critiques needed

ok guys, just wondering if I might be able to get some critiques on a painting I’m trying to finish… its a self portrait in a Mad Hatters Hat

oh and if it says not found or whatever just hit reload… DA is a little testy


I’m not a painter or anything, so do what you will with my advice.

The good:
I like the hat, and also the way you chose to crop it. You have also balanced the card with a seam, which I like as well. The slope of the hat and the unbalanced ears add some eccentricity and character to the scene.

The crits:
I can’t really say how the facial crop will turn out; it looks like it has potential, and will come out well if you fix up the face, but I can’t say for sure. In my opinion, there are a few problems with the face. First of all, the ears aren’t well defined; they aren’t cartoonish, and they aren’t realistic, either. The top of his left ear is especially weird, and really detracts from the scene. Second of all, the nose doesn’t go with the hat – the styles differ, which created the same effect as changing tenses in the middle of a sentence. :wink: The nose isn’t too far off, though – just a little tweaking should do the trick. Lastly, the eyes aren’t great, I like the fact that they are blank, but they look unfinished.

Well, that’s all for now.

Thanks a lot!

I haven’t gotten a really good critique in a long time…

Well, unlike meestaplu, I am a painter, and I might be a bit harsher with my critiques.
I do like the overall look of the hat, but a few things about it bothers me: the part above the rim looks like a rectangular solid with one of its sides expanded - isn’t it supposed to look more round and cylindrical?
The ribbon and the rim is quite good. However, the top part looks flat also. Once again, I have no idea if you are going for cylindrical or rectangular. I feel like the card isn’t attached to the hat.
As for the face, I basically agree with all that Matt has to say. I can’t really comment at this point, since the whole thing looks blurry to me (esp. the nose) Your incorporation of different colors is good.
So my crits are rather useless if I just point them out without solutions! First off, it looks like you used oil paints, correct? If so, I’d advise to take advantage of the property of the medium to the fullest - add layers, don’t be afraid of unsmooth parts! The card looks like you just blotched yellow on one side, and thinned it out with terpenoid. Don’t do that! Add white to it, then yellow, and blend, blend, blend! Same with the rest of the hat. Seems like you used one shade of green, and thinned it out over the parts. While this works for shading with charcoal or graphite, with oils it’s not as impressive. Add other hues, i.e. blue, brown, violet, or even red! I know it might sound odd, but you can use them in such a way as to enhance the contrasts.
As for the cylindrical vs. rectangular topper part, the cause for this is that dark line. I think you’re going for rectangular, but the ambiguities arise because it’s so sudden and out of nowhere. You have it blended in ever so slightly to the right. Might I suggest you continue doing that some more? Also, to make it look even more attached, experiment with some shading into the left as well.
I’m not sure how much all this helped. I’m not that great at putting my thoughts into words. Here’s something I did a few years ago that might help; notice how his hat (overall grayish) is enhanced by other hues (crimson, burnt umber). It’s pastel, but you get the idea. Same effect evident in the shirt.

Wow… thanks a lot.

I’m actually just starting to teach myself how to paint, but what you said was really great, the harsher the better…

I used acrylic for the paint so instead of a chemical thinner its just water… I assume all of the same things apply when using acrylics as with using oils?

All of your suggestions help, a lot. Thanks.

Acrylics are different, and in some ways not as versatile (They dry too fast for my tastes… I can’t mix a little bit of color without having it dry on my palette. The basic idea is there; you can pile the paint on top in layers (but don’t do it too much with acrylics; it tends to peel faster than oils)
Hm. With acrylics, watch your brush strokes, and don’t leave light spots as thinned paint. Sorry I can’t say more about acrylics; I haven’t worked with them in a long time.