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Friday, January 1, 2010

Painting Number 2 - Teri

I am following Laure's suggestion to not judge our work, however, I have a need to say this is terrible!  The only reason I am posting it is so I can do it again somewhere down the road and hope that it is better.
It doesn't look like my youngest grand here; eyes too far apart, looks too old for being 8.  I could go on and on.
So I am posting it and moving on.

I am using 140# Strathmore cold press.  I love this paper.  It is 5x5 inches in an accordion-fold journal that I am saving for portraits because I WILL improve!


Laure Ferlita said...

Ummm, Teri, saying the work is terrible is NOT following my suggestion not to judge the work! LOL!

Now that you've pointed out all the things that didn't go well or as you would have liked, what do you like? What went well? I see quite about that went well, but I'd like to hear your comments first.

Teri C said...

Hmmm, quite honestly Laure, I don't see anything I like about this. I look at it and see the wrong color hair... okay I won't go there again. lol But really the only thing I like is the paper to paint on!

But I WILL improve!

I do like doing portraits but have always worked in graphite, watercolor has always eluded me.

I admit to liking this challenge. I sat in church today and made a small sketch to paint later. I find myself looking more closely at subjects and mentally painting them. And finding more and more subjects.

Laure Ferlita said...

And I think you've nailed it, Teri, close observation. Most especially on portraits. We can "fudge" things a bit on a dog, a flower or some other subjects, but when it comes to people, we really have to nail it.

I would recommend doing your initial sketch on tracing paper. Erase as much as you need to - then transfer the drawing once you've ready to paint the portrait. Something else to try is enlarging the photo on a copy machine. Then lay your drawing over it and see where things line up and where they don't. This helps to train the eye to "see" what's there rather than what we think is there.

As to your portrait, I do agree that you've aged her, but I see a strong likeness between the two images. I also like the depth you've created under her chin and around her eyes. I think you've got some good skin tone colors going on as well. I think this looks like a quick sketch as opposed to a finished portrait. I also think you stopped before you finished!

What I'm saying is that if you've just begun doing portraits in watercolors, you've got a solid foundation that you're building on top of and I don't think it will be long before you're creating work that you really like!

Teri C said...

You are right Laure I should have done a more indepth sketch on different paper. I fooled myself because I did a watercolor of my husband that I never showed on my blog because it didn't look like him but it looked good. I guess I thought I could do it again.

Also right that I stopped before I was finished. As soon as I saw that the eyes were wrong and it looked too old I kept going knowing that I had indeed stopped.

Now I feel more inclined to start again but doing it the right way. Thank you.

Krista Meister said...

Teri, first of all, GOOD FOR YOU for attempting portraits, because they are indeed so intimidating. But the good news is... you WILL achieve more of a likeness the more you do it!

Here is where you absolutely need to concentrate on planning ahead by completing detailed drawings first, value sketches. I like Laure's suggestion of tracing images first (that way you can concentrate on the painting part and leave the drawing techniques for later).

Also, have you tried drawing upside down? Turn both your photo and the drawing upside down and start drawing. It forces your brain to see only random angles instead of a person's face. It's a great way to check to see if you've gotten a certain angle right.

Have you considered Carl Purcell's book, "Drawing with Your Artist's Brain"? It really helps you to train your eye to see shapes, lines and values rather than "tree", "person", "face".

Also, I started painting people that were not smiling (teeth are hard), and also who were looking down, looking away, etc. That way I didn't have to concentrate so much on the eyes and lips/smile at first, and could tackle them when I was ready. Same with hands. Don't know if that helps.

And your granddaughter is a cutie! I can see why you wanted to paint her!

Laure Ferlita said...

Krista, you've made some excellent suggestions here, and you're right portraits are challenging, but oh, when you get it right - it's phenomenal!

As to tracing images, this is a tool that can easily become overused in our work, and I think in the end, hurts our growth. Instead of tracing, I recommend doing the drawing first, and then laying it over the photocopy to see where the drawing is off. This helps us to gain confidence in our skills and strengthens our visual vocabulary.

And as you point out, the more we do portraits, landscapes, dogs, etc., the easier it becomes and the better we become!

Krista Meister said...

Oops, sorry, Laure, I misunderstood you about the tracing part.

Kelly said...

...wow....I step a way for five minutes and a ton of knowledge fills the page. I learned so much from all the comments, so thanks Teri for posting the portrait. I've never painted a portrait--you're brave. I'm sticking with the birds for another year! I actually do see beautiful things in this portrait. Her neck is lovely, and her cheeks are beautiful.

Teri C said...

Thanks Krista and Kelly, that is one of the reasons I (reluctantly) posted it cuz I knew lots of knowledge would be forthcoming!

Gabrielle said...

Hang in there Teri! You are brave to attempt a portrait in watercolor as your second painting! I like the skin colors and I really like the neck area - I find that to be a tricky area to be accurate in! I see a likeness between your painting and the photo too, so don't you dare give up!

I agree with Laure about doing the pencil drawing and then laying it over the photo or photocopy - so often I look at a drawing and know there's something wrong with it but can't put my finger on what it is. Lining it up with the photo then becomes an "A-ha!" moment for me, and teaches me where I need to be more careful the next time.

When I first started the Challenge, one of the hardest parts was not judging. But if you can be firm with yourself about not judging, it will really benefit you in the end.