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    Ambition > Drawing skillz

    Here I would like to share with you my newest adventure. Any kind of feedback is welcome but I would love to hear some opinions especially on the composition.

    This is "The Execution of Lady Jane Grey", and it started out as a really, really boring composition: http://imageshack.us/f/9/ladyjanegreywip2.jpg/
    So I decided it needed more drama and more people.

    ... and this is my new solution. Can I get away with it?

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    Hi matey

    yes its me again trying to help out, oh dear! LOL

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Pa..._Jane_Grey.jpg

    It's one from the national gallery by Paul Delaroche and is actually the Execution of Lady Jane Grey

    have a look at the composition in this one and compare it with yours, maybe it will point you in a good direction!?

    I hope so, all the best with the work and I shall help if and when I can

    A great kind hearted lumbering bullock



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    IS there a particular reason you want to do this vertically? Because a horizantal composition would seem more appropriate for this sort of multi-figure historical work. Also, Queen Jane, with the one raised knee, seems a little odd and overposed to me, and the sleeveless shift looks anachronistic, even for a condemned woman.


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    Thank you Lightship and Elwell! I know the Delaroche painting, and that's a reason I chose the vertical format. I'm afraid my work might resemble his painting too much if I use a horizontal composition, I want it to be distinctly different from Delaroche's. After all, I'm already heavily influenced by the 19th century painters ...

    The composition seems to work okay (please tell me if you think otherwise, if there are great blunders I'm still blind to them) Agree about her pose and the dress, will fix that! I'll also check the whole thing in grayscale; the value range can be improved.
    Perhaps I can find more little ways to add more drama and interest...

    This problem solving stage is my favorite stage

    Last edited by Maidith; September 5th, 2011 at 11:44 AM.
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    Nice work. The composition feels somewhat static, though, because every element here is either a strong horizontal or a strong vertical--no curves, no diagonals. (Compare with Rosso Fiorentino's Deposition (1521), attached below, where there are lots of diagonal elements to move the eye around.) The figures in your picture aren't interacting with one another (they're not even making eye contact), which feels a bit odd to me...everyone's off in their own private universe.

    Also, everything here except for Lady Jane Grey herself is in the midrange, value-wise, which makes the picture feel sort of flat. If it were me, I'd organize stronger figure/ground relationships between people (or groups of people) and the background architecture. Diagram attached below (and the Fiorentino may also be helpful in this regard.)





    Last edited by Giacomo; September 5th, 2011 at 02:28 PM.
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    Yesss! DIAGONALS! That's what I was looking for without realizing what I was looking for!
    Thank you Giacomo, that was a great help.

    I tried to break up some straight lines (cute little doggie!) and added diagonals (wooden beam, Jane Grey herself, gap between spectators)

    I want to show the moment where the executioner asks for forgiveness from the condemned, as it was customary in that time.

    Here's the current version. Has the allover wider value range made it more consistent and less flat? Or does it perhaps make the image chaotic? :


    The same with a "vignette". Effective device or too obvious?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Maidith View Post
    Has the allover wider value range made it more consistent and less flat? Or does it perhaps make the image chaotic?
    It still feels flat. The problem is that right now it is a complex, spatially deep composition and everything is the same value. For the image to read as 3D, each of the various elements needs to be substantially darker or lighter than the thing it's in front of or behind. That is a huge conceptual simplification (you can also indicate a figure/ground relationship with color, rather than value) but I hope it makes some sense--JPEG attached below. Hopefully you can see how even in that crude thumbnail, the spatial setup of the scene is immediately apparent.



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    Current version.
    Thank you Giacomo =) I think I'm beginning to understand. Do you think so too?



    Decided to draw her looking up because visible eyes add interest, and I noticed that no one else's eyes are actually visible here.
    Need.... sleep...

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    Ha! Great job...looks like a Caravaggio. Oh, and as far as being "static" well most of those old paintings were....so it fits and adds to the charm IMO.

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    If this was my piece, this is what I'd do. I'm a big fan of stretchy/swoony poses. Thinking of Waterhouse's Saint Eulalia, also many crucifiction scenes . White skin against dark background always makes for more interest/ contrast and was a trick used by Sargent, Waterhouse and Bougueareau. Also the priest's arm and hand in the background were gigantic compared to his body. Anyways, that's usually how those painters created diagonals -- using the bodies in the piece to lead the eye around. An outflung arm here, a leg there. I'm going to also have to second Elwell in saying that the vertical composition makes it sort of awkward and cramped. Dunno.

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    Thanks so much for the input (and for pointing out the priest's hand, I made it smaller here). I'm not using the swooning version though (sorry!) I think it makes the image harder to read. Viewers may think: "Why is she lying there dead? I thought she was gonna be beheaded?"

    You're right about the composition being a bit cramped or awkward. Anyway, I'm gonna finish it like this, there's no going back at this stage. I will use the horizontal format next time when needed, I promise.

    Next on the agenda: people in the foreground, straw.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maggietoh View Post
    Oh, and as far as being "static" well most of those old paintings were...
    Umm...
    Define "most."
    Define "old."
    Define "static."
    (Looks like it's time for somebody to hit the art history books.)


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    That's better, but it seems to me there needs to be more aggressive contrast between elements value-wise. The viewer's eye needs to move around. (JPEG attached.)

    Also, the gestures of the figures you've rendered so far feel a bit lacking in drama...I'm not really feeling much emotion from them. Jane Grey's expression right now looks like that of a teenage girl who doesn't want to take out the trash. If it were me, I'd rethink the poses on all five of the figures on the platform before diving into detailed rendering.



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    Just a few humble observations...Judging by the length of the priest's arm and what appears to be a belt there, he seems to have veeery short legs (or reeeally long legs and he's kneeling). The puppy seems out of place to me and the thing where she's supposed to place her head on seems a bit too low... I don't know if you've referenced it, it might just be that low, but I feel that it would be more comfortable and efficient for the executioner if the target was at least at knee height if not a bit higher.

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    I disagree with Giacomo; the darker background is better, it focuses the attention on Jane and the executioner, the priest and sad woman become the secondary interest. I like Rabecca's suggestion of moving the executioner forward and angling his sword more (plus it makes the sword bigger and more threatening). The priest has monkey arms.


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    the wooden beam going right through the executioner is creating a really bad tangent for me.

    also all figures seem to be cut out and pasted. not due to their rendering but their action... noone seems to be caring for whats happening and therefore nothings happening at all. they aint unified or oposing moodwise, just like passerbys, having a look yet not caring at all.

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    It does seem very cramped, perhaps you could drop the guard and move the axeman across (I'd go back to axeman)
    To many primaries IMO, decide where you want our focus to be.
    The priest and lady in waiting seem very short in the leg and the preist's arm is huge.

    If it were me I'd add widen the frame somewhat and alter some of the placements.

    hope it helps.
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    Edit -Well it got busy here while I was posting!

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    Jane Grey's expression right now looks like that of a teenage girl who doesn't want to take out the trash.
    Ah, but she was!
    Convinced until the end that she was condemned unjustly by a tyrant queen - this was a big deal at a time when it was customary for the condemned to always admit one's guilt. So she was a "rebel", and only 17-18 years old at the execution.

    I agree about lacking emotion, though. I hope to fix this by putting more emotion/drama/force/excitement in the spectator's gestures. I'll try to exaggerate this a bit, since we can't see their faces.

    I will fix the priest's proportions.

    The dark background I'll probably keep, like Delaroche, it seems to work.

    Will remove the tangent of the wooden beam too, or maybe move it away a bit.

    Venger, I really like the additional space in your sketch. I'll do that in my painting.
    Not sure about cutting off too much of the spectators, though. It could look strange, a row of heads.. ?

    Not sure either about the dog and sword/ax, we'll see.

    I'll probably keep the guard in the black Tudor uniform if I can get away with it, because I like how the figure turned out.

    Okay, that'll be today's agenda. Thanks so much for the input, it is really appreciated!

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    I think the neck/back of the executioner is alittle hard to read. In the original image in the first post it looks good, but now it feels wrong. It looks like the back is straight and seen mostly from behind, and then he has a really long neck. I tried doing a quick paint-over to illustrate how the back reads to me and then indicate how I would expect the head to sit on that back.

    Hope it's usefull

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    woah ... this piece has the potential to become my favorite painting of yours. the already rendered areas are very promising.
    I ve no additional advice in puncto composition but could not withstand to ask you of rethinking the executioners neck/ shoulder.

    Im looking forward to see the finished piece!

    allora .. stammi bene

    ps: is there the possibility that u do a knight on a horse next? or jean d'arc?

    Last edited by Farin; September 8th, 2011 at 09:21 AM. Reason: braintree was faster ... bad bad coffee break :)
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    Working on the folks.

    Thank you Braintree and Daniel

    ps: is there the possibility that u do a knight on a horse next? or jean d'arc?
    Next will be Queen Mary I Tudor, and then Elizabeth I - then my series "Tudor Queens" is finished
    After that, no idea. There's a long list of titles of paintings I want to make in my sketchbook. Joan of Arc's in there too Some day!

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    Done! Still open for critique and ready to change minor things. I'll sleep over it now.

    Thanks so much for the support everyone. Your help is a reason the painting looks the way it does now and I'm very happy with how it turned out. Couldn't have done it like this all by myself.



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    That guy in the background with the red tights is looking very...effeminate right now. The pose, I mean. Before it was a very classic old timey painting pose, but now it's weird. I'm not sure what changed...I think it's the fact that he's on one leg with his hip down and the knees turned inwards, it makes it look very timid.

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    I think you paint beautifully and this painting especially turned out really well. Someday I'm going to tackle multi-figure compositions myself, haha.
    Having said that, I think what's missing from this image are the shadows. The image looks a wee bit flatly lit, easily fixed though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RyerOrdStar View Post
    That guy in the background with the red tights is looking very...effeminate right now. The pose, I mean. Before it was a very classic old timey painting pose, but now it's weird. I'm not sure what changed...I think it's the fact that he's on one leg with his hip down and the knees turned inwards, it makes it look very timid.
    haha...I think it actually looks more like he's doing the pee pee dance.

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    hey good job so far , I dont like jane's expression it looks like shes aprehending a slap on the wrist, not death.

    and the problems with the guy in he red tights is that your contraposto is wrong, one leg should have the weight , while the other is straight . look at the hips as well http://artmodel.wordpress.com/2008/03/ .

    good luck !

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    Quote Originally Posted by joelle View Post
    and the problems with the guy in he red tights is that your contraposto is wrong, one leg should have the weight , while the other is straight .
    I don't think that's true since he's leaning on his stick or whatever it is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hummel1dane View Post
    I don't think that's true since he's leaning on his stick or whatever it is.
    Well, in the original sketch of him, one leg does look straighter than the other, whereas in the later images, both legs look bent at almost the same level.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hummel1dane View Post
    I don't think that's true since he's leaning on his stick or whatever it is.
    you will never bend 2 knees even if you are leaning on a stick.... you will ending up be squating and not just standing leaning on an object

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    good luck!!

    less is more, less is more, less is more... less is more!!!

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    Hey Maideth, stumbled onto this thread, but I love the classical approach to this. Keep it up, and keep refining to see where this piece goes next.

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