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The Challange of Portraits

I just completed this portrait of three cousins. It's an oil on canvas, done with an indirect painting technique. I start with a transparent golden wash over the entire canvas and then work the lights and darks up from that base. I find it's a lovely base to start with for flesh tones and makes the whole canvas warm. These portraits were difficult for several reasons. First, I didn't have an opportunity to meet the children in person. Second, I had to work from lower res photos than I normally like to do. And third, I had to photoshop out several elements, replace heads and arms and try to make it not look like I did exactly that.

Here is the photo shoppped photo that I worked from:

The finished painting is beautifully rich in color and texture compared to the photo. Another reason why paintings are so superior to photos if they are done with the intent to express an emotion or message and not just reproducing a photo. 
Here is the full portrait with frame:

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