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Old 06-01-2012, 07:50 AM   #1
Lewis MacKenzie Lewis MacKenzie is offline
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Pastel drawing of dad




I've been on holiday in Burgundy with my family this past week, and spent yesterday wandering around the beautiful medieval town of Dole. There was a nice little art store there and I popped in to have a look around, eventually emerging with a couple of nice new brushes and a box of Sennelier extra soft pastels to replace the dreadful ones I'd bought in Glasgow to take with me. I was eager to try them out, and got my chance when we were waiting to get a table at a local restaurant. I spent about 40 minutes on this drawing of my dad. He looks a bit more grumpy and uncouth here than he does in reality (which is still pretty grumpy and uncouth), but I was generally pretty happy with the result, as everything else I've done recently has been garbage. The pastels were a joy to work with.

Thanks in advance for any critiques, and please feel free to be utterly merciless. :-) (Oh - and apologies for the image quality, the photo was taken on my phone.)
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Old 10-25-2012, 06:18 PM   #2
Muhammad Sida Muhammad Sida is offline
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Let me put it this way,
You orthoganalized the portrait, you took away its perspective.
You still need to work on it i'd say you'd need to punch those darks..
Work more on the skin tones.
Push back the ears that will help with the perspective. And move the cheekbones a bit closer inwards. -> <-
I think the most problemetic also is the postition of his right ear...on your left
The blue is too saturated on his hair.

You probably figured that out on your own by now but hopefully you still have it.
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Old 10-25-2012, 06:54 PM   #3
Steven Sweeney Steven Sweeney is offline
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Very astute and sensitive

I find this to be accomplished and thoughtfully executed. The restraint used in outlining the lenses of the glasses is extraordinary, as is the just-right highlight on the bridge of the nose. The juxtaposition of warm and cool tones in the face are, to my eye and preference, masterful.

The hues in the ears are perhaps too intense to keep them from unintended prominence, from "coming forward." (When I view the image while covering the ears--as presently depicted--with my index fingers, it's a much stronger portrait, the intensity of those hues no longer competing with the face.)

There may be cause for the blue in the hair, but at that intensity and value, it is, I think, probably only distracting, as well as distorting the form of the hair. But I wouldn't wipe it out entirely. It's a very interesting effect.

This is pretty close, but the warm red on the right (our right) side of the neck is keeping the form from curving back into the collar.

I'd like to meet this man, just based on what you've done here. Very nice.
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Old 10-26-2012, 04:45 AM   #4
Lewis MacKenzie Lewis MacKenzie is offline
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Muhammad: dude, you are a hard task master Do you comment at CA.org, by any chance?

Steven: You are way too kind, thank you.

Seriously, though - thank you both. These are great comments and have given me a lot to think about. The ears and the electric blue lick of hair have been annoying me about this drawing for a while. I need to work more on drawing ears so that they are better integrated into the structure of the head, rather than plonked on the sides as I often tend to do. That said, I think I would have worked more on those areas if we hadn't been called for dinner when we had (excuses, excuses). I hadn't noticed the issue with the warm tone on the neck, however, and I think that you're absolutely correct about that, Steven. I agree, Muhammad, that I may have to punch the darks more here and there, and I wonder if that issue with flatness is also the cause of the cheekbones appearing too wide (although I'm also worried that I may just have drawn the eyes too close together).

You've both made me want to return to this one, but I'm always a bit worried about approaching an old drawing without the subject present. I'd be interested to hear what peoples' thoughts are with respect to this - would you work back into something like this from memory?
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Old 10-26-2012, 09:02 AM   #5
Muhammad Sida Muhammad Sida is offline
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:d

You saw my thread! Dude you're the one being kind now
You comment there too?

As Robert De Nero once said (when there is doubt there is no doubt.) 'course that was just a movie I highly doubt he had painting in mind but I found it to be quite true when I paint something.

If you have an absaloutly clear image of your subject in your head and you're sure then by all means do it from memory but if you are like most of us and the image is not so clear "fuzzy" in your minds eye then don't. Some great painters could do things from memory but that came after years and years of experience and practice, to my opinion the images in their heads just got more and more clearer and they could see their paitings/drawings before they put a stroke, that my friend is a completely different level of freedom that anyone one day would wish to achieve

As of the eyes I didnt want to say anything about them because it might be an assymatry issue...my eyes defy the 3 eye rule so i didnt want say anything but if your dad doesn't have it then you should work a bit on the eyes and the positioning of his right ear. That should fix things.
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