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Old 10-05-06, 08:47 PM
iconwriter77373 iconwriter77373 is offline
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The attached is a portrait I have done for my daughter's 23rd birthday. The photo from which this was done was taken last summer when we did her bridal portrait (married last October). I think it's done, but I'd sure welcome comments and suggestions.

I've done many icons, but this is my first portrait of a currently living person :grin: and I had a ball doing it, and learned a lot more about our medium.




Jan
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Old 16-05-06, 11:07 PM
JeanM JeanM is offline
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Default Labor of Love

Hello Jan. I can appreciate the fact that this painting is a 'Labor of Love'. It's of your daughter and, because you usually paint icons, this is a departure for you. Here is something I would suggest. I think your daughter might appreciate it if you de-emphasize the crease running down her cheek. (We women are a little vain). And, maybe more of a smile would be nice. These are merely suggestions.
Jean
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Old 16-05-06, 11:21 PM
iconwriter77373 iconwriter77373 is offline
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Thanks, Jean. I appreciate getting some feedback. The painting is a copy of a bridal photo, and I left the expression the same because of that. I'd love to do one of her, more casual, where I could be a little less "copying".

Jan
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Old 17-05-06, 01:33 AM
Alessandra Kelley Alessandra Kelley is offline
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Okay, I'm not sure I've seen your icon work, Iconwriter, but I assume it's straightforward iconic imagery.

That would make this quite a bold departure. In pose, in drawing, in atmosphere and color palette, this is very unlike an icon.

I think the main difficulty I have with it is that it is flat. Although you have clearly placed the skin tones with great care, they don't seem to flow around a living body. If you look, you can see that her face is mostly one, rather pale, tone, and her back is a darker one, with a highlight on her shoulder. You might want to use more of your icon painting style here and place some artificial highlights and shadows on her face to make it "read" as more three-dimensional.

The dress is flat also, but this does not bother me. In fact, I like its graphic qualities. The dress and the soft veil to the left provide a nice frame for the figure.

The rose boquet reads as the most elaborate thing in the painting. It looks very nice, but it takes attention away from her face.

I'm afraid I find the background distracting. If you want to keep the suggestion of outdoor greenery, may I suggest blurring it somewhat? For example, you could lightly scumble over it with a softening color, say a blue-grey for the upper background, and a shade or two of burnt sienna mixed with yellow ochre and ultramarine blue for the lower? That way you still get the feel of her being in a living environment, but your gaze isn't distracted by that tree.

As a rule, when working from photographs you have to be careful of the lighting and colors. Modern photography avoids the highlights and shadows that make paintings so interesting.
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Old 17-05-06, 08:36 PM
iconwriter77373 iconwriter77373 is offline
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Thanks, Alessandra. It was a weird sort of project, because the purpose was to copy the photo, not depict my interpretation of the moment. Does that make sense? Were I to just paint Ruth Anne, I'd do it somewhat differently...but as it was, a replication of the photo was what I was after.

One lesson I learned in doing this is, "Know when to quit"! I had the face more dimensional and less "flat" and then fiddled with it, and I shouldn't have. Had I left it alone, it would not have been as pale (her facial tones are quite a lot paler than her back, partly because of makeup but partly that's just what her skin tone is like) and would have been more dimensional.

Maybe I can get her to sit for an informal portrait one of these years. That would be fun to do. And I wouldn't feel constrained that it "needs to look just like THIS" like I did with this project.

Again, thanks for the input!

Jan (oh, and you can see some of my work on www.panagia-icons.net)
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Old 20-05-06, 02:23 PM
JeanM JeanM is offline
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Default a "Labor of Love"

Jan, your icons are beautiful. I enjoy reading the related stories. Your work is very accomplished, I think. But, keep on painting living people, too. Have you ever taken a life- drawing class? It really helps to draw from real models, so you can see the bones and muscles.
Jean
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Old 21-05-06, 09:03 PM
iconwriter77373 iconwriter77373 is offline
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Hi, Jean;

No, I haven't. My youngest is just about to be graduated from high school in 10 days, and I hope to get to do some more study after that.

Thanks for the kind words about the iconography. It is a VERY long process to become a master iconographer; I have a very long way to go.

Jan
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Old 31-05-06, 08:46 PM
Alessandra Kelley Alessandra Kelley is offline
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Oh, but your icons are beautiful.

Good for you for expanding your repertoire. Life portraiture is so different from iconography, but it's so worthwhile.
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