1. 'A Soul Brought to Heaven' - Bouguereau
I chose this one because it had interesting value transitions, and I thought it did a good job of bringing focus to the middle figure by making that the highest contrast area. It also has some pretty strong diagonals that make X's everywhere, bringing focus back to the middle.
2.'Fumee d'Ambre Gris' - Sargent
I chose this one because it had great balance and economy. There is very little contrast anywhere, except for a few choice areas. There's a touch of dark outlining the figure's arms and head to define her form (surrounded by a bunch of white for contrast). The darker patterns on the floor have a similar tone and consistency to the darks around her arms, which balances everything out and also pulls the viewers eye downwards (along with her gaze) and to the pot-thing. The rugs also create a nice X pattern that brings our attention to the focal point.
While painting I realized that that tiny black patch behind figure is basically an anchor for the whole piece, as insignificant as it seems. Cool.
3. 'Phoebe' - Leighton
I chose this one because it is dark, high contrast, and moody, which I thought would be a nice challenge right after doing such a high key piece. I also loved all the repetition of curved lines in the her hat, the folds of her clothes, the S-like pose of her arm, her bent neck, and the chair. It's very flowing.
This one was really hard for me (the face was killer). It was trippy doing this one after the Sargent - the lightest lights in this piece are as dark as the shadows in the Sargent. I probably need more work on high contrast pieces. Also skin tones. And should probably learn how to use < 100% opacity brushes eventually.
These look impressive, and only done in 1 hour!
Definitely the only thing that stands out is the value transition on the skin and softer textures. Any brush should work with the right opacity setting and flow setting (around 20-60% should smooth things out quickly). The hat and the sleeve of the last one are a little too dark.
Also might want to increase the scale a little more when uploading.
Keep it up!
Thanks ubemm! Good advice. I'll definitely play with the opacity on the next one. Then maybe force myself to find new brushes a bit later (the round brush is just so easy...)
In the meantime, here's one I just did in charcoal (little over 1 hr). It's amazing how having the reference just a little farther away ( vs. both directly next to each other in photoshop) makes everything harder. I had the worst time just drawing the outline. Drawing is my weak point.
3. 'The Black Hat' - Frank Weston Benton
I picked this one because I liked it and I wasn't really sure why. I think it has good variety in it; there's quite a bit of stuff hanging around with a variety of textures, colors, and values. There also seems to be a pattern of repeated triangles that makes it nicely balanced. Also, the brushwork has a nice rhythm to it.
I definitely blew out all the highlights, and the values in general are off, but it was kind of fun.
The new study is pretty good, even better considering it is traditional, and charcoal no less, which isn't easy to control. Shapes look good and contrast is pretty good too. I would say that the dress is a touch too light and the back wall a touch too dark, but it might be nit picking. Also the face a little small. Having said all that, I must say that there a wonderful sense of energy and gesture in your sketch, so nice work there too.
keep a close eye on your edges. Sometimes your edges are too soft or too sharp and that is keeping you from getting these to the level they could be. double check all your edges before you post and you will find that you get quite close. Nice to see the traditional media too. keep it up1
Kaidok- I definitely see what you mean. Now that I can see it directly next to the reference the values look way off. Thanks!
Jason - Thank you for pointing that out! I completely forgot about edges.
I decided to focus on edges for this one, and on blending/opacity/different brushes. At 3 hours, this took me 3x as long as I intended... Good practice though.
4. Bouguereau - premier deuil
I chose this one because it has a good variety of edges in it and very strong contrast. I also just love the emotion of the piece. I think it turned out okay, but I'm still going to have to practice using different brushes to get good texture. It looks okay when it's small, but if you zoom close the textures are fuzzy and grotesque.
Let me know what you think and/or what I should work on next!
Using a soft edged airbrush on low opacity can help to push down some of the marks on the flesh, which are much softer in value transition and gradient on the original, than your own. really good work though.
Great Job Dahlia and nice choice of painting. Know what you are saying about zoomed in textures looking funky, noticed it in my own work too. Think it's always a question of what's important. To create the illusion of nice texture and detail from a distance and get a sense of the overall picture? Or get up close and observe the textures in detail? Perhaps it's a balance of the two? Not sure sometimes, but part of me can see the benefit to be found in all areas of practice.
Thanks again for the advice, Jason!
Bri - I agree, it's tricky. I suppose it makes most sense for the texture to be suited to the size the final painting will be viewed at, but it just really bothers me for some reason when I zoom in and it looks bad.
As per suggestion, for this piece I really tried to work on getting that smooth finish. Normally I stubbornly avoid that because it's so aggravating (at least to me) to mess with. I left most of the piece rough because I really didn't want to exceed 2 hours.
5. Godward - A classical beauty
I chose this piece because of that smooth, flawless skin. It's a great contrast to the waves of the hair and her dress (variety of textures, also repetition of soft & rounded lines). The piece also has great economy; there is nothing here to distract from the main focus - the beautiful model.
I chose this one because I liked how busy it is - there's a lot of shapes and textures and little contrasts to look at. Your eye can kind of explore the painting instead of just staying in one spot. All this motion is also a nice contrast to the bored look of the woman. I also thought it had interesting balance. All of the darks and lights are arranged to keep it balanced, and yet it just seems just ever so slightly 'off' because of the heaviness of the figure on the right. It's slightly unsettling, and for some reason this really draws me in.
I tried to do this one as fast as possible (managed 1.5 hours) so that I was focusing on the rhythms of all that busy detail instead of on the details themselves. Also because I got really hungry after 1.5 hours. That becomes a limiting factor surprisingly often.
Nice start Dahlia. This last one has a lot going on and you have it placed out well with matching tones. I think time is the main issue on this one. In the original, the woman has a slight tilt of the head to the left throwing her eyes off the horizontal. Watch for that if you take this one further.
Thanks Zimfin! I should be watching my faces more closely.
7. Bierstadt - A storm over the rocky mountains
I chose this one because it is gorgeous. The lighting is dramatic and moody and there is a cool swirling texture going on between the rocks and clouds, which gives it a churning feel. The whole composition has a U shape to it, which draws your eye to the far mountains and keeps it there.
I had fun with the brushwork on this one. ~2 hours