Background issues


Hi, (I am sorry but I am not sure if I should write here or elsewhere).

I am out of my comfort zone again. I mean I prefer still lifes but now and then I see a face that I want to paint. This time I wanted to be a little more spontaneous, I didn’t follow the background of the photo but I wanted to use gold at the background and on purpose the gold goes on the girl’s scarf. I was thinking of painting some Indian patterns on the background but I don’t know… It’s something I have never done before. I am tired and nervous so my English sucks but please be free to criticize my portrait.

Thank you so much for your time.

Pastel on Pastelmat paper, 23x19"

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I think your portrait is lovely and I like your idea of an Indian patterns in the background. Perhaps experimenting with thumbnails or in Photoshop would make you feel more confident with your choice since the face is so well done?

Thank you for the time you have devoted to write. I thought about the photoshop thing. I tried something that I liked but when I tried it it was to complicated to do with pastels. I will try a few more things and if these won’t go the way I expect, then I will leave it this way. I am glad that you find it lovely. The colors are not actual. It looks better than it appears in the photo but I just can’t photograph it the way it is. I will post it when finished. I will try not to distroy it lol!! Thanks again and have a lovely rest of the day!

You’re always so hard on yourself Irene. It is a wonderful work that is full of great skill and artistry. In my opinion you should always continue to draw and paint what inspires you as the inspiration is a powerful driving force that opens up new landscapes of possibilities for all of us. (And I very much look forward to seeing where you continue to take us all with your wonderful work.)


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Thank you so much Anthony. I always value your opinion. You are so kind, you know how to lift an artist’s spirit. You are such an inspiration to me all these years. THANK YOU!
PS. Is it okay if I leave the backgrownd as it is?

Oops! I realize that I did not even answer your question (therefore I don’t know how much you should value my opinion. LOL!) What to do with the background is a matter of what you are trying to accomplish. You could “up” the visual impact with more complexity to achieve a certain result—or leave the background subdued to allow for more focus on your model. There is no right or wrong move here independent of what you would like to achieve with the piece.

Here’s how an Indian pattern may change the look of the work:

Complex background patterns do work well in many cases. In fact, look at how complex this background is from Barack Obama’s portrait at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery painted by artist Kehinde Wiley:

I would also like to add, general speaking, I would not allow your creativity to be hampered or limited by fear or apprehension. Everything we do may adversely impact a developing piece of work, However it is both the successes AND failures, the make up the rungs on the ladder to excellence and true creative freedom. If you feel moved to add an elaborate pattern—then by all means go for it!

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Thank you again for your time. I really appreciate it. I will experiment. I am not sure if I will dare, lol! We will see. I will post when finished. Have a wonderful day!! THANK YOU!

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[quote=“Irene_Georgopoulou, post:1, topic:824, full:true”]


This is the final painting. I didn’t want more complexity to the background. I hope you like it. You all have a great day!

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Just gorgeous Irene!!! :heart::heart::heart:

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I am glad you like it Anthony. I value your opinion. I photographed it in daylight and posting it again. I didn’t know where to post new work. I am lost here lol! THANK YOU again for everything.