The Turquoise Hat

The Turquoise Hat

Hi Val I think you have a great face there and the necklace and hat bounce off each other really well. I may suggest that the expression on the person does not reflect the image in the mirror? Her cheek and mouth are in a different expression? Also - as she is head on in the mirror are you showing too much of her face on the right anyway? Love the hair by the way Does any of that help?

Hi Val. well up to your colourful high standards...I understand what Carole is saying...but then we all only see what we want to see in a mirror...then lateral inversion [turning the image round left on the right] in a mirror is a burger to get right...To me [though not a portrait painter] you have pulled this of very well...I like what I see here.

I love it! I can see what a wonderful colour her hair is. Such a good idea too. Many thanks for your comments on my pics.

Hi Val, I am not a portrait painter either, but like Phil I think you did a great job. Yes, there is a different expression (the chin?) between the mirror and the model, but still it is a great composition and the colors wonderful!

I agree with Phil & Nora re the expressions but let me tell you this it is a smashing painting. I think both young ladies (daughter) are telling us something different. You should be very proud of your skills as an artist here Val. Excellent.

I think 'painter's licence' covers this Val. Great portrait. After all we see lots of paintings with wrong perspective deliberatly done !

Thanks everyone for your comments. Carole you have made me see what has been bugging me about it. The reflection in the mirror isn't suppose to be face on, she is looking slightly to her left (our right) which is what I managed to achieve with the eyes but her nose and mouth look to be facing straight on. It was the eyes I kept fiddling with, at first I thought she had a squint, when I should have been concentrating on her nose and mouth which were actually the problem. I can never see what is often staring me in the face, thanks again for putting me right. Serves me right for trying to be clever!!

I think Carole's right about the expressions; one other thing - as you say the reflected face is turned to her left, so in the 'true' portrait wouldn't her shoulder be turned more towards the viewer? Also, if the face is receiving full light wouldn't there be more shadow behind the 'true' head and hat? Well done for tackling a really tricky painting!

I find a great help when painting, when you know there is somthing wrong with the image, I you stand with it in front of a mirror, the faults just jump out at you. Try it ,i am constantly amazed!.

Thanks Robert and Bernie for taking the time to comment and help with my problem. Robert, I took quite a few photos for this painting which I then cropped and blew up to see the detail. I have obviously used two which weren't taken together, if you get my drift, therefore not matching up the shadows etc. I was also concentrating on the light bouncing off the sequins on the left side of the reflected image and completely ignored the true image. As I said, trying to be too clever, I should learn to walk before trying to run !! Bernie, I often do that myself ,especially with my watercolours, but for some reason never tried it with this one. Have now !!

You said that this was you first oil portrait, I think it is really lovely (apart from the little fault it has). You have done a great job, the eyes are lovely and so is the hair. Reflections are a difficult task to perhaps you can attempt the same portrait without the mirror.

Val, you are not trying to be too clever at all, it is good to try something really challenging outside your comfort zone every now and then; it is the best way to learn I find.

I think that the comments already made, which are probably very valid, cover the question you asked Val,but dont be so hard on yourself, this is a lovely painting and you should be more than happy with the result, well done. Best wishes, Bill.

May I mention some possible points to look at, The slope of the eyes in relation to the nose and mouth, as it is her actual left eye looks high and the mouth shifted left. The overall head shapes under the hats the near one in particular the nose seems out of proportion, the angles worry me. The skin tones are lovely and pearly but the full on face looks very flat. It is a technique that is used to have a different mirror view, we see ourselves not as others see us ! can be played around with to give a painting something more than just a portrait. Great to see a successful portrait not traced or light-boxed or projected.

So on balance we all like it Val...Be Happy with proud of it too...Suggest you try a photographic session with a sitter and a mirror see how it works out by comparison...perhaps? I still think that we only see in a mirror what we want to see...mine still shows an old image...

HI Val, i absolutley agree with all the comments made here, good on you for pulling off a tricky subject, for a first attempt at portrait painting, its dam good.....i most certainley could not have done it, its just too daunting a job for me. well done. many thanks for lovely comments on my recent posts, its so much apprieciated from such an acomplished artist as yourself. regards Rhian ( IRENE).

Thank you so much for your comments on the pic of the babies, especially that eye. When I put the original photo on the computer and enlarged it I could see I'd the the eye completely wrong and far too big. In fact all 4 eyes needed adjusting. It's now done and sent but I forgot to take a photo so will have to wait for the owner to take one. It's like yours here; you can look and know there's something not quite right but until someone points it out you can be stuck for ages.

Val, I am not a portrait nor a very experienced painter but I do love this painting. I do love the bold colors you chose and I also think you have done a great job with all the details in this. Enjoyed viewing! Thank you so much for you kind comments on my painting!

Thanks for the comments on my work Val. This is interesting, there was a great painting in the Royal Society of Portrait painters exhibition a couple of years ago with the same type of composition, I like reflections as you are continually drawn between the two images of the person. It's very Fauvist in it's use of colour and I can see possibly you were drawn to such a hot background because of the hair colour, but maybe something of the drama of the red hair against the pale skin has been lost. Pale skin and red hair can be extremely dramatic and the best examples I have seen have focused on the drama of the colours by keeping everything else quite muted. Great work Val, and thanks again.

You have achieved an fine abstracted look to this face Val would love to see more of your portrait work.

Hi again Val Ros P here again, thanks so much for your kind comments on my 2pastel pet portraits, spring lamb and walkies anyone? Thanks very much for taking a look at those and commenting on them enjoyed doing them both, that is the first lamb I have done and it was a joy!

Hi Val just seen your very kind comment on my latest dog pastel portrait of the collie, they are lovely natured dogs aren't they, and I wanted to show that in my drawing as well as their customary alertness always being ready for a walk, and I am pleased you agreed with me that I had managed to show that, this portrait of yours of the girl in the turquoise hat is one that I really like it is so unusual and eye catching so I thought I would leave my thank you comment on this one for you, thanks again x

Hi Val just seen your lovely comments on my two pastel portrait posts today, of my granddaughter Chloe and Young Megan, thanks so much for appreciating them and commenting, especially on the young Megan one, that will not be recognisable to anyone as one of mine I don't think, I really enjoyed doing that one because it is so different and I am really pleased with how it turned out, glad you feel I got the important points across in it like her baby features, thanks again xx

Hang on Studio Wall

Oil on stretched linen 70cm / 50cm. My biggest canvas to date and my first oil portrait. My daughter is very fair skinned so the skin tones don't show up very well, ( not a good photograph ) but they are better "in the flesh" so to speak ( forgive the pun !!). I've fought with this for a few weeks and there is one area I've changed time and time again . I'm still not happy with it but was in danger of ruining it completely. I'm hoping all you expert portrait painters out there will point me in the right direction, I'm sure, just by looking at it, you will know which area I am talking about !

About the Artist
Val Kenyon

I am a self taught artist or, as I like to say, I'm "unrestricted by formal teaching" which probably explains my mish mash of styles. I paint in most media, watercolour, gouache, oil, coloured pencil and my favourite, soft pastels. I'm inspired by the Scottish landscape, nature and animals and…

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