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  1. #1
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    Citricacid - Composition 1.1

    Hi everyone!!

    Here is my first study, kind of a slow start, but I'll work on some more tonight hopefully!

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    I chose a few pieces by Caravaggio at first because I remembered that he always had the best facial expressions on the people in his paintings. With the assignment in mind, though, I noticed how he balances out his finely rendered figures with often stark dark backgrounds. Because of this you're really drawn to the figures expressions and the story of what's happening.

    There's probably less of a story happening in this one, but he does use the bright lighting on the figure to lead you up towards the more muted face, and darkens the value of the hands and the setting so your eye is drawn away from them.
    Last edited by citricacid; February 15th, 2014 at 07:16 PM. Reason: Forgot to add my name to the image! Oops!


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  3. #2
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    The big shapes of dark and light that caravaggio did so well are definitely there. I'd love to see you give a little love to some of the forms like the folds in the cloth and maybe just a little more work on his face to really make the whole thing sing (plus you'd be amazed how much other detail the eye will just fill in if you render the face out a little more!).

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  5. #3
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    agreed. Great job mapping all this out. Now to handle values and value transitions and you will see a big bump in quality of the study. Nice start. I look forward to the update.

    J

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  7. #4
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    Thanks so much Jason and zephyri! I'm definitely gonna work into the Caravaggio a little more tonight with your suggestions. In this study I tried to render her features more, and make her edges a bit crisper.

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    I picked this piece by Edward Hopper because of interesting balance there is in it between the window and the light on the wall. The scene outside the window is one of the more detailed sections of the piece, but your eye still lands on the woman's face first because of the opposing compositional force of the bright white wall behind her.

    (Also this painting is owned by our art museum in town, and I really, really like it.)

  8. #5
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    Aaaand here's an update to the Caravaggio study. I rendered his face and tightened up some of the values in his neck and shoulder. And I also gave those poor folds in the cloth some lovin'! I forgot how lazy I had been with them the first go around; I think I'll pick another piece with lots of folds to study next.

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  9. #6
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    Holy cow! What a difference between your first post and this last one
    Your values are almost spot on. My eye is still drawn to his knee, which might be a little bit too light and his shoulder should be almost all engulfed in darkness.
    This is amazing progress! I can't wait to see more...

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  11. #7
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    demeter_luna, thanks!! You're definitely right about that knee - it's too big and blocky of a bright white, I need to whittle that down a lot. And you're right about the shoulder too, blah! Haha. I tried to be a little more careful about those kinds of subtle changes in this next one. Except, now I think I didn't make certain things extreme enough in value.

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    I picked this Edward Hopper because of the nice repetition of shapes in both the rolls of the hill and the kind of marching of the buildings across the hills. It also has the most detail/interest in the middle section of the piece, with the simple blocks of sky and the foreground in the top and bottom thirds to balance it out.

  12. #8
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    Agreed. Great job. Keep working on your shape accuracy. You are doing very well with your big brush strokes and keeping the pieces from looking overworked, which is something a lot of others struggle with. Keep up the great work.

    Jason

  13. #9
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    Thanks Jason! My biggest struggle is definitely in just making myself calm down and FOCUS and get shapes accurate. I think being in this sort of atmosphere where I can't just decide to give up on a piece because it's not working is really, really helping though.

    That being said though... I'm setting this piece aside for now because it's frustrating me, haha (I think I started to go into facial detail like WAY too soon) but I'm planning on coming back to it!

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    I picked this piece by Sargent at first because I loved the almost creepy feeling it has with the girl just staring starkly straight at you. But I also like how the bright white of her dress drew you immediately to the girl, and then the almost singular dark of the boys suit in contrast to her dress and his face led you to him immediately after.

    Also there's some repetition between the shapes of the fingers pointing down and the frill on her dress and the rhythm and line of those lead you up towards the boy and back down towards the girl.

    I'm not super happy with this one, but I did find some cool uses for some brushes I hadn't really used a lot to imitate the textures in the original painting!

  14. #10
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    If you would just crisp up some of those edges so that you have sharps in the same areas as he does that would take this one up a lot in quality. a few more mins on each of their faces to get a few marks in the right places would help a lot too. five great marks on the faces can go a long way in these studies. Keep working on those surface textures too...but overall this is really quite good. keep at it. Great work!

  15. #11
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    Thanks so much, Jason!! I went back and tightened up the faces in the last Sargent and went around a few other areas and tweaked those too. I think mainly what needs shaping up now is at least the upper part of her dress (and a few dozen million other areas... haha), which I might mess with tomorrow if I have time!

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    I also did a fifth study of another Sargent:

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    I picked this piece partially because I wanted a break from painting people, but also because of the clear perspective lines that just point you straight in the direction of the focal point of the door through the alley. There's also the implied line of the difference in value along the right wall that leads you in, and the bright light of the central area leads you up and around down the incline of that diagonal piece jutting out from the wall and then back through to the focal point.

  16. #12
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    Nice work. Your values are getting very close. Keep hitting your edges and they should come together really well.

    Jason

  17. #13
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    Thanks Jason!

    I've been really bad about posting the last couple days, but I've been plugging away on this study (and its taking forever!). I don't feel like I'm done but I'm going to take a break by working on a study with a few less elements going on in it so I can really focus on edges and getting values accurate!

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    I also did some visual composition breakdowns of it:

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    I noticed that most of the implied lines of the piece are leading you top right to bottom left, and there are a few opposing lines going in the opposite diagonal. I think the conflict between these opposing directions creates interest in the piece.

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    I also highlighted the main focal points, there are SO many things in this painting, but the way light and shapes are used lead you in a clear direction from the girl in bright light, up through her arm to the more muted figure of Hercules along his form to the brighter light of the helmet and neck, down the cloth and arm to the lit arm of the cherub.

  18. #14
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    when you rest your eye on the focal area of your piece, is there any parts of the rest of the painting that stand out contrast wise, more than the original? case in point, the lower left corner lighting seems strong. Be careful for properly weighting your focal areas and areas of contrast.

    Great job btw...


    jason

  19. #15
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    I see what you're saying, I did an overlay layer and adjusted the contrast in a lot of the areas in the piece and it helped a BUNCH I think!

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  20. #16
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    Name:  Study_7.jpg
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    I picked this painting because I thought it was interesting how the majority of the values are lighter grays with a few bright whites balanced out by just a few spots of really dark values and the large plane of dark gray in the background. There's also a nice rhythm between her arm on the right and the long folds of her dress on the right and the folds of her collar, and even the darks between those shapes.

  21. #17
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    This is the first study in a while that I actually completed in around an hour! Woohoo! I was blurring my eyes to try and get basic shapes/values in the beginning when I realized HEY - I'm almost blind without my glasses. So I took those off for the first minute or two, haha. Then I gave myself two guide lines for comparison which helped a ton with mapping things out better. (It also helped a lot that this was a pretty simple painting too I guess).

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    I picked this piece because it's a simple painting of a single figure, which could be really static and uninteresting. But with the basket and the bright stone in the bottom left you're forced to look around from the girl's face to the basket and stone and back again.

  22. #18
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    Beautiful work. You are soooo close on these. I think a pass to double check your edges will take you to that next step. You can get a tiny bit soft on some of yours. Get those edges in there really well...check them against the original. The answers are all there.

    Keep up the great work.


    jason

  23. #19
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    Thanks so much Jason! I went back through the De Blaas piece and redid some edges and textures, I tried to make it a bit softer especially on her arms and legs. I think texturing her clothes a bit made it read a little more like the painting too.

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    And then I did another study! This time of a Bierstadt:

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    In this piece there's a line of movement top left to bottom right of the bright white water and the dark black/grays of the cliff and land, which is punctuated by that one tree shooting out in the other direction.

    I felt like that tree was really important to making this an interesting composition (it breaks up everything else, it repeats the shapes of the bent trees behind it, and the curved tree on the right and it leads your eye around the image), but at the same time I kind of hated it because I couldn't get around the image that the tree was jumping into frame and waving and being like HEEEY PAINT MEEEEE.

    So I just painted it out to see what it would look like,

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    And you do need that stupid tree. Darnit.

  24. #20
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    Really great work. These are right where they need to be for the time allowed. Your darks in her hair look a little less dark, but outside that i think for the time allowed you are on point and need to juts keep rolling.

    Great job.


    j

  25. #21
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    Thanks Jason!

    Here are three more studies, had a busy Tuesday of studies since I'll be working a ton the next couple of days.

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    This piece by Frazetta has a really interesting rhythm and repetition of shapes going on between the figures of the all the women especially through their legs and helmets. The noses of the ships in the background as well as the ships in the sky are also nicely repeated and varied.

    I had a harder time with this one because I'm not crazy about painting smooth shapes like the ships and there was so much goin on, I think this is another one I'm gonna revisit.

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    In this piece the bright values of Hercules' chest is what draws your eye in first, and you're led down his arm and legs to the action of him pulling on Cerberus. There's also a neat point of tension between the three diagonals of his legs and arm and the opposing diagonals of Cerberus's legs.


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    I was super excited to keep this one under an hour! YAY!

    All the major points of interest in this piece are within a neat little triangle in the middle of the piece between the girl's face and the three kittens. The contrast of the economical and dark background and the darkly valued kitten to her face also draws you there first.

    EDIT: I noticed her head was a tad too large and it was really bothering me, so I went back and changed that a little bit!
    Last edited by citricacid; March 5th, 2014 at 01:05 AM.

  26. #22
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    your shapes are so well blocked in...amazing work. your values still need to be double and triple checked. you seem to be not reaching for the color wheel as much as you should be. don't get close...get it right on target. keep up the great work.


    jm

  27. #23
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    Thanks so much Jason! I was just about to post these and saw your comment and knew I probably wasn't as careful as I should have been on the values in them, so I went back and checked them and made some really quick edits. They're not quite where they should be but I gotta run off to work! Blah!

    I'm getting a real, honest-to-goodness weekend this week finally (well, "weekend" I have Tuesday and Wednesday off), so I'll have two whole days to get a lot more work done, I can't waaaaaait!

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    This piece by Chaplin shows repetition in the texture of the dove's wings and the folds of the girl's clothing. There's also an interesting rhythm between the curls of her hair on her forehead that add a spot of complexity to draw your eye to her face.

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    I chose this piece because I really liked the messiness and clumpiness of how the paint was used, and yet all the abstract shapes work together to create a solid and recognizable portrait. Even though there's a lot going on in the movement of the strokes, her face is so neatly rendered that you look at that first and aren't distracted by the rest of the action.

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    This piece by Rembrandt is the opposite, it's very soft and quiet in the piece but for the complexity of the folds around the figure's face and the rendering of his face itself.

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    I really really liked this painting by Thayer, because of how the two sisters sort of merge into one form because of the unclear boundaries between the values of their dresses. There's a sort of implied line of a circle between the sisters' hands and their faces that I think is really cool.

  28. #24
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    these are excellent. great job. really.

    keep a very close eye on your values. you are hitting them at like 95 percent accuracy. like the little white bit on the womans collar in that portrait by thayer...or the values on the nose in the first one.

    you are on the right track...just keep working toward being as accurate as you can be. shapes. values. edges.

    keep it up

  29. #25
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    Thank you Jason!
    I hadn't been doing a lot of mapping out with sketches beforehand with the others, so with these two I worked longer on that stage and it let me focus more on getting accurate values afterwards. I think before I was getting so caught up in get the right forms/shapes and value was getting less attention.

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  30. #26
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    great great progress. really good.

    there seems to be a little different values in the young girl's hair. you can still find a few places like that. the prior image though looks fabulous. keep it up. you are making positive steps quickly.

    j

  31. #27
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    Thanks Jason!! I made some edits to the study of the little girl to try and get her hair and a couple other spots more on point. I didn't get as much work this week done as I wanted due to getting sick and having my sister come visit, but I'll have lots of time this week, I can't wait!

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    I chose this painting by Alexey Chernigin because I really liked the soft glowing light and the interesting interaction of the limbs crossing over each other.

  32. #28
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    the most recent is right on target. keep up the great work. one more great study to go and on to the next challenge.

  33. #29
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    Wow. The most inspiring work I have seen for a while. Your marks are so clean and fresh and the way you are blending tone looks so confident and effortless; Those hands on study 16 are top notch. Can I ask if these are all done with a hard brush please?
    Looking forward to seeing more..

  34. #30
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    Oh man, I've been really really bad.

    Thanks so much though Jason! Hooray Harry Potter gif!!! Here's my last study, I'm definitely gonna try and keep doing these though since they've helped SOsososo much already.

    @fatman274: Thank you!! Haha they are far from effortless, but I'm glad you like them! I actually have been using quite a lot of random brushes for texturing and some of the messier strokes. For getting down the base layer of things and sometimes details I use a chalk brush preset from Anthony Jones: http://www.schoolism.com/interview.php?id=84 And for smoothing things I use varying hardnesses of the circle brush sometimes in wet edges mode. Hope that helps!

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