Painterly or Photographic Portraits?

October 12, 2016  •  3 Comments

Painting by Karen Sperling based on a photograph by Scott Stulberg, using the Artistry Corel Painter Brushes Volume 8 brushes.

I had a conversation last night with a photographer friend about the ongoing question I have about how painterly or photorealistic to make a painting.

Painting in Corel Painter gives the artist the flexibility to choose a level of photorealism not usually found in traditional artwork. Painting traditionally with oils, acrylics or pastels, the faces will have a painterly look. But painting with Corel Painter, the end result can resemble a photograph, a painting or any combination of both.

Many artists and photographers painting with Corel Painter today use this flexibility to create paintings with photorealistic faces and painterly backgrounds. Truth be told, I prefer a more painterly result, even for the faces, but I stick to more photorealism because it seems more people prefer it.

Or do they?

That was the conversation last night. The photographer told me he, in fact, prefers the painterly result, which was good news to me.

Of course, that's one of the many benefits of painting with Corel Painter, having the flexibility for the end result to be whatever you'd like.

Let's do a straw poll. Tell us in the comments whether you prefer a painterly painting, like the one at the top of the page, or a photorealistic one, like the one below, or something in between.

And next time you either commission a painting or purchase materials to paint them yourself, consider that the look of the painting is completely up to you!

For techniques for painting based on photographs in classic and painterly styles, read Painting for Photographers Volumes 1, 2 and 3, available in print at Amazon and here at the Artistry website in ebook format.

Click here to commission a painted portrait.

Painting by Karen Sperling based on a photograph by Karah Sambuco, using the Artistry Corel Painter Brushes Volume 8 brushes.


3.Christopher Stillians(non-registered)
I personally prefer a more painterly look, but most of my clients want a more photo-realistic looking face.
2.Lucille Eidse(non-registered)
I prefer the top one- more painterly.
I just have a really hard time accomplishing having faces look painted while remaining recognizable!
1.Robin Hall(non-registered)
I prefer the painterly effect but because my main business is pets I know lots of owners want the key features of a dogs portrait to be photorealistic so I do bring back the majority of the eyes and nose and any specific hair features.
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