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  #1  
Old May 31st, 2010, 10:07 AM
Matt Halstead Matt Halstead is offline
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Default Portrait of a Friend - Critique Needed

Hi guys,

Just finished working on this portrait. The model in the shot is a good friend of mine, so before presenting her with the finished photo I would like to get some feedback from you guys as i want the image to be as good as I can get it!

Both myself and Lindsey are big fans of some of the classic Dutch painters, and i wanted to try and process the image to create a painterly feel, which i think I have achieved.

Anyway, would appreciate your views:





Matt Halstead: Portrait of a Friend





Thanks,

Matt

Last edited by Asher Kelman; May 31st, 2010 at 12:01 PM.
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  #2  
Old May 31st, 2010, 10:41 AM
Rachel Foster Rachel Foster is offline
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It does have a "Dutch painter" feel to it. I like the hair especially.

Not sure I can suggest "improvements."

The eyes seem a bit shadowed, but I doubt much can be done post-processing. Also, that may be part of the effect you wanted.

Again, it all depends on what you were going for, but I would likely have shot from a higher angle and toned down the lighting on the jaw. I prefer to highlight the eyes and cheekbones.

I do like the "painting" effect a lot. Let us know how she responds to it.
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  #3  
Old May 31st, 2010, 12:00 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Halstead View Post
Hi guys,

Just finished working on this portrait. The model in the shot is a good friend of mine, so before presenting her with the finished photo I would like to get some feedback from you guys as i want the image to be as good as I can get it!

Both myself and Lindsey are big fans of some of the classic Dutch painters, and i wanted to try and process the image to create a painterly feel, which i think I have achieved.

Anyway, would appreciate your views:





Matt Halstead: Portrait of a Friend





Thanks,

Matt

Matt,

I like this strong image of a confident and handsome woman. The look, as Rachel points out, is indeed so evocative of an older period when this would be done in oil by the Dutch masters. I'm glad that you have made no attempt to leverage that great wild golder straw colored hair to be prepared as coiffed curls, carefully arranged, free falling as here.

Instead, her hair has the appearance of being as it might be if we came into her writing studio, at home, perhaps. So she seems to have no special need to elaborate on her looks. There's a kind of honesty to that, like good whole grain bread and granola cookies.

I wonder why there is detailed pore structure an the shadows around her mouth but not on the cheeks at all. Were they polished or is the lighting?

Congratulations on this splendid portrait of your friend. Tell me she's a writer!

Asher
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  #4  
Old May 31st, 2010, 12:38 PM
Ruben Alfu Ruben Alfu is offline
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Hi Matt,

The moment I saw this image I thought in Dürer*. I think it is very well done.The only thing I would change is the catchlight, perhaps something simulating window light?

*I'm referring to his famous self-portrait, not Dutch but close I think :-)

Last edited by Ruben Alfu; May 31st, 2010 at 06:38 PM. Reason: Aclaratory note
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  #5  
Old May 31st, 2010, 01:12 PM
charlie chipman charlie chipman is offline
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Before reading your comment my first thoughts were how the lighting, posing, and overall strength of her expression reminded me of paintings I've been looking at in a Da Vinci book I recently acquired. In that sense it is my opinion that the painterly look is working.

The areas that I am most critical of are her shoulders. The background blends right over them. To keep with the painting analogy it looks as though you painted her first and then painted the background on top of her and it is not really working for me, though this is not a deal breaker. It is much more noticeable, to me anyway, when viewed on a dark background than it is when viewed here on the bright forum.

One other minor nit, the catch lights in her eyes are rather brilliant. It may be worth it to tone them down or remove them completely and see if this appeals to you.

I quite enjoy the look you have achieved in both the lighting and the post work, all in all I think this works and she will be very happy with it. It presents her in a very confident light.
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  #6  
Old May 31st, 2010, 04:43 PM
John Angulat John Angulat is offline
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Hi Matt,
I think you've done an excellent job and your friend will be quite pleased.
Many on this forum have forgetten more about art and critique than I'll ever hope to learn.
So, I'll just say well done!
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  #7  
Old June 2nd, 2010, 05:23 AM
Matt Halstead Matt Halstead is offline
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Thanks for all the comments guys!

@Rachel - I'm waiting for a response from my friend, as soon as I receive it I will of course let you all know!

@Asher - Aside from removing a few blemishes, I made not other corrections to the skin, so the pores around the lips are 'accurate'. Regrettably the subject is not a writer but a languages teacher!

@Ruben - I shot the subject outside, using a ringflash for fill - thus the catchlights. I may tone them down but they don't really bother me too much.

@Charlie - I understand your point re: the merging of the shoulder with the background. This was deliberately done to try and blend the subject with the background. The background was the final element of the image to be added so I suppose the order I undertook the blending is true to form.

@John - thanks for your kind comment ;-)

Also, many thanks for the links to the works of other painters, I found these especially interesting!
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