Pastel portrait of my nephews.

James Pence

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Pastel portrait of my nephews.
« on: February 22, 2014, 06:00:56 PM »
Hello! I'm new to the forum, but have subscribed to the website for almost a year. Looking forward to learning a lot.

This is a pastel portrait of my nephews that I started almost 10 years ago. I got frustrated because, although the faces were close, they didn't look quite right. I put the picture away and didn't touch it again until about a month ago when I realized that I wasn't learning anything with the picture hidden away. The only way I'll learn and improve is by pushing through and finishing it.

Anyway, I've tweaked it about as much as I can, and am at the point where I'm afraid I'll overwork it. I'm still not thoroughly pleased with the likenesses, particularly Daniel (on the left), but I don't know what else to do.

I've included two older versions along with the "final" version. The version with the photo of the boys clipped to it is the oldest  (and pretty much as it looked when I pulled it out after 10 years of storage). DanielNathan2 is after I'd done some reworking. NathanDaniel_Final is the latest.

I used pastels, pan pastels, and pastel pencil, and it's done on Arches 140 cold press watercolor paper.

Any suggestions, tips and critiques will be greatly appreciated. I don't know if I'll tweak this one anymore, but anything I can learn going forward will be helpful. Thanks!

« Last Edit: February 22, 2014, 06:04:09 PM by James Pence »


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Re: Pastel portrait of my nephews.
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2014, 04:57:13 PM »
I'm getting ready to post my first ever pastel portrait, so I am by far NOT the best choice for advice. I was struggling with my piece and so paid a visit to the local art center with it. A woman there who was a retired art teacher gave me a lot of pointers. Most importantly, she encouraged me not to be afraid of using deep flesh tones, oranges even, in the shadow areas of the painting to help make her face not look so flat. She also explained to me how blues can be an appropriate color for shading flesh tones so long as oranges are also being utilized. Her advice made a world of difference in finishing the piece. I hope her advice is helpful to you, as well. Do you have a local art center in your area? This is the type of place which is run on a volunteer basis by local artists. Some can be pricey to join and others are very reasonably priced. The one in my town is extremely affordable, but the one the next town over is cost prohibitive for me. So if your local one is too costly to join, look at art centers in neighboring towns. Ours has an open studio weekday mornings where you bring your work to work on there and to receive input from other artists. It was a great help to me yesterday. I'm taking my portrait back on Thursday to see if they call it done or have more advice for me.