May 5, 2021 at 3:40 am #1416294
Working in greyscale dipping in and out of Joseph Todorovitch portrait course.
Coming to terms with controlling the palette. Starting another today working in natural light.I’d really like to get better structure round the eye. Loving working in oils. Venturing into colour with the Zorn palette at the weekend. Scary stuff
Thanks for taking the time. Any feedback appreciated.
BorisMay 6, 2021 at 11:48 pm #1418820Jack MunnParticipantNo badges. No points.
Hello there Boris – I was waiting for someone more experienced and proficient to provide a critique, but I thought I’d jump in to get things started. As you know, I’m a beginner who hasn’t dabbled in painting yet, so my thoughts are limited to that of a spectator rather than a do-er! It might be helpful to others to know what your goals are, stylistic aspirations, known weaknesses, etc?
What I enjoy most about your self-portrait is the broken brushwork – especially how it’s used to describe the form around the mouth, chin, neck, and right cheek. It provides an abstraction, with bold placement of values, whilst also being purposeful and quite delicate. It’s great. It also provides contrast with the flat value applied to the left/right planes of the forehead – focusing the viewer on the important features of the face. There is an immediate ‘read’ and sense of character. There’s a little glint in the smile suggesting you’re enjoying yourself! Nothing stands out as being particularly off to me.
There are a few things I might consider if I were you. The mouth, nose, and eyebrows appear to track almost horizontally – but the right eye is slightly raised. This might be true to likeness and part of the character of the piece. It doesn’t immediately strike me as off, but thought I’d mention it. The second thought is the value range. It might be the photograph being a bit dark (or my computer monitor), but when I use a colour-grabber your lightest light is still quite dark. As the face is framed by dark hair, it still pops – so this may be a stylistic choice. But for future pieces it might be worth experimenting, pushing the range of values to see what effect it has. A final thought is about the hair – whether the reasonably uniform value has a flattening effect, or perhaps it’s the more blended brushwork? But then, I’m so thoroughly rubbish at hair I’d feel like a total imposter offering any advice!
An enjoyable painting, makes me excited to try Todorovitch’s course myself!May 7, 2021 at 5:14 am #1419027
Thank you so much for taking the time. Thoroughly enjoyed reading your response and completely agree to all points made.
I am striving for a finer less broken brushwork. Just to prove I can do it. However I know I will return to far bolder marks.
Initially the darkness of the portraits was about lack of control but I’m enjoying being in that zone at the minute. Love the idea of using a light grey as the brightest part of the image. I’ll try the other end of the spectrum over the weekend and increase the value range.
That eye really bothered me throughout. Something I’m trying to get right today in another painting. Tricky working from life.
My competence in drawing with brushes is not great though I’m getting better and am impatient when appropriating tonal values. Funny staring into the mirror for hours on end. I do keep thinking my eyes are too close together.
Totally enjoying painting. It’s been a very long time. Really pleased you got something from my efforts Jack. Really picked me up this afternoon. Most appreciated. I’ll keep a look out for stuff you post. Highly recommend putting up stuff even if you’re not happy with it.
Don’t know if you do Instagram.
BorisMay 18, 2021 at 2:49 am #1447533May 24, 2021 at 1:01 pm #1461804Jack MunnParticipantNo badges. No points.
Hey Boris, looks like you’ve moved onto the Zorn palette? The self-portrait in colour continues to show improvement, especially for a more difficult dynamic pose. The brushwork shows some excitement, like you had fun in the process. I feel like there’s good storytelling with your pictures; it’s easy to imagine this being the cover of an adventure novel! Like the previous piece, I enjoy the abstraction of particular sections – like the marks you laid down under the lips and the swirl of light on the ear. It’s like something caught your attention, so you just tried to capture it, free but not out of control.
I know bugger all about colour (and less about the Zorn palette), so there’s little I can offer you there. In terms of modelling, the ear has form but doesn’t look like it could be true to life (my apologies if it is!). It reads a bit gnarled. Not a biggie, given it’s in the shadows and not a point of focus.
The only other point I might raise is composition. This may be a result of photographing the painting, but the space around the head (left, right, and above) are fairly equal. This is compensated by a dynamic diagonal head position, but you may want to give some thought to the negative shapes around the subject.
Keep grinding!May 25, 2021 at 3:04 am #1465079
Yes the Zorn Palette is a great option for me. Petrified of colour.
As for the ear …. absolutely. It’s all over the shop. Tricky angle. Especially when staring into the mirror for hours on end.
I’m all over this being the front cover of an adventure novel. I’ll paint another with that in mind.
There is more space around the head, but must admit I didn’t prioritise the composition. I’m going to stop thinking of these as just oil sketches. I’ve been painting from some of the NMA reference images. Results are interesting. I prefer working from life though. Posted an example
Really enjoying the mark making process. An investment in some decent brushes has really helped with that. Wouldn’t have argued that could be the case a month ago. Trying not to blend everything I do. Easily done with oils.
Hope your creative ventures are going well and thank you for taking the time. Will look out for your work
Take care Jack
BorisMay 26, 2021 at 5:53 pm #1470493
Back to the self portrait. Struggled with this a lot. Working from mirror. Without wearing reading glasses and I so need them.
Used the Zorn palette
I was trying to find other portrait painters that use short lighting. Couldn’t find many that inspired me.
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