Since I was plannign to focus on master studies this month anyway, I figured I might as well give this assignment a try (if all goes well there will be a lot more than 20 of these eventually though)
1) Started with something relatively simple. I did notice that while the figure is centered, the opening of the curtain behind him is not - one of those rather obvious things that I probably wouldn't have thought of if I had been painting this.
2) Got in way over my head with this one. This is actually the second attempt, and it's not really finished ibecause I ran out of time, but hey I probably learned something. I found it really hard to focus on the larger shapes with so much going on, without messing up the relationships and placement of each... I wanted to figure out how to paint such a croded scene and have it make sense visually, but the only thing I really noticed is a diagonal movement of the main figures.
3) This one I like best, diagonally parted in a light and a dark half, and then the left side has a dark line on light ground, and the right side has a bright line in the dark - genius. I'm aware that mine got a bit too symmetrical.
4) This one was harder than I thought, don't really know why, it's a pretty straight-forward iconic composition?
5) Another crowd... I really like the contrast of light and shadow in this one, with the white smoke and the reflection in the puddles.
Uh, yeah. That's it for now. Gonna go and do the next ones... see ya!
Right, so here's the next five, went for a different format this time, but still all scenes focused on people (and this time all are pictures that caught my eye in the video). Landscapes next, because my landscapes suck.
6) The bright figure in his vision is the centre of the image, and the bright line connects her with the upper right corner, if continued it would meet the lower right corner and cut the painting in half.
7) The four heads are centered, forming a cross. The clothing folds and hands form another cross. The one thing that surprised me was the tangent that Jesus' arm creates with the edge of the painting, but all versions of the painting I could find online had this, so it does not seem to be a badly cropped copy. It does emphasize that he's being "probed" by them I guess?
8) I like the halo that the foam creates around the main guy's head.
9) I'm not entirely sure this composition works for me. First time I saw it I totally missed the dead Cesar until it was pointed out to me. Nearly forgot him again when drawing this study, that doesn't speak for it I guess? I don't know, lol.
10) It's pretty bright, other than the figures. Wouldn't have done this, but it works surprisingly well. Also lovely colours, doesn't belong here now, but I need to study those another time...
For the first stage of the study process these are really great. In order to better refine your drawing/painting process it would be great to see you spend another 10 mins on each one of these so that you push them just a little closer to the originals. overall you are getting the big shapes to read pretty well, but have some (like the doubting thomas) where the faces are in need of a bit of love yet. keep keeping a close eye on your value arrangements. good quick work here. -jm
Thanks. I only did them pretty rough on purpose, because I have a tendency to get hung up on some detail, and I wanted to get the most benefit from them as a composition exercise instead... but looking at the Doubting Thomas one I really stopped too early there, that one is rather lacking in clarity on the faces. I'll have to try to pay more attention on the next one that has large faces, but right now I have been working on landscapes:
First 5 landscapes, tall format. Probably unusual for landscapes. Anyway, the next 5 will be wide.
11) The forground is pretty dark, pretty much just a black frame, the middle ground is the most details and contains the action (tiny human figures that I didn't include in my study)
12) The dark shapes are reaching in from alternating sides of the painting, right, then left, until finally they reach the bridge, from the left again.
13) Again largely parted in two diagonally, dark at the bottom right, light at the top left.
14) The brightest parts encircle the mountain, then lead with the river towards the viewer (or from the viewer to the mountain with the cross)
15) Bright opening in the trees with view on some mountains, trees serve as a frame. Would again be worth studying the colours as well. The figure leaning against the tree is the darkest part, pretty much just a silhouette. And wow whoever said that "don't paint each single leave when you paint a tree" - Moran clearly didn't agree.
Keep an eye on your edges. This seems to be a theme tonight for crits. I am seeing folks get closer in values and shapes but edges are often ignored or glazed over, when that is really one of the most important parts to keep an eye on. Keep up the great work.
It's been a while, but here's more landscape studies, this time in a wide format (all Thomas Moran). Looking at them now I realise that my edges are still all fuzzy, while I was painting I thought I'd paid attention to them... I guess I'll need to use a harder brush there. As for the compositions themselves, I noticed that all of these are basically made up of triangular shapes...
These are a big improvement. Your values are about 95 percent there and while they could be closer you are on the right track. Look for the lightest lights and darkest darks and put those in, and then check your other values against them. That's all it comes down to I think. These look great though. Keep it up!!!
Your shapes are coming along very well. You will see a big jump in quality this next round if you put as much attention to your edges.
Be sure that you are keeping a close eye on your edges. Note where the sharpest sharpest sharps and softest soft edges are and use them as guideposts/landmarks for the rests of the edges in the image. Edges are important to space, form, and focal areas, so getting those in there will help the piece a lot. Once you do, you will see quality improve a lot.
One area that could use focus is on structure and form. You are doing great suggesting light direction. Really focus on suggesting planar changes and overall form shape and planar directions. The easiest way to do this is to make any planes that face the light source get the most light. As the planes slowly turn away from the light they get darker and darker. You have to look and reallllllly think about which direction the plane is facing and where the light source is coming from.
These are actually looking on point for where I want to see these shorter studies. Nice work. At this point I would most like to see some thoughts and analysis on the compositions you are looking so deeply into. Curious what you are seeing as related to the principles of design.
The improvement shown over the course of these studies is fantastic, I especially love the still life sets, they really show how your shapes, edges and tones have come on since the first round of studies.
I agree with Jason that you could push the lights and darks a bit harder, one of the best tricks I've found for judging how close to black or white a tone is is to put a splodge of pure white and black on a separate layer then move it so it intersects the highlight/shadow you're trying to replicate. Having something to reference it against really helps.
Again like Jason said would like to hear you're thoughts on the paintings you've chosen, if you can figure out why you like a painting and how it works you can try and replicate those aspects in your own work. Look forward to seeing your next set