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Thread: Self Portrait B/W Oil Painting
June 10th, 2005 #1
Self Portrait B/W Oil Painting
Its been so long since I have posted an image under the finally finished section, and it feels really good to post something here. Unfortunately I feel that the picture I took killed alot of the value and details, I did my best in photoshop to fix it up a bit. All comments and critiques are welcome. Thanks for taking a look.
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June 10th, 2005 #3
hey man, thats pretty dope, especially for oil. I think the one thing it suffers from is edgework. You don't have many soft edges, everything is sort of pseudo-firm...Alot of edges could be softened to really show some rounding of the forms. it's really structured at this point, but I'd doubt if your face looks like a bevelled cube in real life. that aside, well done. The values work very well.
I self-published a book on the fundamentals of drawing from life.
June 10th, 2005 #4
Jetpack's spot on about the edges, try to vary them more in both directions.
You're also getting dangerously close to overmodelling. Always keep the major light/shadow pattern preeminent in your mind as you work. Don't go too dark in the lights (for instance the line along the top of the tip of the nose) or too light in the shadows (reflected lights can kill form if they're overdone).
The two issues are related, because harder edges increase contrast, and vice versa. Some of your value problems may actually be edge problems. Edge controll is one of the most important, but overlooked, elements in realistic painitng.
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June 11th, 2005 #5
This is awesome, I love the fro and the exaggeration is great as well.
June 11th, 2005 #6
Great job. Did you work from a photo or sit in front of a mirror? Looks like a bit of sweat on your brow there.
Your eyes aren't the same shape do they really look like that?
I'm sure you know that some old masters would have done this level of painting in grey as an underpainting and then color it with transparent glazes. You might try that if you get bored with this one someday.
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June 11th, 2005 #7
Hey, Matt. You've got some good crits there, which I'm not going to add to - I just wanted to say that this looks like a huge leap forward for you from the last time I saw your stuff ( though admittedly that was a little while back now ). Very well done.
June 11th, 2005 #8
Very good, though Id reccomend having a less "flavorofthemonth" haircut next portrait you do, think how silly it'll look to you in 5 years.
I know its much much faster to make black and white portraits, and one can rationalize it gives a noir effect when really its lazyness/inexperience, but 99% of oil portraits are done in color. Id like to see a self portrait in color.
June 11th, 2005 #9
Hey everyone I really appreciate all of the feedback.
GriNGoLoCo: it took me about 8-10 hours.
jetpack42: I think some of the edge work being sharp might be due to the camera, but I did go back and blend alot more out because there were some sharp areas, I guess for the most part I was afraid to over blend and make it look blurry. But if there is a specific part that is really bothering you edge wise, tell me and I will go back and fix it some more this piece will be surface wet for a month to 3 months I bet.
Elwell: Thanks for noticing the edges along with jetpack, I fixed them as soon as I read both of your comments. As for the reflected light that might be my adjusting is photoshop, it doesnt look that intense in the real painting but I might still go back in and darken it up alittle more. I also fixed the dark line on my nose, I didnt notice that until you pointed it out and it really bugged the hell out of my after you did. Haha.
FIG: Thanks for the comment.
Gilead: It was from a photo I had taken. The reason it looks like sweat on my forehead is because the camera killed some of my value. It looked like they are tiny white dots I painted when its actually a thick stroke. Actually I have glazed paintings before. My eyes look different probably because I got them down and I was happy enough that they looked like eyes and they were in the right proportion for the most part.
Matt Dixon: Thanks for the nice comments. This is probably the best painting I have ever done.
rynawh: I am not sure exactly how to take some of your comments because they sound more like assumptions, but here are the reason why I did things as they are. My hair is big is just because I havent got it cut yet and I wasnt going to go to the barber just so I could have a nice haircut for a painting. And I dont care if something looks silly or not, I only care about learning from my experience and doing my best on it. The reason why I did black and white and not color isnt due to inexperience or laziness, its because I wanted to try a different, more expensive brand of oil paint and so I bought a black and a white to see if I liked how they flowed before I go out and buy color paints.
June 11th, 2005 #10
Nice hair Thing that bothers me is that face is 100% anface, chest is 100% anface, neck is 90% anface,
I know that this could happened, but to me have unnatural feel.
June 12th, 2005 #11
specifically, i'd soften the areas in the box, and the edges defined, as they apply to the way your face looks, and in relation to the edges in the rest of the picture. Think of it this way...you can make edges in your picture all the way from no edge at all (a complete lost edge) to a razor edge like a cube (hardest edge). You use edges to show the forms rolling around. I'd say the majority of the edges in your picture are firm; more are firm then soft. In this portrait, your nose doesn't look like it has much of a ball on it, or like it's round...it looks like a box.
Your filtrum (the gap between your nose and mouth) looks giant, and very deep, not because of the value as much as the hard edges on either side. It makes my eye read it as something of a cylinder, rather then a small impression. I can't say what you actually look like, again, but this is just things that look strange off the bat.
Anywhere where hair is showing straight on or close to it would blend out somewhat, unless the hair is hanging over something, so I'd soften the areas around where the hair is coming out of your head. It's lots of little hairs making the transition from your forehead to...your hair on top of your head, so there is somewhat of a blur there straight on as they grow out (viewing the hair above your ears and sideburns from this angle, the edge would be harder, as you have it). Same goes for your eyebrows, there would be some amount of feathering, unless you've got incredibly bushy and groomed eyebrows. Almost like you have them at the very end, only moreso.
Are your lips very dark valued? I've been noticing that often the value between the lower lip and the skin around it isn't so big of a difference, and if you make it a crisp edge like you have it it will look strange as if the lips were cut out and pasted on top.
The side of your face rolls away from the front too quickly. In some areas it will roll quicker (hence a harder edge) but especially around the cheek and mouth areas, it rolls slower, so softer edges define the forms better.
Picture this. If you put a light on a stairway, you get lots of hard edges, because the stairs are all sharp edges. If you put a light on a ball, you get a big soft edge because the ball rolls away from the light slowly. You've got all sorts of edge possibilities in between to define how round or square something is. The decisions you make in this portrait need to reflect the way you look, but you've made too many of the same choices. They all look hard. In the world of edges (the ball and the stairs) you've rendered most of your face with the same type of edges as a skatepark halfpipe, they aren't razor hard, but they roll from the side to the top too quickly. The shadows go dark too quickly, which is why the filtrum looks so huge, or the nose looks very pronounced and angular.
Anyway, if you are serious about oil painting, you should get Richard Schmid's book "Alla Prima". ( www.richardschmid.com ) It will knock your socks off. If you have it, read the chapter on edges. Of all of the things I said, it's just how you see your subject (in this case, yourself), and it might be that your face is overly angular, but then it becomes your job to paint yourself to look believable, which means playing some edges as they are, and toning some other ones down. All of the things I've said are subjective choices based on my opinions on the way I see the edges working in relation to each other in your piece. You've got to vary them more for them to look believable, and for them to have impact and read correctly. The human face has alot more going on.
I self-published a book on the fundamentals of drawing from life.
June 12th, 2005 #12Registered User
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Originally Posted by jetpack42
as an aside..best crit ever.
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