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WIP Critique Robert E. Lee 200mm flat

Discussion in 'vBench (Works in Progress)' started by Meticulous, Sep 16, 2014.

  1. Meticulous Member


    I need a bit of guidance on this piece. As a bit of background, I have painted only a few 30mm flats and that was over five years ago now, so this is my first piece in quite a while. This is a Troste/Widmann 200mm bust of Robert E. Lee.

    Painting thus far is spray acrylic white primer (3 coats) and on top of that straight Winsor Newton artist's oils, with just the base coat on the uniform and, on the face, the base plus first highlights and shows.

    The photo shown is of the piece after being baked in a crockpot for about an hour.

    My only real concern right now is that the flesh might be a tad pink. I have been thinking of using a very dry (soaking out the oil carrier on an index card) application of raw sienna (in very trace amounts) and feathering this into the pinker areas to bring down the ruddiness a tad.

    I am clearly not in the league as most on here, but I am serious about improving, so an advice and opinions are most welcome.


    Attached Files:


    I like your flesh tone, at least as a base. I am not a flats painter but if was starting with this I would moving to lay in shadows with sepia and other shades. But I don't see what you have as too pink at all. Perhaps the camera lies?

  3. Tecumsea PlanetFigure Supporter

    Think about where the light is coming from and then use that to develop your shadows and add depth to the piece. At the moment the light seems to be coming from left, right and above. It is important to do this particularly with flats as you are trying to deceive the eye into thinking the piece is round.

    Nothing wrong with the colour you have as a base. As you are using oils I would be tempted to finish the uniform and use the crock pot to matt the oils down . Then finish the face leaving the natural sheen the oils provide.

    I'm no expert but I hope this helps

  4. Meticulous Member

    @Colin (crf): I think the photo is pretty close to what I am seeing as I hold the flat against my monitor. I was a bit worried about trying sepia, but I do understand the color has a good bit of brown in it, so perhaps this might maintain the warmness I am going for but yet deepen the shadows, as you suggest?

    @Keith (Tecumsea): I have the light coming from the 1:00 position. I took a few photos from that position after priming to see where the light was falling so that I could see where the highlights and shadows were falling. I guess this did not work? I was also trying to emulate the portrait on which this engraving is based.

    Good idea on the face sheen. Another old trick I read about somewhere (I think an old issue of Historical Miniatures) is once the figure if finished, you rub the oil from your nose onto the skin areas for a realistic sheen.

    Appreciate your comments and any others that folks may have.

    Actually sepia oil has a tendency to green/brown, which I like. If you don't want that result, there are other options.

  6. garyhiggins A Fixture

    Hi Rob, this is coming on nicely, Keith is right about the lighting, and a good tip in understanding where your light is coming from is to actually mark a big arrow on the base board pointing down at your figure from either top left or top right as a constant reminder.
    Best wishes, Gary.
  7. Meticulous Member

    @Colin: I did try the sepia earlier tonight and I am happy with the results. I will need another session to deepen some of the shadows more, but I was definitely able to reduce some of the ruddiness that I was not happy with. I will post another photo tomorrow.

    @Gary: I will try this. I am using the original portrait to help with this and I think I have been able to correct the lighting angle.
    crf likes this.
  8. Meticulous Member

    Progress on the face (using sepia; thanks for the suggestion, Colin).

    Attached Files:

    • lee2.jpg
      File size:
      929.4 KB

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