Vincent van Gogh Painted his Portrait

Vincent Van Gogh painted his portrait with a reddish beard, quite often with a yellow straw hat and pipe. Most of his portrait paintings can be found between 1886 ~ 1889, including “Skull with Burning Cigarette”; the skull can be seen as van Gogh’s first self-portrait. Have you ever wonder why van Gogh painted his portrait?

His portrait painting started when he moved on from Antwerp to Paris in February 27, 1886, to live with his brother Theo. It was his desire to seek for an improvement of himself by choosing to live in Paris and forget the everyday feuding of the village. Beside having this choice of living in a populous city, he became more self-conscious about his outer appearance. This could be a reason why he painted himself.

Back then, Van Gogh uses the reflection of his mirror, to reproduce his face. He painted over 40 pieces of his portrait works in his life time, making himself the most intellectually recognized portrait artist of his time. Perhaps another reasons for this obsession, could probably trying to figure out who he was and what is place in the world was.

Despite having many of his painting works, most were not appreciated or being sold. As such, he did not have sufficient finance to support his enthusiasm on improving portrait painting skill. No money to pay the posing model, and not many people commissioning him to do portrait paintings. This was also a reason why he painted himself.

In January 1889, Arles, he painted himself with bandaged ear. It was this few paintings that clearly portrait himself without his beard. Interestingly, he chose to paint than to look at the mirror of how he look like with this bandage. Possibly never believe that mirror image was more true than his hand painted artwork.

Theses days portrait paintings have change drastically, who else will paint himself by using the reflection of mirror? Most will just use their existing photograph to reproduce them self, be it in the medium of pencil, watercolor or oil painting.

Van Gogh Self-Portrait with Grey Felt Hat 1886-87
Van Gogh Self-Portrait with Grey Felt Hat (1886-87) | Image Credit to Wikipedia

Portrait of Mona Lisa Painting

Portrait of Mona Lisa painting on wood used oil as the color medium, size at 77 x 53 cm, renaissance painting dated back in 1503. Painted by the famous Italian artist, Leonardo Da Vinci; master of all science. He was well known for his brilliant innovator in painting, as well as, areas of the (then) natural sciences, technology and architecture. Below, you will read about his portrait painting of Mona Lisa, perhaps the most famous of his work in whole of art history.

This portrait painting has received many questions around the world, yet many has remained unanswer. You may be asking why has this portrait painting been so famous. There is, in fact, no specific reasons or a right answer. As art, it is always sujected to your opinions and how you support it. I personally also trying to find out myself and to learn from you. Regardless of the attitude or expectation with which you look at the face of Mona Lisa, she looks back accordingly. In particularly, Mona Lisa’s smile; it is so magical and with beauty.

In the world of oil paintings, all, no-one has identified who the sitter is. You may have known that she is commonly referred as the wife of Francesco del Giocondo, a Florentine official. However, Leonardo Da Vinci painted Portrait of Isabella d’Este in 1500, whom, many critics claimed to resemble her from side view.

As Leonardo Da Vinci has done before, in 1570’s, he staved to make this portrait more than merely a naturalistic depiction. He painted the outward portrait of a young woman, whose kind and peaceful eyes, with her gentle smile refer to something not can be expressed outwardly, the soul. For this reason the Mona Lisa painting does not seem to have been created from outward appearance, but from with 0 and the same might also be said of the folds of the mountains at the portrait background.

One of the his technique this Leonardo had acquired is sfumato. He achieved this effect by means of soft transitions of light and shade: things lose their rigidity, and reality appears hazy, vague, free of sharpness or hash contour. Mona Lisa smile and her vivid face is deliberately expressed with such technique; in which facial trait are not clearly definable.

Whatever it was, the paintings has cast its magic spell for centuries. As Jean-Pierre Mohen of Louvre has described, “The work actually produces a strange kind of rapture which is part of its greatness.

Portrait Photography Without Lighting Studio

How to have portrait photography without lighting studio, commonly know as studio portrait. As an amateur photographer, I have used SLR camera, as well as, the point-and-shoot compact camera. Both has given me some experiences that portrait photography can possibly be done, even without a proper light studio for the professional.

I enjoy taking photographs of friends or family. These days, any user can easily learn to take pictures without worrying of its setting or adjustment. Modern cameras are build in with with lots of automated features, such as auto focus, exposure, zooming, face-detection, etc. The results can be excellent most of the time. At times, the outcome can be so badly that one continue to snap more picture till the good one appears. So what actually contribute to a good portrait photography without proper studio? Below are 2 factors that can help anyone to have notice a major difference and better results.

1) Using of on-camera flash

On-camera flash is never flattering; not only does it show every flaw and blemish, but the harsh directional light creates ugly shadows and the dreaded red-eye.

Studio portrait photographers use large flash units on stands with special softbox attachments to diffuse the light. For the home studio, all you need is an overcast day. Simply named it as ‘natural light’ in photographic terms. Place your subject by a large windows, seated so they are facing slightly towards the light. For outdoors, recommended place will be under a shade in the day.

This is all you need to do, though if the other side of their face looks too dark, you might want to employ a sheet card a a reflector to bounce some of the daylight back. A oversized white sheet taped to the wall behind them is perfect.

Most of the cameras if set to full auto, will have their on-camera flash triggered upon detect insufficient lighting. You can st it to “Without Flash”.

2) Zoom Setting

The key thing here is not to use the wide end of the zoom. If you have a 3x zoom on your camera, step backwards and use the longest zoom setting. If the zoom is longer, aim for at least the mid-way point. This will produce more flattering perspective – and avoid the ‘back of the spoon’ effect of shooting with a wide lens. The negative effect of ‘back of the spoon’ tend to be more prominent with wide angle lens, especially for SLR cameras. If the framing of the portrait is only to the face closeup, it will look kind of ‘stretched’ or slightly rounded.