Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Okay, I need some assistance. This is my first big portrait. Ever. It's at the ugly underpainting stage that is so hard for me to work through. I know there are things to fix, like the angle of the jaw, the lips and I think I'm going to put her shoulders up where they are in the photo so there is a better likeness. I'm just STUCK on how to proceed. Do I paint thin layers and go for more photo realistic? Do I try to go more painterly and let there be more ambiguity? Do I paint with big brushstrokes or small ones? Should I keep it black and white or should I go all out and try to do come color? AAARRGGG!!!!! Alan Tenbu!! What do I do????? 


Drawing and a little underpainting....

Officially crappy underpainting.....

Added a little more clothing for my sanity rather
than her modesty.


Hollie L. Hibbert said...

I'd exaggerate the hair a bit more. Leave the hair on the right side alone but I'd fill 85% that negative space behind her. do design a little negative space though....:-) There's my two cents

Emily Davis said...

Like Sister Ellis always said, "Every painting goes through an ugly stage."
I would recommend leaving it more "painterly" than go for photorealistic. And I agree 100% with Hollie's comment.
You can do it Cassie!
Like Brother Hunstman said, "Nothing is precious". ;)
(enough motivational professor quotes for you?)

Allen TenBusschen said...

Those are all personal style questions, I wish I could answer them for you. It you paint it black and white, you can always glaze color into it. Thicker paint is fun, but has a frustrating wait time. Start with big brushes, always a good idea. The main thing is to just go for it and have a good time.

Cassie said...

Thanks guys! You all are so amazing! I really appreciate your encouragement and advice. I'll do my best and I'll show you how it goes.

Hollie: You're so right! I was looking at the photo and the background is darker in value, so it'll make her face pop more instead of that stark white.

Emily: I think I was on the fence and I'll definitely go more painterly. Thanks!!!

Alan: Thank you. I didn't realize I could glaze color into it.... I may have to experiment with that on another project.

Thank you guys so much!!!!

Mike Grace said...


Amber Massey said...

You're working with oils right? Then you can build and blend as much as you want since it takes so long to dry. But at the same time oils can become muddy like watercolors. When I paint (typically with acrylic) I like to use big brushes with big thick strokes to block out the figure (shape) first so I can get the right positioning without getting too far into it before I can't change it later. What you have so far is totally workable! You just gotta step back when you feel frustrated and take a break and come back at with fresh eyes. I can see you could fill her out some more, you've sort of narrowed her face and body more than what it is. But I paint in a more realistic style, but I love the "painterly" effect, which I feel is more you. I agree with Hollie and Emily that you should be a bit more loose and fun with your strokes, but in the end all your questions are your own personal preferences like Allen said. :)

About Me

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I am an illustrator, bookbinder, painter, doodler, list-maker, and wife. I love food. I am what can be categorized as a dabbler. I love trying new things, but I always come back around to art and illustration. I just can't help it.