. :-)
    About learning again something you already, yeah, I'm with you on this point, I sometime feel I re discover endlessly some notions, lol!
    I think you did a fine job with this portrait, really. Yes, it lacks a little of "style" but compared to the original you've improved it greatly.
    I feel like you can draw very well but you're learning the painting, color management, etc... Maybe I'm wrong though.
    I thought that I saw what you meant but I wasn't sure. I'm happy that you think that it looks better.
    I find that there are so many things that I have been told but it takes quite a while and a lot of hard work for it to sink in. And yes you are quite right, my paintings has been few and far between but I really want to learn this now.
    Thank you very much for the advice and feedback.

    Quote Originally Posted by MeadMcLean View Post
    I'm really OK with the expressive colors in the first one. The Fauves were big on that http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...reen_Line.jpeg

    What's not working for me are the proportions and the lack of structure. The eyes are almost always at 1/2 way from crown of the head to the chin. Here they're a little high, which puts too much space in between the eyes and mouth, making the cheeks extremely elongated. Don't worry yourself on this though--everybody does this at first.

    Also, make sure you're thinking of the eyes as spheres inside the head. That will help the structure and appeal of them, as well as help you with the eyelid structure and whatnot.

    That green tone is actually pretty close to a traditional underpainting color that was big in the Renaissance. It's a very useful color to have show through in the areas of reflected light in the shadows.

    Good job. Keep going.

    Mead
    I don't mind the expressive colours either. But it didn't really work as a study. I want to be able to do a painting like this...
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    ...before I can think of moving on just like Matisse did.

    I'm a little confused about your critique. Do you think that the finished version also has a big problem with proportion and lack of structure? Or are you only speaking of the first sketch? When you write so much about a version that I already discarded I almost get the impression that you think that I should have continued in that direction instead.

    I took a look at your tutorial videos by the way. They were not bad at all.

    Last edited by Frida Bergholtz; August 10th, 2014 at 04:57 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frida Bergholtz View Post
    I don't mind the expressive colours either. But it didn't really work as a study. I want to be able to do a painting like this...
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    ...before I can think of moving on just like Matisse did.
    Yeah you'll want to look into some realistic styles and underpainting stuff then. That green color would work for stuff like this.

    I'm a little confused about your critique. Do you think that the finished version also has a big problem with proportion and lack of structure? Or are you only speaking of the first sketch? When you write so much about a version that I already discarded I almost get the impression that you think that I should have continued in that direction instead.
    Yeah the finished version still has proportion/structure issues. The corrections were all based on light and color rather than the more basic elements. They're subtle because the finish of it draws attention away from the problems. The finish is good, too.

    I took a look at your tutorial videos by the way. They were not bad at all.
    Thanks! I'll be working hard on more of them after I move this weekend.

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  39. #24
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    I thought that I was finished but after MeadMclean pointed out that there were problems with the structure I couldn't leave it alone.
    I have been fiddling with it attempting to find out what the problems are and this is the result. I could really need someones elses opinion though. Is it an improvement or not and what else can I do? The picture to the right is the work in progress.
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    Is the one on the right the more finished version? I think I prefer the one on the left, although the difference between the two is so small to my eye that's it's not really worth commenting on.

    If you want to put more time in, I'd suggest rendering everything in the picture up to the level of finish that her face is at now...the hair, the fabric and most of the large forms (forehead, cheeks, neck, chest) all feel very "patchy" and would benefit from a few hours of your attention.

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  42. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giacomo View Post
    Is the one on the right the more finished version? I think I prefer the one on the left, although the difference between the two is so small to my eye that's it's not really worth commenting on.

    If you want to put more time in, I'd suggest rendering everything in the picture up to the level of finish that her face is at now...the hair, the fabric and most of the large forms (forehead, cheeks, neck, chest) all feel very "patchy" and would benefit from a few hours of your attention.
    I had already brought the picture to some kind of completion. But there are structural problem that I felt that I had to adress. The picture on the right is a step back from the finished look as I have been moving around the facial features and painting over bits to attempt to find out what the problem is.

    When I have fixed it I would be more than happy to make it more polished.

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    What exactly ARE the "structural problems that you felt you had to address?" I'm not seeing them.



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    If I knew what it was it would be easier to fix it. Maybe everything is just a tiny bit off. It could be that I have simply been staring at it to long. I have even thought that maybe it's just my face that looks odd. It's just that something seems off when I look at it.

    When I mirror the image I think that my recent changes has improved the picture as a whole because now it looks equally good both ways, but I agree that the changes are very minor.
    What I did was that I skewed the facial features and made them a little bit bigger.
    I'm going nuts.

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    When I mirror the image I think that my recent changes has improved the picture as a whole because now it looks equally good both ways, but I agree that the changes are very minor.
    I'm going nuts.
    Put it away and don't look at it for a week or two-- and then see what you think.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Giacomo View Post
    Put it away and don't look at it for a week or two-- and then see what you think.
    I did as you suggested and I feel much better now. Even though the changes I made were slight they made a big difference to me and now I feel like the painting is falling in to places.

    Thank you very much.

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