Sunday, May 18, 2008

Pastel Portraiture Revisited

My secret desire is to learn to do real portraits, but it's tough to figure it all out. The human face has a bewilderingly large number of variables: different hues, different values, varying chroma. But I may be starting a renewed effort to learn portraiture. This photo is of my latest effort...
.... To further explain: a year or two ago I tried learning to paint portraits with pastels on velour paper. I failed. Well, I watched a video the other day in which an artist (Joy Argento) does just this, painting a lovely pastel portrait of our friend Angelina on velour, which is a traditional way of using pastels (on VELOUR, that is) for portraiture. So I thought I'd try it again. I went to Art Systems on Friday and got some velour paper and a pastel set. I'm not sure if I used the right colors, but I think I did better than before. Velour is notoriously difficult to use, yet I seem to be getting the hang of it. Masters use velour beautifully. (CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE AND SEE DETAILS.)


Esly Carrero said...

Hi Tim,
This is outstanding! I checked out that lady Joy Argento that you mentioned... and to me, this blows hers away! To me you picked nicer colors and probably better paper as well. I've never worked on Velour.. at least, not that I know of. But either way, this one came out really great! I love the eye color you chose apposed to the genaric brown eyes.

If your asking me for any criticism... I would have added a bit of a highlight of white to her hair. Not too much.. just settle like you did on her lips. But then again, maybe that would take away from her sparkling eyes.

If one puts too much white.. it deludes and/or distracts the eye from whatever you are wishing to keep the focus on. ya know?

But yeah, I think you found something you can seriously do very well!!! I mean, really, really well!!!

Great Job!!!

I LOVE IT!!! You can probably sell this piece easy, for a pretty penny! Seriously!

There you go, that's just my two cents

Tim Gardner said...

I must say, that's the nicest comment I've ever received! Thanks, Esly. It's always good to have friends who "build you up" rather than "break you down." I have too many Dream Crushers around me here in Orlando, it seems, sometimes; you know, people who always tell you what's wrong without telling you what to do about it, and always telling you why you CAN'T do things rather than telling you "you can do anything" and that sort of thing. I'm just a big baby, and others' opinions have powerful effects on me. Anyway, yeah, I may pursue portraiture. And the hair? Yeah, I rushed through that, and didn't add highlights, other than allowing the local color (Van Dyke Brown) to appear. In the photo I worked from, the highlights look white, but at second glance I noticed versions of blue and yellow in the highlights... So I should do that.

Tim Gardner said...

Oh, and one more thing: I think you're too hard on the other artist, Joy. She has a number of videos on YouTube, and she's quite good. I DO however think her version of Angelina has too much high-intensity orange it; plus, I think she got the eyes too dark. Otherwise, she's great, and I used the same paper, velour, which is a very unique type of paper, almost like velvet. Also, her video helped me A LOT.

Tim Gardner said...

Ooops, one more thing: I CANNOT sell this, because I don't have permission from the original photographer. My pastel portrait is a fairly faithful recreation of his/her original effort in film. At least, that's my understanding of copyright laws.