Monday, January 05, 2009

The Portrait Exchange

Portrait Exchange
oil painting, 10 x 8 inch, unframed
done from a photograph for a portrait exchange

This my final version of a portrait that I did for a portrait exchange for Different Strokes for Different Folks. The blog is sponsored by Karin Jurick. There were 130 folks that committed to doing a portrait of another person using the photograph of themself that was submitted to Karin. Karin put all the names in a hat and drew them with two people exchanging photos of one another. I have no idea who my photo belonged to, but it was a tough one due to it being a flash no contrast to help define features or a directed light source, except for straight on. This was a real challenge. Hopefully, I was able to capture some of the essence of the person. However, this challenge was not about capturing a likeness, but what our interpretation was of the photo.

Here is the progress of the portrait that I did from start to finish. The final version is above.

While doing the portrait, a few basic tips from portrait classes many years ago from a community college in Arizona, began to resurrect themselves. The first being is to not use a photograph that has been taken with flash unless that is the only option, and of course, paint from a live model if possible. Most folks these days do not have the time to model for a portrait so a photo is the next best way to try to capture their essence and then use it for reference. Having a photo with some contrasting light that is taken in natural light is easier to paint than a flash photo.

The second tip that I remember the teacher remarking on was to try to have a view that is not straight on, but slightly to one side. These are not rules, but just some guidelines for making the life easier on the artist. Catching a person in their environment and knowing a bit of their personality helps, too. If I plan on doing a commission piece, I would actual do a photograph of the person and then try to get a good feel for what their personality is all about.

This was a fun challenge and really pushed me to be creative!

Check out the other portraits at DSFDFs. What fun to see all the interpretations!

P.S. I did not use the limited palette with just 2-3 colors for this one. This was tough as it was without putting more obstacles in my path.


Michelle said...

Hi Maryann, Beautiful portrait and very nice blog!

I just signed up for the 29 day giving challenge from your blog...what a great idea!

MaryAnn Cleary said...

Thanks, Michelle.

Camille LaRue Olsen said...

MaryAnn, I am your subject and thank you so much for doing such a fantastic job! You are so right, I wish I had sent in a photo with really good strong natural lighting like the one you submitted. I actually have never painted a portrait with such dramatic lighting so in its own way it is a challenge for *me.* But I would much rather have this challenge than flat lighting like you had to deal with. Mea culpa. But it is a beautiful painting. I am working on yours and it will be in by the deadline is the best I can promise. POSSibly by tomorrow night or Wednesday morning. I will see if I think it is finished tomorrow night. I made you blonde like in the picture I have :) If you want to see a preliminary sketch I did it is on my blog, just click on my name. Thanks again! Camille

Bill Brauker said...

Really nice work on this MaryAnn, and I like the photos showing how you got from A to Z. Bravo!

Sheila said...

I love the way you set up your progression images. I always find those so helpful. Thank you!

MaryAnn Cleary said...

Camille, don't worry about the flash photo. It really gave me a challenge and made me work out of my comfort zone. It was fun!!

Bill and Sheila, I am so glad that you enjoyed the progression photos. It is also good for me to see them. I hope to do this on more of my paintings.

Thank you.

christine said...

This is a lovely portrait MaryAnn. I really enjoying seeing the progression of the painting, too. Great job!