First Post - Max's Watercolour Pieces of 2007
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  1. #1
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    First Post - Max's Watercolour Pieces of 2007

    Well, it's certainly not my first post, and clocking up one hundred posts without any art is pretty embarrassing, but this is my first art post.

    I joined an art class about the third of the way through last year, starting with watercolours because I thought they'd be great for Shadow of the Colossus. I didn't start doing SotC pieces for quite a while though.

    Some are signed, others are not. They are taken with a digital camera.

    I would love some constructive criticism, harsh if you like. ;)

    This is one of my first, if not the first. I'm surprised to be pretty happy with it now.
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    The composition on this one is disgusting, and the trees don't fit in any way.
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    I like how the distant hill turned out, but the sea bores me, and the cliff is very cartoonish.
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    This was a bamboo study. I like how it came out, just wish I could remember how to do it.
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    Heavily overworked, but I do like the subtle bamboo at the top, near the centre.
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    These rocks.. It was praised when I completed it, but now, it's pretty bad. There is no centre of interest and it just gets too messy in the centre. Not to mention that some of the rock's shapes are very unrealistic looking.
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    Another bamboo study. I remember how to do it too. :)
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    The story for this is below. I feel that I should have gone for a round shape on the Grav-Well, because from other feedback I've had, the bullet shape gives the impression it's going somewhere. It's supposed to just hang there in mid-air. The hills are crappy and it's completely disconnected from the sea, which it should have a connection to. Plus, there's no perspective. It would be good to give this another try some time in the future.
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    I had a dream that started off with spiders, worked its way up to one the size of a car on our roof, which jumped at me. I started riding it which led to the image of me riding a colossal spider across the land.. Then I thought of Bioshock, and a trench came to mind. There were all the bombs attached to the walls, blowing large pieces of rock away which the Gravity Well Generator would pull out and carry.

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    Some Surrealism for you. This popped into my head as I was going to sleep, so I drew a thumbnail. As I was sketching onto the canvas(?), some Persona 3 art that I saw on here came to mind, and I decided to use the perspective style on it. Those curved lines are actually straight. I don't think it worked out too well as a watercolour, I should try this again when I get into digital art.

    And this one.. I don't really have an opinion.
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    This was completed this year, but I started it last year so here it is. I hate this piece. The centre of interest was lost, as can be seen in the detail on the 'cliff-face' at the right. There is also detail in the shadow of the tree, at the bottom, which looks blocky and unnatural. The middle rock does not integrate with the sand well and I dislike how the reflection turned out. I also feel that the light source (top left) was lost. I'm pretty happy with the sky, but have seen better.

    It's not formed completely from my head; I started it from imagination, but it became an existing location several seconds in.

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    Shadow of the Colossus Work

    I've let quite a few people over the Internet know about this, and they finally get to see it. For all of you; I'm sorry I took so long.

    As I sat down to work on something new I realized that I started going to this class to learn watercolour, to do some SotC stuff. I didn't have anything in mind, but this location popped into my head.

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    Here's the second piece that has been waiting.
    I'm pretty happy with the reflection. Fully using the reflection of the 'stadium' would have been too overpowering. The wavering at the edge of the water.. I think it works well in the peripheral vision, but doesn't when you look directly at it. I'm happy with the bottom right of the image.

    The tonal value fails, way too much black at the stadium thing. The actual game location is much darker though. I dislike how the sky came out, the centre of interest extends to the pillar on the left and the bridge is too stiff and straight. I would have liked the bridge to look more like this.

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    Last edited by Max Challie; April 18th, 2008 at 12:22 PM.
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  2. #2
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    First the kudos: You appear to be well aware of and experimenting with the dynamics of the brush, and you're keeping your colors separated rather well for a beginner. You appear to have patience, always a plus. The second piece is probably actually the best composition- the two lower right trees should go, but otherwise fairly interesting. What I would suggest, however, is that you work from observation. Painting out of your head, as you appear to be doing, present challenges only as far as your visualization and technical skills can agree upon. Bootstrapping makes things harder, and it can lead you off into bad habits. You'll acquire more skills, faster, if you have clear goals for which to devise solutions. This is the point where you need to be building your toolbox of technical solutions, which will allow you to better express images from your imagination.
    Kudos also for tackling watercolor. It's making me feel like I'm neglecting something important. I want to drag out my gear for the first time since college (Bad, lazy Matt!)

    We shall not cease from exploration
    And the end of all our exploring
    Will be to arrive where we started
    And know the place for the first time.
    -T. S. Eliot

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  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by M.C.Barrett View Post
    First the kudos: You appear to be well aware of and experimenting with the dynamics of the brush, and you're keeping your colors separated rather well for a beginner. You appear to have patience, always a plus. The second piece is probably actually the best composition- the two lower right trees should go, but otherwise fairly interesting.
    Thanks. Man, that feels good. I'm naturally very patient when waiting for people, but can lose my temper with little details that don't work.

    What I would suggest, however, is that you work from observation. Painting out of your head, as you appear to be doing, present challenges only as far as your visualization and technical skills can agree upon. Bootstrapping makes things harder, and it can lead you off into bad habits. You'll acquire more skills, faster, if you have clear goals for which to devise solutions. This is the point where you need to be building your toolbox of technical solutions, which will allow you to better express images from your imagination.
    What do you mean by Bootstrapping? Should I paint from photographs for a while, or paint realistic environments from my head? As far as I can remember, the second piece was from a photograph.

    I'll read this paragraph over and over to work it into my head more, thank you so much!

    Kudos also for tackling watercolor. It's making me feel like I'm neglecting something important. I want to drag out my gear for the first time since college (Bad, lazy Matt!)
    Is watercolour considered a difficult medium? And, how long since college?

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    I suspected the second piece was from reference, but I wasn't quite sure. What I mean by bootstrapping is when you're effectively pulling yourself up "by your bootstraps" in terms of how you attempt and acquire new skills, working completely from scratch with little external context for visualization. In other words, I was repeating myself.
    Watercolor tends to scare a lot of people off because there's more of a learning curve for color accuracy and control of the medium than with other paint media. It doesn't have the immediately gratifying "what you see is what you get" character of, say, acrylic. What it does allow is a certain degree of randomness, which, in my opinion, invites exploration and stimulates an adaptively creative mind.

    I left college to work immediately in the game industry two years ago, and nearly all my energy since has been spent on that, working in digital media. I'm just now managing to figure out how to work more independent art into my personal hours, and watercolor looks to provide just the challenge I need to keep myself sharp.

    We shall not cease from exploration
    And the end of all our exploring
    Will be to arrive where we started
    And know the place for the first time.
    -T. S. Eliot

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    nice to see you've finally started a sb man, sweet watercolour attempts, got any sketches to show?

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    M.C. Barret - Ah, thanks for explaining it. Watercolour pissed me off a little at times; it dried three shades lighter, didn't dry with that awesome texutre, etc. But I'm adapting and learning how to use the medium. The more water, the more pale it will be, and good textures can be achieved by applying salt in the right conditions.

    What would you recommend for improving my compositional skills? I'm not sure if painting from photographs is the greatest way..

    How does it feel, putting all your art time into work you don't own? Good luck with picking up watercolour again! I'd love to see your masterpieces.


    Paper X - I gave you this link on MSN, but you didn't reply. lol, I thought you wouldn't get it. I haven't started a sketchbook yet.. I've got a book on life drawing though, going to start that and kick a sketchbook of with my work from there at some point. Do you upload your sketchbook with a scanner or digital camera? It doesn't seem to have that effect of dark corners.

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    oh ooops sorry man! i look at sb's so much that i forget other parts of this forum exist sometimes haha...get one started anyway!! i usually scan my stuff in, but camera's can do the job to, just needs more tinkering around though...

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    The best way to improve compositional skills is simply to pay attention. Look around at things. Landscapes, cityscapes, cracks in sidewalks, mossy logs in a forest, a clump of mushrooms, an electrical junction box. When something catches your eye, causes you to linger on it even for a second, stop and think about why it does so. Develop this attitude toward seeing first, and all the dry, mundane textbook rules will make sense. You can get those in any art textbook, just scout local used bookstores and you should be able to find something that has all the standard rules of hierachy, elements of design, rule of thirds, etc.. You can accelerate this by sketching what catches your attention. It doesn't have to be color, but including value helps. Carry a pen, 40% or so grayscale marker, and a sketchbook and go to town- literally. Don't bother trying to make these absolutely precise illustrations. These are notes, scribbled down to help you remember what caused your eye to linger longer than necessary.

    I mostly treat my work as either a learning process or as intermediate steps to a design that satisfies my sense of aesthetic. I rarely am even concerned with producing finished 'pieces' to have a final, solid thing to stick on a wall. I mostly enjoy the hunt, tracking down the clues to the design that works, assembling them into the thing I presume must exist out there in the nebulous soup of imagined things. Once I have it, the hunt is over and I can start tracking another one. I really don't mind not owning my work, because I don't really take much sense in ownership of an event that's already past. The work itself is merely the record of the thought process.

    We shall not cease from exploration
    And the end of all our exploring
    Will be to arrive where we started
    And know the place for the first time.
    -T. S. Eliot

    ArenaNet Artists' Sketch Blog
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  12. #9
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    paperX - haha, nah it's cool. I thought a digital camera would work fine. I will start a sketchbook soon.

    M.C. Barret - Thank you. I've been noticing compositional scenes within the last few days. I was reaching for something on the spice shelf and looked down the hall, noticing that the composition wasn't too bad. I've yet to catch those little things though, but it will definitely happen.

    Wow, I really like that philosophy. It seems to fit in with the idea of a lack of care for 'credit' which I found after watching 300. Cheers!

    What do you think of the composition on my Shadow of the Colossus piece, and how do you think it compares to the second one, in terms of composition?

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