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Portrait painting from photograph

Updated on February 18, 2012

Portrait of Fadzi

Portrait of young Zimbabwean girl
Portrait of young Zimbabwean girl | Source

Portrait of Fadzi

A painting of my nephew from a photograph I took when she was still a toddler. Painting this portrait was very pleasurable in that it took me back to the basics of painting after years of having done abstract painting from imaginative composition.

Original Photograph

Photograph from which painting was created.
Photograph from which painting was created. | Source

Challenges in painting from the photograph

The biggest challenge I faced was in deciding what style I wanted to paint it in.I was not after realism but a more impressionistic effect. What I however ended up achieving was a close to real portrait with a fair amount of detail in texture and tone.

I would have preferred to go with a looser brush stroke that gave a more fleeting impression rather than a "representation" of the actual subject. The resulting painting is the effect of not having painted the figure for a while and thereby losing the personal mark I had developed earlier on in my career, as illustrated in the painting of a young boy below

Looser brush stroke in this painting

A painting by Victor Mavedzenge depicting a young man
A painting by Victor Mavedzenge depicting a young man | Source

Looser, freer brush mark

In this painting, the brush stroke is freer and looser,giving a feeling of movement and vitality to the painting. This portrait of a young man was done in acrylic paint which dries faster than oil paint used in the Portrait of Fadzi.

Use of color in paintings by Victor Mavedzenge

In the Portrait of Fadzi, color is used in a more representational manner. It is true to the original photograph where as in the imaginative painting to the right, color is used in a more impressionistic manner.It is not representive of the figure nor its surroundings. This relates directly to the loose brushstroke.

The Artist

Victor Mavedzenge lives and works in Oakland California. He is currently working as the senior artist at Youth Spirit Artworks which is "is an interfaith “green” art jobs and job training program located in Berkeley, California which is committed to empowering homeless and low-income San Francisco Bay Area young people, ages 16-25."-Quoted from their website.

Victor originally comes from Zimbabwe where he was born and raised.He studied for a Masters Degree in Fine art at the Slade School of fine Art in London England from 2008-2010.

More of his work can be seen here.


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    • Alladream74 profile imageAUTHOR

      Victor Mavedzenge 

      6 years ago from Oakland, California

      @Flora. Thanks for passing by!

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image


      6 years ago

      Victor - It is fascinating to learn how a person starts with an idea and proceeds with the painting. Impressionism has always been one of my favourite styles of painting.

    • Alladream74 profile imageAUTHOR

      Victor Mavedzenge 

      6 years ago from Oakland, California

      @Lady_E. Thank you so much.I hope I find you well

    • Lady_E profile image


      6 years ago from London, UK

      Lovely portraits. What a great talent.


    • Alladream74 profile imageAUTHOR

      Victor Mavedzenge 

      6 years ago from Oakland, California

      @Bob. Thank you!

    • diogenes profile image


      6 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Lovely to have a talent like this.

      More power to you.



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