Critique: Portrait Backgrounds

11 Feb 2009
Untitled
Conté.

The composition of this painting is very effective—the shape of the subject sits nicely against the background. However, the artist may want to consider painting the background a darker shade to enhance the dynamic shape. Differentiating the background color from the color of the skin tone will make the portrait stronger.

About the Critic
Dawn Whitelaw has studied painting with Scott Christensen, Cedric Egeli, Jim Pollard, and Everett Raymond Kinstler. In 2002 she received the Award of Excellence and Best of Show in an international competition sponsored by the Portrait Society of America, and she has exhibited her portrait, landscape, and still life paintings in juried shows organized by the Cumberland Society of Painters, the American Academy of Women Artists, and the Phoenix Historical Museum.

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Comments

on 19 Feb 2009 11:33 AM

Creating a portrait with strong angles from left or right corners is extremely effective.  The sample provides energy and movement for the viewer.   The sample draws your eye from the face, to the hand, down to the bottom of the page and back up to the face with the red locks of the subject.  This technique is very effective and most great layouts understand this use of movement.

Another great thing is the negative space created.  3 great negative spaces define this shape.   This artist has an understanding of portraits and composition.   Even if this woman was in a room of people, the artist effectively accomplished a great portrait.