I am mostly self taught, I started painting late in my life. One day I felt a strong desire to paint my interpretation of the 23rd Psalm and that began my adventure in painting. I was 55 at the time and so I have been painting 14 years. I did take a couple of college semester trying to learn to pain, but my instructor was into abstracts, and although the class was listed as Oil Painting technique, she only taught abstract painting and I am a realist. I want to see a tree if that is what is supposed to be depicted.
I am a very poor drawer, but I can paint shapes, and so I start with an empty canvas and paint shapes until I accomplish what the photo I am painting from intends.
The 1st image is of a lady I met in South Africa in 2008, she did not know I was taking random shots, I photographed her with a Nikon d-80 digital camera with a 4.5/400 lens.
The 2nd image is of a group of lavender roses. I sold this painting for a handsome amount. As always I started with a blank canvas I first painted the leaves in the upper right corner. It was my first adventure in trying to make what I was painting “live”.
The 3rd image is called Gebera Daisy. It was my very first painting of a flower. I labored over it because I wanted it to look alive. I learned a lot about how to make my painting look 3D. So it was a study in shadows in varying degrees, and also color mixing.
The 4th image is called “An Artist View of Santorini Greece” . This was a very difficult painting for me as it was a study in perspective and form. I have painted very few buildings because I am not very good with perspective, I am not a drawer. However with this I had to teach myself how to deal with both light and shadows and color mixing.
The 5th image was my very first portrait. I worked from a very tiny postage stamp sized image of the president in the National Cathedral right after 9/11. I painted this in 2005. So I was a fledgling artist having painted only 6 years at the time. Making this portrait look alive and realistic, took great pains and attention to detail.
The 6th painting, Is a landscape, and in it I studied painting water, depth perception, nearness and far away objects, and trees and foliage. It was difficult because it is so dark, and I had to still achieve depth although everything varying degrees of darkness.-
With this painting of former, President, George Bush, my suggestion is to allow the edges of the form of the hair to fall more into shadow. From the painting approach you are implementing, it appears that you are trying to give the portrait a sense of three-dimensional form, and the defined linear nature of the contour is preventing the overall form from curving back into space. In your next portrait explore pulling in some of the tones from the surrounding negative space directly into the edges of the face and hair, which will tone the contour down and allow it to recede. Experiment with softening and losing edges.- Hall Groat