Friday, April 11, 2008

What NOT TO DO (?) and Help!


Here's some dirty laundry. I was commissioned to do the grandson of the manager of one of the art supply stores here in Sacramento. I took about twelve photos of the cute little tike. Most of them were outside with some very nice shadowing on his face. Then I took a few in my studio bathroom. The bathroom has a frosted window facing the sun. In the afternoon, anyone posing for me is hit with wonderful soft light casting soft shadows (see my February post of the watercolor portrait I did of Stacy, my ex-rep and a comely lass, indeed). But with the grandson (his name is Ian), the photos were in the late morning before the sun came around to face the window square on. The light was flat and diffused. But...I included this photo for the client to see, and his wife loved it, and everyone was on the same page as far as his angelic expression was concerned. So...that was my reference photo. The painting captures his look, and the client absolutly loves the painting. Done deal, sold American. Problem is...boring!!!! Can any of you very talented fellow artists out there give me a clue as to how I could have painted Ian in flat light but with some panache?

Signed,
Sad Artist

10 comments:

silvina said...

Dear Sad Artist;
I think you handled the portrait quite well. You kept his whole face light yet used temperature variation to make it interesting. Cooled the side farther back so he doesn't look flat.

You know, what looks good for a photo doesn't necessarily translate well for a painting. But I think you DID handle it with 'panache'!

Frank Gardner said...

I agree with Silvina on the modeling of the face with warm and cool since you did not have much value to rely on with that flat light.
Looks like the kind of face parents would like to see in a portrait.
The only thing that bugs me is the triangle shape on the left that goes right for his eye.

Ed Terpening said...

I have a suggestion...If you do the center of interest (in this case, a face) in soft light, with diffused shadows, you should consider the values surrounding and subordinate them. So, for example, the shadow under the hat and the shirt itself could be much lighter, to fit into a softer design.

I think if your center of interest is a soft area, the rest of the painting has to follow.

It's a very nice painting!

David Lobenberg said...

Thanks Silvina. The client loves it. I think that I'm not used to a more subtle portrait color palette. I also think that I knew my client enough not to go too "wild". Yea, maybe that's it.

David Lobenberg said...

You're right, Frank. It's the kind of face parents (and in this case, grandparents) would like to see in a portrait. It just is a little to low key for the likes of the artist. Yes, the shape in the upper left corner need to go. Thank you so much for your appraisal.

David Lobenberg said...

Well that's something to consider, Ed. I'm not making any changes to this one, because the client likes it too damn much, but definetly something to consider with the next one that may crop up with similar diffused lighting. Thanks. Liked that sunset you did!

onpainting said...

This painting has a great feel of capturing what is important without being overly polished.

David Lobenberg said...

Dear Onpainting: Why am I getting all these frigin positive comments on this portrait!? What?...don't I have a shred of self worth. I"d cut off my right ear if it were not so boorish and had no historical precedent.
But I truly appreciate you visiting my humble, sub- standard blog.
On the bright side, give my regards to Mango...whata cute canine!

Amy said...

I also think the portrait is very nice. And most of my portraits are of children. When I do a child's portrait I avoid only doing the head. I like to have them doing something, I want to include their hands.
I do agree with Frank, about that triangle pointing at his eye.
He is a darling young man.

David Lobenberg said...

Thanks for visiting Amy. I agree, having a child doing something with his or her hands would make for a very interesting portrait!