ALCHEMY stilllife

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  1. #1
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    Cool ALCHEMY stilllife

    ALCHEMY stilllife.

    I don't have good props. But this is the best props I could find around for my still-life study.

    26X26 Oil/Linen One week of work.

    Started and finished this stilllife in 3 weekends.
    Still-life with alchemy charts.

    First thing is the concept.
    [img]ALCHEMY stilllife
    ALCHEMY stilllife[/img]

    Second is composition and structure.
    [img]ALCHEMY stilllife
    [/img]

    Then the under-painting.
    [img]ALCHEMY stilllife
    [/img]

    Then building form.
    [img]ALCHEMY stilllife
    [/img]

    Then unifying everything
    [img]ALCHEMY stilllife
    [/img]


    Then finish with details.
    [img]ALCHEMY stilllife
    [/img]

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    Last edited by Cuchulain; January 21st, 2008 at 07:59 AM.
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  4. #2
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    Mad props to you for this painting!

    Now, if I can only gather the balls to start my oil still life...

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    That's a really great effort! I've never really tried painting with oil paints before, perhaps once a long time ago! You obviously have some nice traditional art skills, lucky you!

    I like the way you've rendered the metallic surface, and also the patterned cloth. I cant really crit this, as I'm not an oil artist myself but from what I can see it looks lovely!

    So, good job!

    C

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    Hmm... admirable effort here. Good drawing skills.

    The composition is a bit problematic. The lamp is a dead-center bullseye and its making the composition static. There's a few other objects and lines that appear on the middle vertical down the center of the canvas which continue the distraction. I don't know if you did that on purpose, but in my opinion, it makes a disjointed composition.

    The graphic design of the composition further emphasizes the static (stable triangle shapes, stable circles and ellipses...)

    I've diagrammed your composition to demonstrate what I am trying to say...

    The yellow arrows and the violet lines represent the only interesting thrust-counterthrust pairs in the piece and they are small and insignificant compared to the great mass of balanced material in the center of the composition.

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    At least Icarus tried!


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    Thank you for your enthusiastic efforts, however I know what I'm doing.

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    I accept your gratitude for my efforts to assist you. You're welcome!! I hope it helped!!

    Last edited by kev ferrara; January 22nd, 2008 at 10:49 AM.
    At least Icarus tried!


    My Process: Dead Rider Graphic Novel (Dark Horse Comics) plus oil paintings, pencils and other goodies:
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  11. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cuchulain View Post
    Thank you for your enthusiastic efforts, however I know what I'm doing.
    cocky...
    But you know what, what he said was a valid critique, if you don't wanna hear it then maybe this was the wrong section for you. You probably didn't see this one.

    [
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    kev ferrara - thanks man, you did help.

    Taj - give crit on the work, NOT on the person.
    kev ferrara did post helpful comments, however I spent 2 days mapping everything out, before painting, just the way I need it. So everything is composed purposefully.

    After looking at kev ferrara's work I respect him and his professional oppinion, I can't say that about your work or your opinion.

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    Cuchulain, your last post was in bad form. I think you're going to make a lot of fast enemies around here if you continue to take that attitude. Possibly you don't care. But you'll end up posting on ca to dead silence and you will have brought it on yourself.

    I am interested in why you chose to make a static composition on this piece. What are you trying to accomplish compositionally? Are you using some compositional formula that you think is more important than aesthetic dynamism?

    At least Icarus tried!


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    well i like the piece is ...it's well done in a lot a ways...

    and also i'm agree to ferrara cause i already saw his work and is very compositive...

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    Cuchulain, your last post was in bad form. I think you're going to make a lot of fast enemies around here if you continue to take that attitude. Possibly you don't care. But you'll end up posting on ca to dead silence and you will have brought it on yourself.
    First of all. I'm sorry.
    People must not be offended, because I'm not discussing their persona. But talking about their work only.
    All I'm saying is that I respect opinion of somebody who's work is high level more than anybody else. There was no offense in that.

    I am interested in why you chose to make a static composition on this piece. What are you trying to accomplish compositionally? Are you using some compositional formula that you think is more important than aesthetic dynamism?
    The only static line in the paintings is vertical line of cloth edge that comes down into the glass bowl.
    First of all still-life doesn't have to be dynamic, it is not important.
    Dynamic composition is important, but dynamics MUST have a purpose first, in order to use them freely.

    It is just a still life study where I'm practicing to paint. That is why I choose a clasical triangular composition where all objects and lines point to main object with a brightest high lights. Also, the point of a still-lifes, other than practice, is to stop time. Also, the Alchemy is a ancient science that was abandoned long time ago, left in a static halt. With those two concepts in mind, I choose that composition.

    There is a table plane as a step into the painting, but it is NOT static, because table line is diagonal. There is rhythm, because there are secondary triangular forms that are balanced on both sides but not on same plane. There is a flow of fabric into paper and to main subject.

    Thank you for your time, and comments.

    Last edited by Cuchulain; January 23rd, 2008 at 02:43 AM.
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  16. #12
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    On your apology: Art is personal. This is something I have come to understand. Because Art acts as a surrogate self. So when you attack someone's art, you attack their person, and vice versa. So, above all, criticism and judgment of Art must be humane and considerate. To an artist, to say, "I don't respect your art" is to say "I don't respect you."

    Regarding your explanation of your composition... your compositional craft is well in evidence in this picture. I see the delicate balance between the minor elements.

    You say, " the only static line is the vertical line that comes down to the glass bowl"... but static lines are only one of many causes of compositional stasis. Static graphics and static depth are also problems.

    I have noticed on many of your pieces that a gestalt graphic design sense is lacking.... that is, you seem to enjoy composing from the specific to the general, as if you are setting up a menagerie. This results in "collections of stuff" well arranged rather than a wholistic image that has resonance and impact. I would say, concentrate on pre-visualizing your image in your mind, rather than setting the elements out before you and "arranging" them pleasantly. Read about Frazetta and Coll.... they spent far more time with their eyes closed imagining their works than they did creating them.

    Strong readable graphic design is the hallmark of modern design. To ignore it is to relinquish important weaponry in your lifelong art battle.

    Lastly, in terms of static depth, your pictures often demonstrate a "proscenium" type layout. Flat foreground leading to a staged middleground ( where your main elements are), then a flat background, like an old time theater set. Again, this is rejecting many of the exciting innovations that have come from the modern era, most particularly the dynamism of tri-axial space.

    For instance, your horizontals often leave the picture plane in the lower half of the canvas. Your thrusts often move from lower foreground to middle mid ground... that is you often thrust into the space of your picture, (classical) but you don't counter-thrust out of it. (modern)... so in that regard, your pictures are often out of balance. Thrusts in tri-axial space are just as important to balance as thrusts of surface line.

    Anyway, I wish you good luck. You have a lot of talent.

    kev

    At least Icarus tried!


    My Process: Dead Rider Graphic Novel (Dark Horse Comics) plus oil paintings, pencils and other goodies:
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cuchulain View Post
    kev ferrara - thanks man, you did help.

    Taj - give crit on the work, NOT on the person.
    kev ferrara did post helpful comments, however I spent 2 days mapping everything out, before painting, just the way I need it. So everything is composed purposefully.

    After looking at kev ferrara's work I respect him and his professional oppinion, I can't say that about your work or your opinion.
    What's the point on anyone critiquing your work if all you're gonna say is "i know what im doing", therefore the only thing remaining to critique is your attitude.

    also lol get off your high horse, the only thing you have that i don't is time to practice.

    [
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    Quote Originally Posted by kev ferrara View Post
    On your apology: Art is personal. This is something I have come to understand. Because Art acts as a surrogate self. So when you attack someone's art, you attack their person, and vice versa. So, above all, criticism and judgment of Art must be humane and considerate. To an artist, to say, "I don't respect your art" is to say "I don't respect you."

    Regarding your explanation of your composition... your compositional craft is well in evidence in this picture. I see the delicate balance between the minor elements.

    You say, " the only static line is the vertical line that comes down to the glass bowl"... but static lines are only one of many causes of compositional stasis. Static graphics and static depth are also problems.
    The point of the still-life IS frozen time, in static scene.
    Quote Originally Posted by kev ferrara View Post
    I have noticed on many of your pieces that a gestalt graphic design sense is lacking.... that is, you seem to enjoy composing from the specific to the general, as if you are setting up a menagerie. This results in "collections of stuff" well arranged rather than a wholistic image that has resonance and impact. I would say, concentrate on pre-visualizing your image in your mind, rather than setting the elements out before you and "arranging" them pleasantly. Read about Frazetta and Coll.... they spent far more time with their eyes closed imagining their works than they did creating them.
    Frezetta's work are illustration, and it is NOT something that I'm doing.
    Quote Originally Posted by kev ferrara View Post
    Strong readable graphic design is the hallmark of modern design. To ignore it is to relinquish important weaponry in your lifelong art battle.

    Lastly, in terms of static depth, your pictures often demonstrate a "proscenium" type layout. Flat foreground leading to a staged middleground ( where your main elements are), then a flat background, like an old time theater set. Again, this is rejecting many of the exciting innovations that have come from the modern era, most particularly the dynamism of tri-axial space.

    For instance, your horizontals often leave the picture plane in the lower half of the canvas. Your thrusts often move from lower foreground to middle mid ground... that is you often thrust into the space of your picture, (classical) but you don't counter-thrust out of it. (modern)... so in that regard, your pictures are often out of balance. Thrusts in tri-axial space are just as important to balance as thrusts of surface line.

    Anyway, I wish you good luck. You have a lot of talent.

    kev
    This may be a modern technique, BUT, judging by your work, it is also Illustrational, just like frezzeta.

    And I'm an FineArt Painter, not an illustrator.
    The rules for concept and composition in fine art and illustration are very different.

    So my main problem is that I was too classical. Thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Taj View Post
    What's the point on anyone critiquing your work if all you're gonna say is "i know what im doing", therefore the only thing remaining to critique is your attitude.

    also lol get off your high horse, the only thing you have that i don't is time to practice.
    We talked about the composition, and I said: that I know what he is talking about, and that is why I know why I did what I did.

    About the time, man... I go to academy of art in SF 5 days a week, 8 hours a day. Doing still-lifes like that on the side, working on two big projects with my friends, and going to other city on weekends to work with my dad.
    All I'm saying is if you WANT to find time you can find it without problem.


    Quote Originally Posted by kev ferrara View Post
    On your apology: Art is personal. This is something I have come to understand. Because Art acts as a surrogate self. So when you attack someone's art, you attack their person, and vice versa. So, above all, criticism and judgment of Art must be humane and considerate. To an artist, to say, "I don't respect your art" is to say "I don't respect you."
    Ha, sorry man, don't agree with you.

    If someone would say to me - your work looks like shit - and explained why it dose, then I have no problem, and nobody should ether.

    If someone would say that without explaining, then that would be rude.

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    The point of a still life may be "frozen time" but it is not necessary that it be so for all still lives. That piece of dogma is limiting your thinking.

    The rules for "fine art" and "illustration" differ minimally. The artist is still directing the eye via tensions and is still delivering a work of design.

    To be classical is not to be static, but to be in balance. There's a difference. And although "graphic design" per se is considered "modern", Vermeer and Rembrandt, for instance, were experts at Graphics and it showed in their compositions, which please modern audiences as well as "classical" ones.

    And, finally, telling someone their art "looks like shit" is *always* rude. Get that through your thick fucking skull!!!



    At least Icarus tried!


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    Quote Originally Posted by kev ferrara View Post
    The point of a still life may be "frozen time" but it is not necessary that it be so for all still lives. That piece of dogma is limiting your thinking.
    Please look at your own thinking limitations. And still-life is called STILL - life meaning Frozen time - static.

    Quote Originally Posted by kev ferrara View Post
    The rules for "fine art" and "illustration" differ minimally. The artist is still directing the eye via tensions and is still delivering a work of design.
    One of the rules for illustration is that the image must tell the story.
    In Fine art, the image must evoke emotion and inspire the viewer's feelings (when the painting has too much story telling in it, it becomes an illustration or a weak painting.)


    Two very different things.

    Quote Originally Posted by kev ferrara View Post
    To be classical is not to be static, but to be in balance. There's a difference. And although "graphic design" per se is considered "modern", Vermeer and Rembrandt, for instance, were experts at Graphics and it showed in their compositions, which please modern audiences as well as "classical" ones.
    It is the ancient Greeks and Romans who are masters of "graphic design".
    More than Vermeer or Rembrandt.
    Those two people where true artists. Painting the world around them through their own eyes. They didn't invent new compositions. Because Rembrandt painted classical portraits all his life until his eyes couldn't see, and Vermeer got his cellar light compositions from Caravaggio's paintings.

    Quote Originally Posted by kev ferrara View Post
    And, finally, telling someone their art "looks like shit" is *always* rude. Get that through your thick fucking skull!!!
    Calm down man, sorry again.

    Why are you forcing me to believe your opinions?
    That is your idea and that is good, I got my own.

    You know what, that piece of dogma is limiting your thinking.

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  21. #17
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    Nice try. But you're just flailing about now like a child who doesn't want to eat his broccoli.

    I'm trying to broaden your thinking and you still want to pretend you know everything. Free up your mind. Its holding you back.

    Just because objects are still, does not mean a painting of them are *about* "stillness". This is a simple, obvious point.

    You write that "in fine art the image must evoke emotion and inspire the viewer's feelings".... Really? So illustration doesn't do that? Have you seen N.C. Wyeth's work? Have you read Howard Pyle's and Harvey Dunn's lecture notes on illustration? Furthermore, why must all fine art evoke emotion and inspire the viewer's feelings? Where did you get this rule?

    As far as "Graphic Design" I was speaking in the context of realistic paintings having graphic underpinnings. I realize that many greek and romans artists were masterful at design, but I can't fathom your point relating to that fact. Then you write something kooky about somebody "not inventing their own compositions"... hard to know what you are talking about. But if you're looking to put down Vermeer and Rembrandt as a way of deflecting criticism from your own compositions, you've both failed and wasted your time.

    As far as calming down, I was being funny in that last line. Not understanding what constitutes rude behavior is going to hurt you in the long run. I thought maybe I could get through to you on that point by being rude in return. I guess it didn't work.

    Best
    kev

    At least Icarus tried!


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    Quote Originally Posted by kev ferrara View Post
    Nice try. But you're just flailing about now like a child who doesn't want to eat his broccoli.

    I'm trying to broaden your thinking and you still want to pretend you know everything. Free up your mind. Its holding you back.

    Just because objects are still, does not mean a painting of them are *about* "stillness". This is a simple, obvious point.

    You write that "in fine art the image must evoke emotion and inspire the viewer's feelings".... Really? So illustration doesn't do that? Have you seen N.C. Wyeth's work? Have you read Howard Pyle's and Harvey Dunn's lecture notes on illustration? Furthermore, why must all fine art evoke emotion and inspire the viewer's feelings? Where did you get this rule?

    As far as "Graphic Design" I was speaking in the context of realistic paintings having graphic underpinnings. I realize that many greek and romans artists were masterful at design, but I can't fathom your point relating to that fact. Then you write something kooky about somebody "not inventing their own compositions"... hard to know what you are talking about. But if you're looking to put down Vermeer and Rembrandt as a way of deflecting criticism from your own compositions, you've both failed and wasted your time.

    As far as calming down, I was being funny in that last line. Not understanding what constitutes rude behavior is going to hurt you in the long run. I thought maybe I could get through to you on that point by being rude in return. I guess it didn't work.

    Best
    kev
    Thank you for your tenacious attempts to convert me to your believes.
    It is funny to read your awesome artistic knowledges.

    I don't know you, so putting a smiley face next to a FUCKyou doesn't make it funny.

    For my real paintings I will consider your curvaceous wordage and improve my work. thank you for your time.

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    Shields up. Dogma intact.

    Take care, tough guy.

    At least Icarus tried!


    My Process: Dead Rider Graphic Novel (Dark Horse Comics) plus oil paintings, pencils and other goodies:
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    did u just say illustrations are weak paintings???
    GRRRRRRRRR

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cuchulain View Post

    One of the rules for illustration is that the image must tell the story.
    In Fine art, the image must evoke emotion and inspire the viewer's feelings (when the painting has too much story telling in it, it becomes an illustration or a weak painting.)

    It is the ancient Greeks and Romans who are masters of "graphic design".
    More than Vermeer or Rembrandt.
    Those two people where true artists. Painting the world around them through their own eyes. They didn't invent new compositions. Because Rembrandt painted classical portraits all his life until his eyes couldn't see, and Vermeer got his cellar light compositions from Caravaggio's paintings.
    but aside from the portraiture a large body of rembrandt's (as in much of his contemporaries, rubens, van dyck, ribera, rosa ) are biblical 'Illustrations'. does the fact that they are created to tell a specific story negate their powerful and emotive feel, their function as 'paintings'?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barts View Post
    did u just say illustrations are weak paintings???
    GRRRRRRRRR
    No.

    illustration and fine art are both elite categories, just with different goals.

    For example.
    This is a VERY VERY POWERFUL PAINTING by I.V. Repin (bad photo)
    Unexpected Return. 1884. Oil on canvas. The Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia.
    (the painting doesn't have crazy dynamic compositions, it doesn't have fancy details, but we can almost see her hand shake, and feel the frozen moment as the mother looks up at her returning son from the prison-who everybody thought to be dead-) The painting relates to Russian history, the sufferings of people, and artist's own ideas. Real people have lived through death and sorrow, and the painting shows that brilliantly.

    That is the FIne Art
    [IMG]ALCHEMY stilllife[/IMG]


    For example.

    These are two VERY good illustrations. by Frank Frazetta

    They tell the story. Everything is done with same amount of detail and rendered good everywhere.

    [IMG]ALCHEMY stilllife[/IMG]
    [IMG]ALCHEMY stilllife[/IMG]

    Hope you see that there is difference in goals, not in which is better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrgrumble View Post
    but aside from the portraiture a large body of rembrandt's (as in much of his contemporaries, rubens, van dyck, ribera, rosa ) are biblical 'Illustrations'. does the fact that they are created to tell a specific story negate their powerful and emotive feel, their function as 'paintings'?
    No, because Michelangelo did illustrate a bible story with "David", but he put his own artistic thought into it. People of Florance where inspired and moved by the sculpture.
    However, it is said that Rodin was the first sculptor who removed the illustration away from the sculpture!

    Powerful and emotive feel was evoked by craftsmanship alone. The main purpose was to illustrate bible images for people who couldn't read, so artistic concepts where secondary because these are COMMISSION works.
    Caravaggio pushed the limits where he painted his concept how he wanted.

    By the great craftsmanship people could feel the figures on frescoes and paintings come alive.

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  28. #24
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    Also, Carl Heinrich Bloch is a master painter.
    Go here to see his works
    http://www.art.com/asp/display_artis...CTID=736578651

    Even though the paintings are done beautifully they are illustrational.

    In the paintings there is no reference to today's world, I can't see the artist's personal voice, and every detail of the story is portrayed to us - not much to think or imagine further.

    That is not bad. On contrary it is perfect. Because the artist is illustrating the stories from the bible.


    [IMG]ALCHEMY stilllife[/IMG]

    Last edited by Cuchulain; January 27th, 2008 at 02:36 AM.
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  29. #25
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    Below is all just humble opinion on technical matters. The composition discussion got me thinking. So thanks you guys.

    This thread's image composition is actually very much like advertising illustration's. One of the hallmarks of commercial composition is the hyper focus to the main element..which is often centralized for added umpf on the mind of the consumer.

    This composition struggles to convince partially because central object is so visually bulls-eyed, and there are little overlaps of shape, the viewer is not articulately meandered through space and to your other symbolic props. If you want the viewer to spend more time in the painting and lead their eye through your symbolic meaning, there are still some challenges ahead in future compositions, which were not solved here.

    Because the central objects edge play is not well balanced (soft to sharp as you create focal areas within "tri-axial" space as the eye actually sees), there are a number of issues of flattening happening. I am speaking of edge play throughout the composition when you look at the entire image at the same time. The big edge games... The space does not read well because you have not solved these challenges.

    Had you composed your image with perhaps stronger or more interesting overlaps in the setup (rather than just the one spacially fragile flap over the leg of the primary prop), you could have solved some of the edge problems with just pictorial structure. As it stands it looks like you have edges that need to be re-composed...or have yet to be fully composed since overlap was played down so much. Value and color shifts could offset edge issues as well.

    As far as putting the object in the middle...I understand...that is your own choice. If you are going to pull something like that off, you are going to need to solve some of the focal edge games I mentioned. You will also need stronger weights to help lead the viewer around, keeping them in the painting. As it stands, your central prop is very heavy..so much so that the rest of your image may go un-noticed as you lose the viewer. Balance is particularly important in classical composition, as I am sure you are well aware. Right now your painting just isn't popping and holding visually in space, nor is it leading the eye into and out of space well (the thrusts mentioned previously).

    The easiest trick to get past balance issues in your image would be to move the central object. However, there are other solutions to that which could keep the placement of your primary prop the same. Adequate time composing figure-field and abstract "tonal pattern" can be used to do that as well...and color composition. The latter could use more study as there are challenges with color circulation and color for narrative that are currently not solved. The clear gut reaction is to try to move the central prop. I can understand why that comment was made. Perhaps the solutions can run deeper than that.

    The skill to do what you have done is respected and appreciated around here. I imagine your skin is thick enough to hang with this crowd. Don't expect agreements on everything around here.



    Jason

    Last edited by Jason Manley; January 27th, 2008 at 03:15 AM.
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  30. #26
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    Thank you for getting this composition talk going. The diagram was the right addition to the discussion too. CA can take a bit of getting used to for the new members sometimes

    There are lots of opinions around here, that is for sure.


    Quote Originally Posted by kev ferrara View Post
    Hmm... admirable effort here. Good drawing skills.

    The composition is a bit problematic. The lamp is a dead-center bullseye and its making the composition static. There's a few other objects and lines that appear on the middle vertical down the center of the canvas which continue the distraction. I don't know if you did that on purpose, but in my opinion, it makes a disjointed composition.

    The graphic design of the composition further emphasizes the static (stable triangle shapes, stable circles and ellipses...)

    I've diagrammed your composition to demonstrate what I am trying to say...

    The yellow arrows and the violet lines represent the only interesting thrust-counterthrust pairs in the piece and they are small and insignificant compared to the great mass of balanced material in the center of the composition.


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  31. #27
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    that painting you just posted comes closer to solving some of the things you are leaving undone in your composition (mentioned above). Balance being one of them.


    Quote Originally Posted by Cuchulain View Post
    Also, Carl Heinrich Bloch is a master painter.
    Go here to see his works
    http://www.art.com/asp/display_artis...CTID=736578651

    Even though the paintings are done beautifully they are illustrational.

    In the paintings there is no reference to today's world, I can't see the artist's personal voice, and every detail of the story is portrayed to us - not much to think or imagine further.

    That is not bad. On contrary it is perfect. Because the artist is illustrating the stories from the bible.


    [IMG]ALCHEMY stilllife[/IMG]


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  32. #28
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    I think what everyone has been saying here is essentially right. But something else occured to me:
    When looking at composition we can think of it as falling into what can be imagined as 'modeling conception' on one hand and 'carving conception' in the other. Modeling conception is an additive, building up of forms. Carving conception is an 'uncovering', a taking away to reveal the forms.
    Problems arrive when a modeling conception is used to try and produce a composition that would be the natural outcome of carving.
    Below are some extremely 'static' compositions but are alive and 'hum' with presence because they are concieved by a carving state of mind.
    .
    Name:  aaaaamorandi.jpg
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    Name:  aaaaa39999-Chardin_Water_Glass_and_Jug.jpg
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    Name:  aaaoa046nicholsoned480j30.jpg
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    Name:  aaaa6989~Two-Pears-1990-Posters.jpg
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    Last edited by Chris Bennett; January 27th, 2008 at 08:13 AM.
    From Gegarin's point of view
    http://www.chrisbennettartist.co.uk/
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  33. #29
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    Nice painting, but if your avatar is any indication of your habitual persona then you better put that bottle down.

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    I loved reading all this talk about composition. I feel like I learned a couple things.

    As far as your work, I like it. I like the composition too, although I think it might be stronger if it had been cropped in closer. The only thing that kinda bugs me is the bottle on the right side. It seems tilted oddly, as though it were on a different plane.

    nice work though. Those details must have taken a ton of patience.

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