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Old 01-09-2004, 11:38 AM   #1
Julianne Lowman Julianne Lowman is offline
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Holding objects




I have been studying classic portraits and have noticed many subjects holding a single item. I find this fascinating since many formal portraits today seem have the model simply sitting with hands neatly folded or posed.

Since we don't use hand fans like in previous centuries and bouquets seem to reference brides, what are some other objects women could hold, and what, other than the classic pair of glasses could a man hold?

Compositionally, which hand should hold the object, closest to the viewer or the hand that appears farther away?

Just food for thought. I'm doing a formal painting of a dentist this month and I'd love your input.
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Old 01-09-2004, 11:49 AM   #2
Marvin Mattelson Marvin Mattelson is offline
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The fashion today is towards more naturalistic and less posed looking portraits. So if a prop is used it has to be done with care. If you sit and talk to someone how often do they hold something in their hands? This is the key. I think a dentist holding a drill for instance wouldn't go over too well (humor!?!). A child holding a stuffed animal is another story. Glasses work because this is a natural occurance during conversations. basically there are no formulas. You have to balance the naturalism with a good composition, no easy task.
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Old 01-10-2004, 02:18 AM   #3
Julianne Lowman Julianne Lowman is offline
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Ah, good point

Marvin,

Naturalism is truly the key to a wonderful portrait. A key that seems to be difficult to find on my keyring of life, but one I will continue to search for.

You did a fabulous piece (portrait of Steve Fishbach) with a man holding a pair of glasses that, to me, was so simply natural and of the moment. The composition of the portrait was completely congruent.

As for the dentist's portrait, I don't know, I kind of like the drill in hand thing. Ha! And in the other hand, pliers and a newly pulled tooth? Or, perhaps holding a set of wind up teeth? If he was a comedic type, I might consider something fun like the latter, but he's not, so I think we'll stick with something a bit more traditional.

Thanks for the input Marvin, I watch your comments like a hawk and glean what I can digest. You da Man!
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Old 01-10-2004, 11:39 AM   #4
Mike McCarty Mike McCarty is offline
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You might try thumbing your way through the medical related portraits section of the Stroke of Genius site.
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Old 01-10-2004, 01:26 PM   #5
Marvin Mattelson Marvin Mattelson is offline
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I had an idea. Perhaps he could be holding a patient chart or folder. Maybe a set of xrays?
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Old 01-10-2004, 03:14 PM   #6
Julianne Lowman Julianne Lowman is offline
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Wahoo! Paydirt!

Thanks Mike for the Medical Related Portraits link! That's exactly what I needed for some posing ideas.

Marvin, the suggestion with the x-rays fits right in with some of the portraits listed.

Bravo!
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