here are my first composition-studies. I´ve mainly choosen pieces done by Hudson-River-School painters because I simply admire them.
1. In my opinion, this is quite an unusual composition for a landscape. The first principle that came to my mind, was that of continuity or movement. It´s almost like you get sucked into the tunnel that is formed by the clouds and mountains. Also the groups of trees are important rythmic elements which also help showing size-relationships.
2. Also painted by albert bierstadt. While looking at both of these paintings I think that he used quite a lot of contrast and still gets an incredible amount of depth. Hope this makes sense, but I still struggle with the english language. I mean, normally it´s like, the darkest tones belong to the foreground, then some lighter tones for the middleground a.s.o. but with those two paintings it´s nicely mixed up and still reads well. Again, the rythmic principle is visible through the trees and clouds and also the stones in the foreground. Variety is mainly given through soft clouds and hard rocks, those two seem to compete against each other.
3. This painting is by Frederic Edwin Church, another painter of the Hudson-River-School. This is a good example for what I´ve meant with the receding planes getting ligther and lighter. In this piece the clouds almost seem like another instance of the mountains regarding their shape and placement. There is repetition in shapes mainly in the trees and rock-formations. It´s interessting how the eye travels between hut, middleground mountain and the man standing in the boat. I think that I´ve heard this somewhere before, that especially landscape painters used this circular movement to keep the viewers eye in the painting.
Okay, that´s it for now. Will upload again soon...
These are excellent so far. I think that you are mostly missing a pass on your edges, to crisp up the sharpest edges and soften down the softest edges. Watch for that at the end...once you go through that pass the image will pop.
So here are another two landscapes. The first one is from Repin and the second is from a guy called Ruisdael. The principle of variety is visible in both through their use of putting light against dark again and again. Again, as in the first three paintings there are various elements like the sky, trees, water etc...
I think the ruisdael painting is about the sky, because it takes about two thirds of the image and the contrasts are more pronounced than in the landmass. He unifies them both through the water on the right, without this brighter piece there would be two separate parts.
The repin painting is also a good example for rythmic placement of objects. Especially visible on how he arranged the trees.Again it´s dark, light, dark, light aso. The clouds follow the movement of the trees. In this painting the sky isn´t as important as in the first one, so I guess he painted it more subtle, so that the main focus lies on the trees.
Again, going in and popping your handful of very sharpest edges would take these so much closer to where they need to be. You should do that along the way some so that you are being mindful of edges as you work, or you can at least make a pass in the last 5 mins that you just pop a bunch more of the sharps. Watch what happens when you do.
You've a great eye for values for sure. And I really love hearing artist's thoughts on the composition too, helps me think about stuff i normally wouldn't. Like the point about the water's reflection on the large sky piece from Repin. Great stuff. As an example of the edges in the pieces, take that same Repin piece and look at how he's made the light and dark of the trees in the middle very sharp - helps add to the depth of space and the river forming between said trees and create an area of interest. Same sharpness in the tones of the water helps create a path backwards through that space too.
Another two studies, the second one took definitely longer, because I tried to watch some of those edges. It´s interessting how even the smallest shapes play a big role in the whole painting, I guess this is called micro-composition.
So first, here´s another piece by albert bierstadt. I especially like the subtle value change that´s happening on the receeding mountains. The darker parts on this are nicely balanced against the lighter ones. The eye travels from the main point of emphasis (mountain top on the left) to the mounstian on the right and than circles back through the darker trees to the mountain top again. At least from my point of view
Thought I need to try some portrait, also because I am looking forward to do the self portrait on the color thread. I could have spend even more time copying those folds and the hat, because as I´ve mentioned those smaller parts are compositions on their own. But right now I leave it at this stage. I noticed that Mrs. Cassatt has put the darkest parts around her head and that perfectly makes sense, because it´s the point of focus of course. I also think that again the lighter and darker parts are equally distributed. Variety happens much in the folds and in the flowers on her hat. This portrait would be rather boring if she were just standing straight; by leaning to the side she gets some interesting movement happening.
I think for the latter image, the surface of the paint is quite important. When you get to images like that, both painter and art rage have textured brushes that suggest paint thickness. You could try experimenting with those. Both have free trials if you do not have the software.
You are well on your way. You may want to do another portrait or two prior to the color theory assignment. You will go into it buffed up and ready, that is for sure.
Thanks Jason, will try to enhance the cassat piece with the use of painter. Although I never really got used to it.
So here are another two copies.
This one is by sorolla and I think it has a really unique composition for a portrait painting. The dark areas all lead to the center of the image/interest which is of course the face. I looked a bit closer for the edges and tones on her face and I found out, that whenever there is a highlight, for example the shiny spot on her lower lip, the brightness got more pushed through the artist by putting a mere dark accent around, above or below it, so the highlight does pop out even more.
This second one is a copy of sargent and still work in progress I think. I´ve seen that someone other has copied it already and liked the composition. I should have used painter for it aswell, because there are really evident brushstrokes all over the place which makes it seem lively and spontanous. There´s a good rythm of dark spots against bright spots. The patterns he has created come mainly from brushstrokes, like on the wall to the right. He has put the darkest tones against the lightest ones on the far building to make it the main focus point and pull the viewer into the painting.
Thanks for the motivation Jason. I´ve painted those next two pieces with painter 11. Although I was struggeling at the beginning it was a lot of fun painting them and after a while I even understood how the brushes work. At least a little I´ve chosen two landscapes again, mainly to get a start at working with painter. I´ll keep using it for my next copies to get a hang of it.
This first piece is by F. E. Church. Don´t know if I have mentioned this already, but I heard somewhere that many landscape painters tried to keep the eye moving in a circular direction without letting the viewer leave the painting on one of the sides. Hope I make myself clear here. I recognized this circular movement in this piece, it´s created by the bright mountaintop, the houses and the tree in the foreground. Church used trees and bushes as his main patterns. Another thing that comes to my mind is that this painting feels very calm and I think this is due to where he placed the horizon. On many pieces the horizon is on a third division, but here the horizon is almost in the center.
This second piece was painted by one of my famous landscape painters John Constable. The composition on this is a real mess and I think it supports the drama of the bad weather really good. Bright and dark areas are mixed all over the place. The clouds build a nice pattern of shapes as well as the stones in the foreground. I think the emphasis is supposed to lie on the mountain, but my eye is jumping all over the place. Would be nice to hear some other comments about this one.