Update, Monday, Nov. 27th:

I made subtle changes to Gail's entire face, compare this photo (below) to the first effort.  Very subtle shading and some color changes is bringing this closer to its goal.  What a ton of work though, now I remember why I switched to painting birds instead of people.  I forgot how difficult portraits can be.  I did want to paint Gail though, it's not often one comes across a pretty face like hers with such exquisite bone structure.  

Comments (critique) are still welcome!  Feel free to comment on this portrait, tell me if you notice any "weak" areas.  Thanks again to Glen and Lizette for your critique!  

Once her face is completed to satisfaction, I will then work on her neck and blouse, and hair.

Hi Everyone,  

I could use your critique with this one:  I'm painting a portrait for a dear friend.  She recently experienced an important event in her life and a group of us, her closest friends, decided that surprise gifts were in order.  My "gift" is a portrait of her.  She's a beautiful lady, with a great bone structure.  Trouble is, because I'm staring at the painting each day for hours on end as I'm working on it, it's hard to see the mistakes.  I need your eyes!  I know that there ARE mistakes, it's just that I'm not seeing them for the reasons mentioned above.  I'm only concerned with her face right now.  I welcome your critique -  The good, the bad and the ugly - ALL critique welcome!  (I'm attaching the original photo I'm working from, as well as the painting as it currenty looks.  

The portrait is due next Thursday, November 30th, 2017, so I don't have a lot of time left!



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Not much to do, you're pretty damn close, great effort. Her mouth looks a little big. Maybe darken the shadow areas a little. She will love this.

Thanks, Glen!!  I suspected already that her mouth was not quite right...and thanks for your thumbs up!  :)

I think you captured her beautifully. If I might add a small suggestion? The parting in her hair looks a little too wide to appear natural - it also draws the eye because of the contrasts. If you fill in it a bit more it will be less obvious and look more natural.

I think your friend is going to LOVE this, well done!

Hi Lizette, you can add BIG suggestions!!  :)  That is what I'm asking for!  I've asked all my friends here, all non-artists, and nobody has anything bad to say about this painting, which is why I reached out to TAC.  Because I know my artist friends here will be glad to supply much needed critique!  Yes, I do see what you mean, that parting is too wide, I will fix it.  Thanks, Lizette!  Well done!

LOL! I get where you are coming from, Jenifer. I said it is 'a little suggestion' because it is not a major thing to correct. Anyway, I still think it is lovely portrait.

Thanks, Lizette!  Human portraits are notoriously difficult to tackle, getting the likeness just right can cause me to lose sleep over it!  Sheesh.  That's why I prefer to stick to birds and flowers!  Birds don't mind if you get their beak slightly crooked in the painting, or a feather or two out of place, and the other birds won't mind either.  :)

LOL! I know! That is why I am practising drawing people by doing my self-portrait (in various mediums). I mean, if I can draw this ugly mug (okay, I am not that bad) with all my flaws and wrinkles, and glasses, then anyone else should be a breeze right?

Ah, Lizette, you are a great personality, very pleasant lady!  Here's a tip for you on drawing:  Use a GRID.  You take a photo and divide it up into equal squares.  If you want your drawing to be TWICE the size of the photo, you simply multiply by two.  For example, if each of the squares on your photo measures one inch, then you draw on your final drawing paper, squares that measure 2" square.  If you want your final drawing to be bigger, let's say four times the size of the photo, then you simply measure 4" X 1".  If the squares on your photo equal .25 inch and you want your drawing to be five times bigger, then you simply multiply 5 X .25 which equals 1.25 inches, which means each square on your big drawing should be 1.25" square.  Or simply google on the internet, "how to draw a GRID" and the internet may explain it better than I am!  I used to draw freehand but I make way too many mistakes that way and it's so time consuming to get the drawing correct and accurate.  A grid makes life so much easlier!  

ps: you  may not want to draw your lines directly on an original photo, I would suggest you make a copy of the photo and draw your lines on the copy, not the actual photo.  

Also, the more accurate your want your drawing to be, make the squares on the photo smaller.  That's what I do, for more accuracy.  Right now, my squares are .25" square (quarter inch).  For the portrait of Gail which I am currently working on, I drew .25" squares on her photo, then transferred that to a bigger drawing.

Here's a way better explanation on how to do a grid, by my dear friend Thaneeya McArdle!  Now this lady knows how to do a proper grid!  https://www.art-is-fun.com/grid-method

Hi Jenifer, I use all the methods depending on the situation (like you mentioned). But, the answer lies in practice, like everything else in life - the more you practice... :)

All the best!

Lizette, I have to agree, yes, you're correct - it all lies in practice, practice and more practice.  But for someone as inherently lazy as me, that can be quite the task!  :)


Hi Mary, thanks for your feedback!  Yes, this portrait is turning out to be the can of worms I was hoping against.  And yep, nit picky is exactly what I am.  The portrait is loads more work than I expected..  But that's to be expected with people portraits, they don't come easy, not at all.  I figured out why I'm so reluctant to "darken" shadows and lines on her face - Gail is 60 years old, I didn't want to age her prematurely in the painting, but now I'm realizing that unless I darken shadows and lines, it's not really true to her likeness, is it..  There's that word: FEAR.  Unless we get rid of fear and insecurity, I doubt any of us would be able to paint anything at all.  So I'm going to take the plunge today and DARKEN her lines and shadows, see what happens.  Hopefully I'll survive!  

I thank you ALL for your precious critique, I've got another great mentor on TAC, his name is Mark Bedwell.  If you haven't already, take a look at his portraits, especially the one of Michelle Pfeiffer.  I cannot look at that portrait without turning green with envy.   His work literally takes my breath away.  Mark is such a phenomenal artist.  We are blessed to have him on TAC.  

But yes, Mary, the GRID.  The grid is another godsend, even Leonardo da Vinci used a grid for his drawings, so that's quite something.  



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