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This piece isn't completely finished but I want to submit it for consideration to the Expose 7 book and would like some constructive criticism and comments before that. Compositionally, is there anything that rubs you wrong? Any colors, edges or shapes you find distracting or not make sense? The sense of water and its volume, does it work? Any ideas that could help push it a little farther?
The direction should be pretty obvious but I'm wanting a classic look, not photorealistic but artistically realistic.
I've had the idea for this piece around for months and worked on it off and on over that time. The March 2 deadline for Expose 7 gave me the well needed boot to finish it. The characters are naiads, the fresh water sisters to nymphs. I wanted them young and beautiful but also give a subtle dark undertone. Unlike nymphs who were by and large altruistic creatures, naiads were just as likely to drown you as help you.
Thanks for looking, Cheers
firtsly... i think you did an awesome job so far. Im loving this. well on your way to achieve that artistic realism you want.
I know this is not complete yet, but the snake needs to be defined much better, rendering the slick reptile skin set off the naiad even better in my opinion .
omg fucking crazyness... looking really nice!!!
uuuh some stuff though...the front girl are her legs leading under the body of the maincharacter?
are those tentacles or are those snakes? think those are snakes though, give the skin a bit more texture to it
the background character at the top right side (if it's a female) looks like a male, not that she's ugly (if it's a she) just looking like a male, if it is leave it as it is
water works good, could needs some refection though... just some sublte refections but only around the place where the maincharacter, i'd concider the rest as beeing less effected by ligh, therefore has less refection
...maybe you've noticed those awesome lightstrokes ceated by water on your skin while doing whatever in whater.. ad some to their skin... but don't overdo it..you don't wanna lose your traitional painting kinda style
her breast seems a bit flat (on our right)
the girl infront (again) the way the water angles her neck looks quite off compare it to her shoulder
maan she's a real beauty 0o
who are you anyway...no blog no sketchbook no pagelink nothing
how dare you post awesome stuff not letting us know who you are
hope my crit makes sence though
Last edited by Adrian Wilkins; February 23rd, 2009 at 08:27 PM.
If it were me, I'd blur or darken the other naiads' faces—they're just too distracting— and I'd also blur or smudge some of the underwater parts to give it a more dreamlike feel. Also, if you want to get it in the book you might want to really render the hell out of the woman's exposed flesh—right now that feels a bit sketchy. Also maybe punch up the highlights to 100% white to make the surface feel more wet. Just my two cents.
the idea of giacomo is really not bad, but i wouldn't smudge the faces... if you could manage to give it a dreamy feeling, fine if not then just stick to your guns, it's awesome as it is
My brain was going numb after several late nights working on this and these were just the kind of comments and insights I was hoping for. MANY, MANY THANKS.
Pitin - Good point, the serpent texture could be really accentuated to contrast against the other textures. I'll find some references on how their scales highlight.
Hygami - I'm glad you like it. Yeah, the girl's legs are going back under the main character. I drew out the figure to make sure it would work but it still looks a bit odd I think. The upper right character is supposed to be female but you are right, she has a pretty male look to her. I'll feminize her a little more. I was debating about the water reflection idea but it could work if I just keep it around the main characters and especially in the middle. I'll find some refs of wet skin and shine them up. You could be right about the bottom girl, the water line might not be that low on her neck. Have to think about that.
My apologies, I didn't introduce myself Clint Cearley, you can check out my main gallery over at Deviant Art [link]. I've been visiting here for years but never do much. I am going to the Reverie workshop in Dallas, you going?
Giacomo - excellent thoughts. Don't know about blurring the faces but darkening them could be beneficial as well as some well placed smudges in the water. Yeah, refining the skin and adding wet highlights could boost the visuals. Thanks
hehe... you don't know how I'd love to come over to you guys to america for the sake of art.. but it's a looong way from germany D: ...well gonna spam your DA comments board now
That's gorgeous! Reminds me of Waterhouse's Naiads...
I wouldn't blur the other nymphs because they are so beautiful and well done. If anything, I think they look more realistic and natural than the middle one. She's great, don't get me wrong, but there is something weird about her.
I think it is partly because her hair is so light: Usually, even light blond hair is darker when wet (like a dark gold or copper colour). And her eyes are blacked out while the other naiads' eyes have well defined pupils so she looks a bit alien-like.
Also, although there is a strong light on her, the water around her has no highlights. If she (and the snake) is moving slightly, there should be some small ripples around her and they would reflect the bright light.
Aside from that, I am astonished.
how can you make the serpent something special? The girls are good, interesting, but how can you take the story, the narrative. If you can do this, the entire piece elevates to anther level of mystery and spirit, without it there is still a so what, seen it before. It's tricky, like making the unseen world seen. Look into Joseph Campbell, Carl Jung, global shamanism and mythology for some ideas, you'll know it when you see it!
all the best
I want a print of this.
About the main naiad: where her leg exits the water is a little strange, the level and angle of the water there doesn't seem to concur with the rest of the exit points. Also, I would say that a little rippling in the water would be helpful to show their positions and their relation to the water in some parts, but over all this has a very still and sinking feeling to it that adds to the mystery of the moment. I like how the water is a little unnaturally still.
poet - firstly this's a very nice image, composed well, very rhythmic, and your color choices work together nicely. the only crits i'd give you are as follows
1. all the above water aspects should be sharpened up, esp your central figure, i would also punch up the contrast [read: shadows on hair and face] on her at bit as well just to really make her pop out and that hair GLOW.
2. you've got the beginnings of some texture on those tentacle arms, i would just ramp that up a few levels to differentiate it from the skin of your naiads.
3. your lily pads could use some TLC, as they're going to be above or at least partially above water i'd just sharpen them up and give them a bit of texture.
4. probably my biggest crit with the image would be the water. your treatment of the color above and below is gorgeous, BUT, there is no displacement of the forms below or no ripples. i'm not suggesting you go photo-real here, but a few ripples and highlights on the surface would not only naturalize the image more, but used compositionally, you could create some lines/forms that really direct the eye around the image. the tentacles are working in that aspect right now, but i think some ripples'd drive it home.
also, i'm sure you're doing this, but be looking at Bouguereau, and Giambattista Tiepolo. i think this painting falls in vein with those two (esp. Bouguereau) and B's treatment of water and immaculate skin would work nicely in this image.
i look foreward to seeing the finished piece, i'm sure it'll be a knockout.
I love the piece.. apart from what it is already said.. the only thing that bothers me is the main naiade's head.. looks a bit wonky on the back for me.. but it's just my opinion
気計 - Quike
"Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.."
The Spaniard's Sketchbook... No holds barred
I like it. Very Waterhousian, and I like the snakey bits. I wouldn't blur out or darken the other faces, the tonal and detail balance seems about right to my mind.
There is not much I can add. The image is pretty wonderful. I hope you don't have your head buzzing from the comments, as the deadline is approaching ;-)
Two small things- the girl to the left: her face seem a tiny bit distorted, there is something wrong with the part beside the right eye (seen from viewer).
The head of the middle girl looks a little bit distorted on the upper right too. And you could use the hair of the middle girl tomale the whole thing look more "floatsy" , I think hair in water meanders more (I went swimming today). Just small things really.
For what it's worth: I recently came by this amazing painting by some guy called Levitan.
Last edited by Uli; February 24th, 2009 at 04:06 PM.
Thank you all for your comments, I've read and considered each one.
Yes, Waterhouse has long been one of my favorite artists and his Nymphs painting was (along with others) an inspiration in this piece.
As Nicktrip mentioned the waterline wasn't accurate on the leg so I adjusted that and in other places too, so hopefully it's more believable now. Nicktrip, Movenski, Sekino all thought some water highlights and distortions could be helpful and I concur. I spent most of the time handling this and it a delicate matter. It's easy to go to far with highlights and I want to keep the water pretty still so there needs to be just enough distortion to sell the effect without losing what's underwater. Along with what Movenski and Quikenobi said I additionally increased a glow around her head, added brighter scale texture to the serpent, refined the lilypads, and adjusted the shape of the back of her head.
I've tried numerous things about pushing the contrast of the main character, giving her wet highlights and making the hair darker as blonde hair has a tendency to do but it kept moving me away from where I feel it should go. The character is already unnaturally pale and to add white highlights visually just breaks up area unless the skin is darker so the contrast is higher between the skin and highlight. When doing this she becomes to close to being a modern wet suntanned model. It was my purpose that she would have super blonde hair and perhaps not behave like normal by becoming darker by being wet. I also went in and detailed up the face more but on viewing the whole it looked not unlike a photo pasted into a painting. I think the face needs to remain painterly for the image to work.
So what do you guys say, am I using artistic license to the detriment of the image?
Have I taken some of the changes too far or not far enough? Is there something that you still find nagging? Cheers
Whoa, the iridescent scales on the snake really add a lot! It looks very natural. The reflections are great and you did well to not add too much. I agree that you need to stick to your original vision for the main character.
Overall, this is absolutely gorgeous
top notch water
Really lovely and quite enticing, with a great sinister edge. I'd have it on the wall if it was a painting... I wouldn't make any drastic changes as it looks pretty well perfect. The brown haired one on the end has a slightly fuzzy shoulder, and the central one's chin could perhaps use just a tiny bit more definition. You could see what she looks like with redder, vampier lips, but it might not work. I love the colouration, over all. The pale, almost luminous hair and flesh work very well. I think it's wonderful.
The blond character's eyes look wonderfully supernatural while the other characters have regular human eyes. Does that have something to do with the mythology?
The face of the character in the upper right corner seems slightly large slightly severe, and modern looking compared to the other delicate, feminine romanticized faces (in my opinion)
That's the only thing that really bothers me in the entire piece, the face in the upper right corner. I'd probably make her face smaller and possibly smooth her out? She looks like she's about 7 years older than the other girls
Ah, the eyes too. I would keep them all the same throughout the characters.