I love the complexity of this composition and figured it would be very challenging to do in 1 hour. I was drawn to the dichotomy of the vast openness of the ocean in juxtaposition to the intimate interior space the woman occupies - all captured with the simple reflection of a mirror. There is repetition and variety in the circular shapes found i.e. the globe, the mirror, and the arches and more subtle is the inward curve of the book stand. John could just have easily made the stand square with out a curve. In addition there are nice horizontal lines/planes that cut through the composition in a balanced manner such as the horizon line of the ocean and the wall the corinthian columns stand upon. I was focused more on speed and capturing the overall composition rather than trying to get a super polished time wasting replica. I spent 2 hours on this study.
really nice job on your values. I pointed the following out to another earlier and it relates to you so I share. When you are first getting started it is very important to really focus in on the mapping out of your shapes as accurately as you can possibly get them. If you put a shape in the wrong place and commit you end up having the other shapes off and require fixing, which increases painting time. By taking just a few extra minutes early on to measure out your shapes, to compare your shapes, and be sure they are placed and drawn accurately will make the rest of the painting process, working out your values and edges, much much easier.
You should flip the images horizontally and vertically so that you see the shapes with fresh eyes. This should be part of the process and if you are already doing that, keep doing it more. The professional artists will often flip images or use a mirror to see with fresh eyes as many as three or four times a minute as they are working when things really get flowing. You can also back away...actually get up and back away...and doing this works for shapes as well as checking values and edges.
Thanks Jason! I did notice that I spent a lot of time reshaping and modifying. When you say measure do you mean use a ruler? is there a formal method of doing measurements you speak of or is it all based on personal style? I am just wondering if I were to go to art school if they would tell me "you do measurements this way" Right now I basically use a grid system to map out values. any pointers would be super awesome! thanks again for the feedback and this forum!
how it is done with traditional work can be seen on cast-drawing.com which is using plumb lines. you can measure using your pen or a ruler or the ruler in photoshop if need be. I prefer that you learn to eyeball it but a lot of the top realist painters will almost all find a way to measure more accurately than just eyeballing stuff.
you do what works best for you. there is no right answer or wrong one.